The equality of the sexes includes a number of domains not only within the consideration of the international context but also in the relevant and identifiable domains of the operations of the nation. In the case of the equality of the sexes, it can be political and public life. Within the CEDAW or the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, we can see Article 7 articulating the concerns around the inclusion of women in the political life of the country.
In an examination of the first statements within Article 7 before the sub-sections of this portion of the CEDAW, of which Canada ratified, the precision of the terminology within the document is important. For instance, if we look into the relevant actors or agents, the scale comes in the form of the Stats Parties, which simply means the nation.
From the nation, the means by which the country will employ the workings of the state in order to attain equality become “all appropriate measures,” which provides quite a bit of wiggle room and could change over time and in the context given the flexibility and socio-cultural dependency of the term “appropriate.”
Nonetheless, the measures to be taken for the elimination of discrimination against women in the political and public life of the nation remain highly important and in some ways contingent on the efforts of the global community as a whole rather than individual nations.
The political and public life advancements of many women keep them bound in many ways and unable to unleash their full potential. In fact, in many of the cases where the men have begun to decline and the women have been seen to flourish on some limited metrics, the flourishing is relative to the men being in decline, so the increase in apparent achievement appears highly contingent.
Many nations’ leaders, public intellectuals, and cultural commentators will see the decline in men as a means by which to manipulate and coerce the dialogue of the country towards the need to parry women back, even returning into the home. Others will see this as a great boon not only to the economy for women entering into the political and public life but also an area for further freedom of both sexes to be free of a singular burden, whether childcare or economic livelihood alone.
As Article 7 clearly articulates the ensuring of the equal terms of women with men, Article 7(a), in particular, indicates the ability for women to “vote in all elections and public referenda.” As with the one individuals seeing only turtles, turtles, turtles all the way down, we can see democratic processes down to the bottom too.
In any relevant public or political decision within the society, the women deserve the right to vote in it, or simply have a say equal to those of men. That also includes women being eligible for the elections into the publicly elected bodies.
That is, it remains different for the areas of the private businesses or the corporations but remains the same as the men in the public arena because, as per any democratic process or organizational structure, everyone gets an equal say who is an adult – individual man or woman.
Article 7(b) states in full:
Article 7 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country and, in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the right: (b) To participate in the formulation of government policy and the implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government;
Therein, we find another articulation of the ability to participate in another important area of civic life, of political and public life of many nations, which is the “formulation of government policy.” Any policy that may, as an explicit example, impact the reproductive lives of women across the country should have women represented and having a say in that.
Otherwise, you may have men who do not understand or even at a minimum know how a woman’s reproductive health life first-hand. It would seem an important fact to take into consideration the health and wellbeing of women there.
Not only is it important for women to have the equal and free ability to formulate the policy, it becomes salient for the implementation of said policy; as without the implementation or force of the document, the entire enterprise seems an exercise in futility.
Insofar as the holding of the public offices of a nation and the performance of the functions at all levels of the government, there are a set of important considerations there. That no matter the area of the government – a public organization – shall a woman be kept from holding the office if of equal qualification and so on.
That is the fundamental statement of Article 7(c):
Article 7 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country and, in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the right:
(c) To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country.
The equality of the sexes truly is a complicated affair and made no less complex with the inclusion of several documents with articles, articles with subsections, and subsections requiring description.
All maintain a certain decent level of precision in their terminology in order to permit the women of the world have not only legal and rights documentation and representation internationally but a solid foundation upon which to stand for them.
The CEDAW is no less such a document for the equality of women with men, but the fundamental basis for the gender equality stated in the Sustainable Development Goals and international rights documents comes from basic ethical precepts held by most people throughout the history of the world.
The work here and elsewhere amounts to the ongoing work to expand the ethical precepts to their limits, have them catalogued, and see them realized for our and future generations.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Preamble, Article 16, and Article 25(2).
- Convention Against Discrimination in Education (1960) in Article 1.
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) in Article 3 and Article 13.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).
- Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979).
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984).
- The Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1993).
- Beijing Declaration(1995).
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).
- Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2000).
- The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa or the “Maputo Protocol” (2003).
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence or the Istanbul Convention (2011) Article 38 and Article 39.
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