Azerbaijani – Women Parliament , Women’s Bill of Rights

Azerbaijani – Women Parliament , Women’s Bill of Rights

Although Azerbaijan is one of those countries that have ratified the Treaty for the Rights of Women, officially known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and a significant improvement in addressing the rights of women and girls was made, there is much room for improvement. This was a conclusion of the seminar conducted by the Azerbaijani Women Association for Rational Development (WARD), and supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)in Baku.

For many CEDAW is essential to advancing the status of women around the world. It establishes rights for women in realms never before subject to global standards, such as political participation, legal protections, and access to jobs, education and health care.

While discussing this document, for many known as the Women’s Bill of Rights, the participants emphasized that although women have partnered with the government to improve the status of women and girls for several years already, the legislation of the country on ensuring gender equality is not implemented properly. Moreover, as participants emphasized, there is no effective measures to punish those who fail in the process of using paragraphs into real life situations, or at least letting women know what their rights are all about.

“We concluded that, in general, there is a serious gap between the depicted image of the role and status of Azeri women, comparing to the real-life situation. That is why we very much hope that not only laws and policies will change, but most importantly that government will insist on their implementation. That is the only way for women to exercise their rights at the first place,” says the WARD’s Chairperson Shahla Ismailova.

The seminar took place in the capital of Azerbaijan throughout June 2011, with great participation of several UN agencies. “The DPI Representative, UN Resident Coordinator’s office, UNFPA, UNICEF took an active role during the seminar and we are sincerely grateful for that,” says Ms. Ismailova.

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