Long way to go for women in Tuvalu
A long way to go for women's rights in Tuvalu: UN CEDAW Committee.
The UN committee on the elimination of discrimination against women has released its concluding observations on this year's review of Tuvalu.
The positives include the introduction of new domestic violence legislation, more participation in local council meetings and the abolishment of some discriminatory education practices.
But UN Cedaw expert, Xiaoqiao Zou says the negatives far outweigh the positives and a primary concern is the absence of legislation protecting against gender discrimination.
XIAOQIAO ZOU: Article One has a definition of discrimination against women and Article Two of the convention request the state party to integrate the gender equality and also the definition of discrimination against women into the domestic law but up till now Tuvalu has not done yet.
KOROI HAWKINS: I notice here also the committee is urging Tuvalu to change the mindset, change the attitudes, change the culture towards women.
XZ: In Tuvalu we realise we have quite a deep rooted gender stereotype concept, not only in the society but also in the family. And such kinds of traditional gender stereotype concept really prevents women participate in all fields like political participation or economic participation. But I would like to emphasise here, not only Tuvalu has such a problem, nearly all the countries including the industrialised countries also have this problem.
KH: Violence against women, I notice some serious concerns about that.
XZ: This is really a deep concern. The cultural and the silence and also impunity and this also really stops women to report the cases. So the committee give quite a strong recommendation to Tuvalu and also we express our real concern about all this. But now they have already adopted the family protection and domestic violence act.
KH: Politics, education, employment and health. What can you say about these areas in Tuvalu.
XZ: Political participation is a big problem because according to the inter-parliamentary data collection, they only occupied about six percent, it's quite low. In the government they also women aren't represented. So we also request the state party to adopt temporary special measures, whether they can adopt a quota system
to encourage more women to participate in the political, not only in the national level but also in the local level. And for the education I think they made some progress but we still can see the gender segregation in selecting subjects. This is when the state party submit a report it is very clear that women students mainly major in education or nursing or something and boys mainly major in science technology. And at the same time also they have a problem of the dismissal of pregnant girls and they don't have any policy to encourage these girls to go back to school so we really hope that this party can adopt some measures to allow these girls to go back to school. And for employment we really don't have much information from state party reports but we know through dialogues most of the women are in the informal sector. Also the state party has not ratified the fundamental convention of the International Labour Organisation.
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