The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is one of the United Nation’s core conventions on human rights. The treaty was adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 and over 90 % of the UN member states have committed to it.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and have equal value and rights – regardless of their gender. Still, people are being discriminated on the basis of sex all over the world. The CEDAW Convention affirms that discrimination against women is widespread and that many suffer from violations due to the simple fact that they are women. CEDAW was created to further emphasize and ensure the elimination of discrimination against women.

CEDAW as pdf

More information about CEDAW at the UN’s website

A number of states have committed to CEDAW with reservations


CEDAW is binding on those states that have ratified it. Therefore, there is a monitoring body within the UN, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (the CEDAW Committee), which examines whether or not states are fulfilling their obligations. The Committee also makes recommendations on any issue affecting women to which it believes the State parties should devote more attention.

Member states must submit a report every fourth year on how they have lived up to the articles of the Convention and what measures they have taken to implement it. In September 2014, the Swedish Government submitted their eighth and ninth periodic reports on measures for the implementation of CEDAW.

Shadow reporting

The women’s movement has an important role to play in overseeing and monitoring how Sweden conducts itself with regard to women’s rights and gender equality, as well as assessing what measures are required. For this reason, the women’s movement produces shadow reports in response to the Government’s reports.

The Swedish CEDAW Network was formed in 1998 for the purpose of producing shadow reports. The Network consists of over twenty organisations and is coordinated by the Swedish Women’s Lobby. Through the shadow report we aim to increase the opportunities for women to monitor their rights and pursue their demands. Our intention is to urge the Government to realize their obligations on gender equality and women’s rights.

Read our latest shadow report “Living Up to CEDAW – What Does Sweden Need to Do?”.

The report is available in English, Swedish, Braille and an Easy-to-Read version (Swedish).

cedaw in easy-to-read swedish & in braille

The implementation of CEDAW must give all women, for example women with disabilities such as visual impairments, dyslexia or women with limited knowledge of the Swedish language, the opportunity to monitor their rights. Therefore, our reports are also be produced in Easy-to-Read versions as well as in Braille.

The Swedish Women’s Lobby continuously arrange study circles about CEDAW, and we have also produced a school material about women’s rights for use by teachers and students. The material is available for free at kvinnorsrattigheter.org (in Swedish).