CEDAW Adopts General Recommendations Including Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

General Recommendations on Article 2 and on older women refer explicitly to sexual orientation and gender identity

The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) adopted two General Recommendations, one on older women and the protection of their human rights and one on the core obligations of States parties under Article 2 (on discrimination). The recommendations both affirmed that discrimination of women based on gender and sex is inextricably linked with other factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Read the relevant excerpts below. You can also download the full texts of recommendations No. 27 or No. 28, or visit CEDAW's official website.

General recommendation No. 27 on older women and protection of their human rights


Older women and discrimination: Specific areas of concern

11. Both men and women experience discrimination based on old age, but older women experience ageing differently. The impact of gender inequalities throughout their lifespan is exacerbated in old age and is often based on deep rooted cultural and social norms. The discrimination that older women experience is often a result of unfair resource allocation, maltreatment, neglect and limited access to basic services.

12. The concrete forms of discrimination against older women may differ considerably in various socioeconomic circumstances and socio-cultural environments, in which equality of opportunities and choices regarding education, work, health, family and private life have been enhanced or limited. In many countries the lack of telecommunication skills, access to internet or adequate housing and social services, loneliness and isolation pose problems for older women while older women living in rural areas or urban slums often suffer a severe lack of basic resources for subsistence, income security, access to healthcare and information on and enjoyment of their entitlements and rights,

13. The discrimination older women experience is often multidimensional, with age discrimination, compounding other forms of discrimination based on sex, gender, ethnic origin, disability, levels of poverty, sexual orientation and gender identity, migrant status, marital and family status, literacy and other grounds. Older women who are members of minority, ethnic or indigenous groups, or who are internally displaced or stateless often experience a disproportionate degree of discrimination.

General Recommendation No. 28 on the Core Obligations of States Parties under Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

18. Intersectionality is a basic concept for understanding the scope of the general obligations of States parties contained in article 2. The discrimination of women based on sex and gender is inextricably linked with other factors that affect women, such as race, ethnicity, religion or belief , health, status, age, class, caste, and sexual orientation and gender identity. Discrimination on the basis of sex or gender may affect women belonging to such groups to a different degree or in different ways than men. States parties must legally recognize and prohibit such intersecting forms of discrimination and their compounded negative impact on the women concerned. They also need to adopt and pursue policies and programmes designed to eliminate such occurrences, including, where appropriate, temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and General Recommendation No. 25.