UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Canada’s non-compliance with the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) : neo-liberal policy and the suppression of women’s rights in Canada Meitz, Stephanie Frances


In 1981, Canada ratified the Convention of Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in what would be perceived as an attempt to create a more just and equal society for women. However, with the implementation of harsh neo-liberal policies that emphasize privatization and minimal government intervention, women in Canada, particularly those most disadvantaged, are facing human rights violations. The past decade has been especially damaging as Canada’s conservative government led by Stephen Harper made drastic funding cuts to women’s organizations and serious cutbacks to social services through austerity measures. These neo-liberal policies are not only incompatible with the CEDAW, but are in direct opposition to its mandate, and democratic values in general. I will outline the recommendations made by CEDAW to the State of Canada, and discuss the State’s blatant disregard towards the CEDAW and its principles of eliminating discrimination against women. I will describe the actions that the Canadian government, specifically the current conservative government, has taken to intentionally hinder the advancement of women’s rights. I will argue that that these violations are an attempt to suppress threats to the current politico-economic system, neo-liberalism, which, I will argue, is inherently discriminatory. I will further argue that, especially in light of its colonial past and neo-colonial present, Canada must support autonomous women’s rights movements and provide extensive social services if an effort to eliminate discrimination against women is to be made.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada