An ASEAN regional conference was held on May 7 in Hanoi to discuss ways to accelerate women’s rights as outlined in the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The event, co-organised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Vietnam, highlighted achievements, challenges and good models during the enforcement of the CEDAW.

Participants shared information on women’s rights in political life, including those to have nationality, employment and access to socio-economic benefits included in the convention, as well as issues mentioned in the conclusion of the CEDAW Committee based on ASEAN member states’ national reports.

They also discussed strategies, policies, programmes and measures applied by ASEAN member countries to promote the implementation of these rights.

Adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, the CEDAW is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of 30 articles, it defines what constitutes as discrimination against women and creates an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

All 10 members of the association have ratified the CEDAW and agreed to implement the convention and protect the rights of women in the region.

Accordingly, the convention’s principles have been included in national development plans, policies, laws and programmes, resulting in more and more achievements recorded at both national and regional levels.

During the conference, attendees agreed that at national level, the involvement of women in political system and state agencies has improved, while public awareness of women’s rights and the protection of these rights have been raised.

Besides, governments have focused more on gender equality activities, they said.

However, they noted that the development gap, domestic violence against women and children, and labour and sexual abuse, poverty and discrimination remain big challenges to pursuing gender equality and improving women’s position and children’s welfare.-VNA