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Women's rights

No country today can claim to have achieved gender equality. Huge challenges remain for women in the 21st century.

Women account for half the world’s population, yet many face discrimination in work, health care and education, or suffer physical and sexual violence.

They are underrepresented on most decision-making bodies and in positions of economic power. They continue to earn systematically less than men for the same work and are more prone to occupy precarious, low-paid jobs. In many parts of the world, girls are still more likely than boys to stay out of school.

We believe that parliament as an institution, as well as men and women MPs, must address these issues as a priority.

We empower MPs to work for equality in their own countries. We also encourage national parliaments to pass laws that guarantee and enforce rights. That should include the rights of women and girls to live free of fear and violence.

Central to this aim is a benchmark agreement—the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). We assist parliaments in ensuring effective implementation of the Convention, supporting women’s empowerment, addressing all forms of discrimination and taking action on violence.

We ensure that men MPs and parliamentary staff are involved, and that men and women work together on gender-related matters.

In this section
We work closely with the Commission on the Status of Women. ©Joel Sheakoski
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the world's main policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. It is part of the United Nations, and works to promote women's political, economic, civil, social
We work with MPs and parliaments to make sure their State’s commitments under CEDAW are met. We do this by raising their awareness of the Convention, helping them identify gaps in what is being done and guiding them towards solutions.
We use every opportunity we have to raise awareness in parliaments about the extent of the problem and what MPs can do to tackle it.
Women suffer some of the worst impacts of war, including gender-based and sexual violence. Photo: ©Reuters
Women suffer some of the worst impacts of war, including gender-based and sexual violence. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 underscores the importance of addressing the needs of women and girl victims of violence, ensuring women’s participation in decision-making—especially in conflict-prone