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The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international convention adopted by the UN General Assembly. The CEDAW was adopted in 1979, and is often described as an international bill of rights for women. It came into force in 1981. The convention comprises of 30 articles and a preamble.
Many nations have ratified the convention with objections, declarations, and reservations. By ratifying the convention the member states undertake to resort to measures to end discrimination against women. The U.S. is the only developed nation that has not ratified the CEDAW.
The CEDAW defines discrimination against women as "...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field." It has set up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. The CEDAW is the only human rights treaty which asserts the reproductive rights of women. It targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations.