Following International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017, the UK Minister for Women & Equalities, Justine Greening, has announced that the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has now been extended to St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, as well as Bermuda.

This extension has increased international discrimination protections for over 35,000 women and girls, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to championing women’s rights globally.

CEDAW is an international human rights treaty on equality between women and men and defines discrimination against women. It forms a bill of rights for women worldwide, and sets out a comprehensive framework for tackling gender equality.

Her Excellency, Governor Lisa Phillips, commented:

“By adopting CEDAW, we have achieved a considerable milestone for St Helena. We demonstrate that we are now internationally recognised as a territory committed to equal rights and opportunities for women and girls.”

Under CEDAW, states are obligated to take action to protect women’s rights, including, but not limited to:

  • Appropriate measures to eliminate stereotyping, prejudices and discriminatory cultural practices
  • Ensuring that women have equal rights with men to vote, hold public office and participate in civil society
  • Ensuring that women have the same legal right to enter contracts, own property and choose their place of residence
  • Ensuring that women have equal rights with men in relation to marriage and as parents
  • Ensuring that women have equal rights with men in education


Governor Lisa Phillips added:

“In many ways, St Helena has a good story to tell on gender equality with encouraging progress to date. But there is more to do, especially to protect those less affluent and more vulnerable. I am proud of the women on St Helena and am personally committed to enhancing this role in whichever way I can. I cannot bear to see discrimination of any kind. The extension of CEDAW is one small contribution to ensuring women’s rights endure and are protected into the future on St Helena.”

Minister, Justine Greening, concluded:

“I am proud that the UK is leading the way in pushing for gender equality but we also have a responsibility to champion women’s rights around the world.

“We can’t just wait for equality to happen, we need to keep pushing for it. By committing to protecting women and girls from discrimination, Bermuda and St Helena join the growing list of countries working to create a world where women and girls can achieve anything.”

See the UK Government’s Press Release –

17 March 2017

From L-R: Mr Charles Ramsden, Head of EU and International Policy, UK Government Equalities Office; Ms Hilary Spencer, Director, UK Government Equalities Office; Mr Wayne Carey, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Sports, Government of Bermuda; Ms Jane Brett, Policy Analyst, Ministry of Social Development and Sports; and Mr Santiago Villapando, Chief of UN Treaty Section, United Nations.

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470