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Singapore Government

International Obligations

International Obligations

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Widely regarded as the international bill of rights for women, CEDAW is a United Nations human rights treaty for women. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. It consists of:

  • a preamble (or introduction)
  • 30 Articles defining what represents discrimination and how equality can be achieved

Singapore acceded to the Convention on 5 October 1995. Download the handbook and learn more about the Convention. 

The Inter-Ministry Committee (IMC) on CEDAW oversees the implementation of the Convention in Singapore. Set up in July 1996, it comprises 14 ministries and public sector agencies which coordinate and implement initiatives under their purview to better address the needs of women.

The Office for Women’s Development (OWD) in MSF is Secretariat to the Committee. Its responsibilities include:

  • preparing Periodic Reports to the UN CEDAW Committee which outline how Singapore has complied with CEDAW in collaboration with the IMC on CEDAW; and
  • driving and recommending government policies relating to women through the IMC

To date, Singapore has submitted six and presented five Periodic Reports to the UN CEDAW Committee. An interim report on the select recommendations arising from the 68th Session of UN CEDAW Committee in October 2017 was also submitted in 2019.

    Sixth Periodic Report

    Singapore submitted our Sixth Periodic Report in November 2021. It covers the initiatives Singapore introduced from 2016 to 2021, to facilitate the progress of women.

      You can read the Sixth Periodic Report here.

      Preparing the Report

      During the drafting stage of the report, MSF and the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations jointly held two rounds of consultation sessions with over 30 civil society organisations in August and September 2021. We also held a consultation session in August 2021 with parliamentarians. These consultation sessions sought feedback from participants on this Report and Singapore’s implementation of CEDAW.  Their feedback were relayed to the IMC on CEDAW and other agencies for review, and were considered in this Report together with feedback from the nation-wide Conversations on Singapore Women's Development.  

    Click here for past CEDAW reports.