Gender Equality

Book Published by Women Aid Trust Pakistan, 2008

20 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2014

See all articles by Shagufta Omar

Shagufta Omar

International Islamic University - Dawah Academy

Date Written: June , 2008


Gender equality is the focal point of all contemporary women rights movements worldwide. Starting with the struggle for women’s legal, social and economic rights in the early 19th century, the movement for the freedom and liberation of women hit the highest point in the sixties. Subsequently the movement set forth a new goal -- striving for equality of both genders and elimination of stereotype roles in the society. It merits mentioning that Women rights movement had acquired global significance when in 1947 UNCSW (United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women) was established as a separate commission under the United Nation.

In 1979 the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), coming into force as a treaty on 3rd Sep. 1981, thirty days after the twentieth member nation ratified it. Currently, with, 186 state parties, CEDAW is one of the most ratified treaties in the world, though having the highest number of reservations as well. This convention actually formed the basis for advancing the status of women worldwide and served as a road map for the future direction of women rights struggle at global level.

CEDAW focuses on gender discrimination against women and contains a number of specific obligations on governments ensuring that state parties take all appropriate measures, including legislation, policies and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms. It also targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations.

Several of the countries that have ratified the treaty have made declarations or reservations that exclude or diminish the domestic applicability of CEDAW in consequent with the International Law obligations under the Law of Treaties. Article 19 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCOLT) permits States to make a reservation at the time of ratification or accession to a treaty. Various states have reservations on the complaint system in case of dispute between parties i.e. article 29, others on the basis of national legislation or other economic, political or administrative factors. As far as the Muslims states are concerned, the contradictory clauses to Islamic injunctions have led to numerous reservations to the CEDAW specifically to Article 16.

Pakistan formally became signatory to this convention in 1995, with a reservation on article 29 (1), and with the declaration that its provisions will be implemented within the confines of the Constitution of Pakistan. While the Declaration was a word of caution that the Government of Pakistan’s accession to CEDAW would be subject to the provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan, the Reservation on the other hand declared that the Government of Pakistan did not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Convention.

Being signatory to International covenant and bound for eliminating discriminations against women, it becomes imperative to get a clear view regarding the concept of gender equality in Islamic as well as Western societies.

Keywords: Gender Equality, Gender Approach in Islim, Qawwam, Family leadership, CEDAW, women rights, discrimination against women

Suggested Citation

Omar, Shagufta, Gender Equality (June , 2008). Book Published by Women Aid Trust Pakistan, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Shagufta Omar (Contact Author)

International Islamic University - Dawah Academy ( email )

PO Box 1243
Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory 46000

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