The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is often described as an international Bill of Rights for women. It is a core international human rights treaty and in December 2013 the Cayman Islands Government submitted a request to Her Excellency the Governor, Helen Kilpatrick, CB, to have CEDAW extended to the territory (read more here). Following a compliance assessment by the United Kingdom's Government Equalities Office, CEDAW was extended to the Cayman Islands on 16th March 2016 (read more here and here).

CEDAW consists of a preamble and 30 articles. In plain language, it is simply a human rights instrument that provides the framework to identify what constitutes discrimination against women, and which sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. “The cornerstone of CEDAW is the principle of equality between men and women and the prohibition of discrimination of the rights of men and women, being the corollary of equality.” (Commonwealth Foundation)

The Convention defines discrimination against women as "...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field." A body of 23 independent experts from around the world known as the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women monitors implementation of CEDAW.

Download an informational flyer on CEDAW here.


National Conference on Women 2014

The Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs hosted the first National Conference on Women in March 2014 and the information gathered will be used to further develop Government’s implementation plan for CEDAW and reports to the CEDAW Committee. It will also inform the broader work of the Ministry and help mainstream a gender perspective throughout the entire public sector in order to identify and address these varied concerns through legislation, policy and programming.

All local residents who were unable to attend the conference and participants that may have contributions relevant to other focus areas were also encouraged to provide additional information, perspectives and experiences to the Ministry in order to more richly inform this work. Please read more about this public consultation exercise here.

You can download the Conference Report here and public consultation questionnaire here. More information is also available throughout this website and you can contact the Gender Affairs Unit at genderequality@gov.ky or 244-3226 if you have any questions.