A major step towards the attainment of the goal of equal rights for women was taken on 18 December 1979, when the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Its adoption concluded consultations over a five-year period by various working groups, the Commission on the Status of Women and the General Assembly.
The Passport to Equality is issued by virtue of the right of every human being, without distinction of sex, to enjoy the basic rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The purpose of the Passport is to make women and men all over the world aware of the existence of the Convention.
CEDAW establishes the universality of the principle of equality of rights between men and women and makes provision for measures to ensure equality of rights for women throughout the world. It reflects the depth of the exclusion and restriction practised against women solely on the basis of their gender.
Very open in outlook, the Convention seeks to establish equality of rights for women, whatever their marital status, in all fields - political, economic, social, cultural and civil. It provides for the adoption at the national level of legislation prohibiting discrimination and for the adoption of special temporary measures to accelerate the establishment of de facto equality between women and men, including changing the paradigms and models of sociocultural behaviour that perpetuate discrimination.