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close this bookBringing Equality Home - Implementing the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (UNIFEM, 1998, 45 p.)
close this folderIII. NATIONAL LAWS
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View the documentUnited States: San Francisco
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The connection between CEDAW advocacy and changes to national legislation often cannot be established very clearly. Many important laws for women have been passed following CEDAW ratification, women's NGOs have frequently used the Women's Convention as a component of their campaigns to push for these laws; and Governments will rely on these laws at CEDAW Committee sessions as proof that they are fulfilling their obligations under the Convention. But there is really no way to show just what was determinative in the passage of any given law. Furthermore, as the Women's Convention increasingly becomes an integral part of a nation's human rights culture, its contribution becomes harder to isolate and identify.

There are, of course, some laws in relation to which the role played by CEDAW is quite clear. These are laws that actually cite CEDAW in their preambles or text, and some have been passed in connection with efforts to get CEDAW ratified - either as preparation for ratification or in response to the Government's failure to ratify.

It is important that public education accompany the effort to pass or amend legislation. Women must be informed about new legal entitlements that have been created, before they can be expected to claim them. Government bureaucracies, local administrators, and police departments must also recognise and respect these new entitlements in order for these claims to be enforced.