[Maxwell Lectures] SAWL in conjunction with Maxwell Chambers present: Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 101

Registration is now open here.

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, is an international treaty that aims to achieve equality b/w men & women and to end discrimination that women face in all areas of their lives. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and what governments should do to end such discrimination. Since it took effect in September 1981, it has been ratified by 189 states, including Singapore in 1995.

As a signatory to CEDAW, S’pore is legally obliged to align with CEDAW standards. As such, CEDAW was a driver behind introduction of several laws including Protection of Harassment Act, Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, removal of marital immunity for rape, changes in Evidence Act to protect victims of sexual violence, changes in law to provide better protection for unfair dismissal in employment. Understanding CEDAW and its processes will therefore be useful and instructive to legal practitioners who wish to anticipate and understand future trends.

 

Date:  26 September 2019

Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Programme:

  • 5.45pm – 6.00pm  – Registration
  • 6.00pm – 8.00pm  – Seminar
  • 8.00pm – 9.00pm  – Light refreshments & networking

 

Venue:  Maxwell Chambers, 32 Maxwell Road, #03-01, Singapore 069115

 

Who should attend?

Lawyers and others who are interested in acquiring general knowledge and understanding about an international treaty CEDAW, and what it means when Singapore has ratified such an international treaty

 

Registration

Click here to register.

We will be in touch via email to confirm payment arrangements.

 

2 Public CPD Points

Attendance Policy: Participants who wish to obtain CPD Points are reminded that they must comply strictly with the Attendance Policy set out in the CPD Guidelines. For this activity, this includes signing in on arrival and signing out at the conclusion of the activity in the manner required by the organiser, and not being absent from the entire activity for more than 15 minutes. Participants who do not comply with the Attendance Policy will not be able to obtain CPD Points for attending the activity. Please refer to http://www.sileCPDcentre.sg for more information.

Practice Area: Contemporary Issues in Legal Practice

Training Category: General

Registration Fee: $50.00

 

Terms

1) Registration – Limited slots are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Please note that payment is required in order for your slot to be confirmed. The Organiser reserves the right to turn away participants whose attendance has not been confirmed. If the seminar is full, strictly no walk-ins are allowed.

2) Cancellations – If you are unable to attend, a substitute participant is welcome at no extra charge. Please inform us of the substitute participant’s particulars in writing. A full refund less 10% administrative charge will be returned for cancellations received in writing by 19 September 2019. Regrettably, no refunds will be made for cancellations received after 19 September 2019.

The Organiser reserves the right to cancel or alter the content and timing of the programme or the identity of the speakers. In the event that the Seminar is cancelled by the Organiser, the registration fee (less bank charges) will be refunded.

 

Speaker(s):

DR ANN TAN

LL.B(Hons)(Singapore); MRICS; FIAML; SiARB; Solicitor England &Wales; Ph.D (Business Admin.) PPA(G); PBM; BBM; JP (Retired)

An outstanding women’s rights activist, a renowned family lawyer and a skilled negotiator, Dr Anamah Tan has more than 30 years of extensive experience in advancing the rights and status of women in Singapore, Asia and internationally. She is a pioneer in Asia’s women’s movement and a tireless advocate for gender issues, particularly, domestic violence and poverty eradication. In Singapore, Dr Tan was one of the key persons responsible for the establishment of the Family Court in 1996 to help, among other cases, dysfunctional families and victims of abuse to access and obtain legal protection.

Dr Tan’s contributions to the public service are immeasurable. She has campaigned against gender discrimination and for better protection of women from domestic violence. She was an elected Committee Member of UN CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) from 2004 to 2008.

Additionally, she has served in leadership positions across many women’s councils and ministerial committees on community and family projects including the International Council of Women (ICW), ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organisations (ACWO) and Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO). She is also a founder member and Past President of the Singapore Association of Women Lawyers (SAWL).  She continues to serve in SAWL as an Executive Member.

 

HALIJAH MOHAMAD

Halijah Mohamad graduated from National University of Singapore (LLB hons). She set up her own law practice in 1995, handling primarily family law matters (both civil and syariah).

She is involved with various NGOs. She was three times past Vice Present of AWARE. She is now Vice President of S’pore Association of Women’s Lawyers, and member of Muslim Law Practice Committee and Family Law Practice Committee [Law Society]. She is also part of Musawah (a global movement for equality in Muslim families).

 

JOLENE TAN

Jolene Tan is a novelist and communications consultant. She is a lawyer by training, with an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Law from the University of Cambridge. From 2013-2018 she was Head of Advocacy & Research at the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group. In 2017, on behalf of AWARE, she represented a 13-NGO coalition making submissions about Singapore to the UN CEDAW Committee. Earlier, she co-founded  “No To Rape”, the volunteer-led campaign which successfully campaigned to remove marital immunity for rape in Singapore. She has previously been a capital markets/bank regulation solicitor, an English as a Foreign Language Teacher, and a fundraiser at a UK-based prison reform NGO.

 

Full Synopsis:

Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, is an international treaty that aims to achieve equality b/w men & women and to end discrimination that women face in all areas of their lives. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and what governments should do to end such discrimination. Since it took effect in September 1981, it has been ratified by 189 states, including Singapore in 1995.

As a signatory to CEDAW, S’pore is legally obliged to align with CEDAW standards. As such, CEDAW was a driver behind introduction of several laws including Protection of Harassment Act, Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, removal of marital immunity for rape, changes in Evidence Act to protect victims of sexual violence, changes in law to provide better protection for unfair dismissal in employment. Understanding CEDAW and its processes will therefore be useful and instructive to legal practitioners who wish to anticipate and understand future trends.

Although CEDAW has yet to be “domesticated” into our local laws, lawyers are encouraged to use the articles in CEDAW to support their arguments in court. If faced with a discriminatory law or policy, lawyers can quote the relevant CEDAW article to argue that the law or policy is not in keeping with the international obligations Singapore had ratified and hopefully it may persuade the judge to uphold one’s argument.

Although Singapore is committed to continue eliminating barriers for women and to strengthen efforts to empower vulnerable groups of women, Asian values, gendered division of labour and the concept of women as nurturers and caregivers continue to work against women in Singapore.

The 3 speakers will explain that the structure of the relationship b/w men & women & boys & girls is hierarchical, top down & segmented by gender roles. And the unequal status within the home upholds inequalities outside of it. They will also shed more light and insights into CEDAW and its processes.

Dr Ann Tan will discuss the basic structure of CEDAW – the core principles and provisions of CEDAW namely  (a) the broad definition of non discrimination i.e. substantive equality, (b) obligations of governments who had ratified CEDAW and (c) implementation process – reporting process of states who had ratified CEDAW, inputs from NGOs through shadow or alternative reports and Committee’s Concluding Comments and what should States and NGOs as well as civil society do with these Concluding Comments.

Although countries had ratified CEDAW, they may enter “reservations” or make declarations that they will not be bound to specific article or provision. Halijah Mohamad will discuss issues on “reservations” to CEDAW. Singapore has made reservations to articles 2 (on policy measures) and 16 (on marriage and family life). She will also address specific issues related to the area of marriage and family life (Article 16) including issues b/w CEDAW & Muslim family law.  E.g. to promote strong marriages and parenthood within marriage, our policies and legislation differentiate children born within and out of wedlock and why this does not conform with CEDAW standards.

Jolene Tan will discuss some of the key issues focused on by United Nations CEDAW Committee during Singapore’s review session in 2017 namely (a) violence against women including sexual violence and the need for training in the criminal justice system, which was flagged as a priority issue by the Committee during the Concluding Observations, (b) sex stereotyping and prejudice (Article 5), (c) women in public and political life (Article 7) including temporary special measures and (d) rights of migrant women, including domestic workers and women in transnational marriages.