Gender discrimination is defined as ‘Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on the basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field’ (United Nations (1979). Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – Article 1).
Discrimination can stem from law (de jure) or from practice (de facto). The CEDAW Convention recognises and addresses both forms of discrimination, whether contained in laws, policies, procedures or practice.
See also: discrimination against women; sex and gender-based discrimination