Human Rights Council Thirty-fifth session

6–23 June 2017

Agenda item 3

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 22 June 2017

35/18. Elimination of discrimination against women and girls

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the

Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights

of the Child and all other relevant international human rights instruments,

Recalling the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Programme of

Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the Beijing

Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review

conferences, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the outcome document

of the Durban Review Conference,

Recalling also all relevant resolutions and agreed conclusions adopted by the Human

Rights Council, the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Commission on the Status

of Women and other United Nations agencies and bodies, that consider the issue of

discrimination against women,

Welcoming the inclusion of both gender equality and the empowerment of all

women and girls as a stand-alone goal and its integration into all goals and targets of the

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,1 and the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action

Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development,2

Deeply concerned that no country in the world has yet fully eliminated gender-based

discrimination3 and at the fact that many women and girls everywhere, particularly those

who are marginalized or in a vulnerable situation, face multiple and intersecting forms of

1 General Assembly resolution 70/1.

2 General Assembly resolution 69/313, annex.

3 See World Health Organization, “Leading the realization of human rights to health and through

health: report of the High-level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children

and Adolescents”.

discrimination and are still subject to discriminatory laws and practices, and that de jure and

de facto equality has not been achieved,

Expressing profound concern about the backlash against the progress made by civil

society, including women’s and community-based organizations, feminist groups, women

human rights defenders and girls’ and youth-led organizations, to fulfil women’s human


Recognizing the need for States to accelerate the implementation of strategies that

respect, protect and fulfil women’s right to the enjoyment of civil, political, economic,

cultural and social rights without discrimination by adopting good practices, and affirming

that realizing their human rights requires the full, effective and meaningful participation

and contribution of women and girls in all aspects of public, political, economic, cultural,

social and family life, on an equal footing with men and boys,

Underscoring that international human rights treaties prohibit discrimination on,

inter alia, the basis of gender, and that national legislation should adhere to each State’s

international obligations,

Recognizing that legal provisions related to gender equality create the framework

from which women’s rights can most comprehensively be promoted, protected and

fulfilled, and constitute an essential mechanism for women’s and girls’ full and equal

enjoyment of all human rights, and recognizing also that laws alone are insufficient to

eliminate discrimination against women and girls and must be accompanied by supportive

and sustainable environments in all sectors of society in which they can be meaningfully


Recognizing also that discrimination against women and girls is inherently linked to

deep-rooted gender stereotypes, that discriminatory attitudes, behaviours, norms,

perceptions, customs and harmful practices have direct negative implications for the status

and treatment of women and girls, and that gender-biased environments impede the

implementation of legislative and normative frameworks that guarantee gender equality and

prohibit discrimination against women and girls,

Fully recognizing that the participation of women in public affairs, leadership and

decision-making positions is key for advancing women’s rights and empowerment and has

enabled the development of support and skills to address a democratic deficit due to the

history of women’s exclusion from public life, including the implementation of all

measures to remove all barriers preventing women from being elected,

Emphasizing the significant role that women play in economic development and in

the eradication of poverty, while acknowledging that structural barriers to gender equality

and gender-based discrimination persist in labour markets worldwide, and stressing the

need to promote equal pay for equal work or work of equal value as a critical measure to

eliminate the gender pay gap, recognizing women’s full and equal access to economic

resources, including the equal right to inheritance and ownership of land and other property,

to promote decent paid care and domestic work by providing social protection and safe

work conditions, and to develop and promote policies that facilitate the reconciliation and

sharing of work and family responsibilities for both women and men,

Recognizing that progress has been made in increasing access to education for both

boys and girls, in reducing the gender gap in youth literacy, in expanding universal primary

education, in particular in developing countries, and in reducing the number of out-of-

school children of primary school age worldwide,

Fully recognizing that ending discrimination against women and girls is critical to

ensure peace, security, sustainable development and respect for human rights, that everyone

benefits from the achievement of gender equality and that the negative impact of gender

inequality and discrimination, including violence against women and girls, is borne by

society as a whole, and therefore emphasizing that men and boys, by taking responsibility

themselves as agents and beneficiaries of change and by working alongside women and

girls, are essential in the achievement of gender equality, the empowerment of women and

girls and to efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence,

Reaffirming that the human rights of women include a woman’s right to have control

over and to decide freely and responsibly on matters related to her sexuality, including

sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, and that equal

relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction,

including full respect for the dignity, integrity and autonomy of the person, require mutual

respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behaviour and its consequences,

Recognizing the major contributions made by civil society, including women’s and

community-based organizations, feminist groups, women human rights defenders and girls’

and youth-led organizations, to the development of good practices that place the interests,

needs and visions of women and girls on local, national, regional and international agendas,

including the 2030 Agenda, and recognizing the importance of having an open, inclusive

and transparent engagement with civil society in the implementation of measures on the

empowerment of women and girls,

Recognizing also that the identification and the sharing of good practices in the

eradication of discrimination against women in law and in practice illustrate the ways and

means to implement human rights most effectively in diverse contexts; however, they

comprise a complex, multifaceted endeavour involving a wide range of interrelated rights

and cannot be considered in isolation from the breadth of actions and actors involved in

processes of social change,

Taking note of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Women’s Economic

Empowerment, which stressed that addressing adverse norms and all forms of

discrimination, ensuring legal protections and repealing discriminatory laws and

regulations, including those related to families, is critical to achieving women’s economic


1. Calls upon States to consider ratifying or acceding to, as a matter of

particular priority, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination

against Women and the Optional Protocol thereto, to limit the extent of any reservations

and to formulate them as precisely and as narrowly as possible to ensure that no

reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention, to implement

its provisions through appropriate legislation and policies, as applicable, and to take into

due account recommendations made by the Committee on the Elimination of

Discrimination against Women, the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against

women in law and in practice, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its

causes and consequences, other States during the universal periodic review and other

relevant human rights mechanisms, with a view to ensuring the realization of women’s

human rights;

2. Takes note of the report of the Working Group,4 and calls upon States to take

steps to promote reforms and implement legal frameworks and policies directed to

achieving gender equality and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women

4 A/HRC/35/29.

and girls, taking into consideration the good practices identified in the four thematic reports

of the Working Group;5

3. Calls upon States:

(a) To repeal all laws that exclusively or disproportionately criminalize actions

or behaviours of women and girls, and laws that discriminate against them, based on any

grounds, including any custom, tradition or cultural or religious consideration contrary to

the obligation to eliminate discrimination against women and girls;

(b) To take measures to ensure that international obligations on gender equality

and non-discrimination are incorporated at all levels of the legal framework;

(c) To consider reviewing all proposed and existing legislation on the basis of

respective international obligations, with a gender-responsive perspective, involving, when

necessary, independent experts, women human rights defenders, women’s and girls’

community-based organizations, feminist groups and youth-led organizations, and other

relevant stakeholders;

(d) To promote laws and programmes that facilitate good practices relating to

women’s and girls’ empowerment and to the elimination of discrimination against them by

conducting systematic, comprehensive and regular gender analysis of the law and

programmes and its potential impact;

4. Urges States to take all appropriate measures to modify social and cultural

patterns of conduct with a view to preventing and eliminating in the public and private

spheres patriarchal and gender stereotypes, negative social norms, attitudes and behaviours,

and unequal power relations that view women and girls as subordinate to men and boys and

that underlie and perpetuate discrimination and violence against women and girls;

5. Calls upon States to take steps:

(a) To remove barriers, whether political, legal, cultural, economic, institutional

or religious, preventing women’s full, equal and effective participation in leadership and

political and other decision-making positions;

(b) To take temporary special measures to support women’s participation in and

election to government at all levels;

(c) To ensure gender-responsive mainstreaming of policymaking processes,

including public financial management;

(d) To provide training on a rights-based gender analysis for duty holders in all

spheres and meaningful collaboration with civil society, including women’s and

community-based organizations, feminist groups, women human rights defenders and girls’

and youth-led organizations;

6. Urges States to guarantee women’s equal enjoyment of civil, political,

economic, social and cultural rights, to take all appropriate steps to eliminate discrimination

by any actors, State or non-State, by ensuring equal opportunity through temporary positive

measures, where appropriate, including accommodation for gender-specific needs and equal

enjoyment of benefits, by recognizing, reducing and redistributing women’s

disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work and by taking steps to facilitate

the transition of informal workers, including those engaged in informal paid care and

domestic work, to the formal economy, and to extend rights to non-discrimination, paid

parental leave and childcare provisions;

5 A/HRC/23/50, A/HRC/26/39, A/HRC/29/40 and A/HRC/32/44.

7. Encourages States to prioritize the allocation of funds, both internationally

and domestically, to support women’s full and equal enjoyment of all human rights,

including by mainstreaming gender equality in the process of conceiving, planning,

approving, executing, analysing and ordering budgets, to ensure that their legal and policy

commitments bear results, and to implement active and sustained measures to promote

good practices in the eradication of discrimination and the promotion of women’s and girls’

empowerment, including measures focused on attitudinal and behavioural change that

cultivate an environment in which good practices in achieving gender equality in law and

practice can thrive;

8. Calls upon States:

(a) To ensure the equal enjoyment of girls and boys to quality education at all

levels and the elimination of discriminatory laws and practices, school-related gender-based

violence and gender stereotypes that prevent girls from having access to, completing and

continuing their education, and to provide incentive mechanisms to this end;

(b) To develop and implement programmes that specifically aim to prevent and

eliminate gender disparities in enrolment and gender-based bias and stereotypes in

education systems, curricula and materials, whether derived from any discriminatory

practices, social or cultural attitudes or legal and economic circumstances;

(c) To consider adopting good practices to support substantive equality within

families through long-term awareness-raising initiatives, especially education and public

awareness, including through the media and online, and the incorporation of curricula on

women’s rights into teacher training courses, including evidence-based, comprehensive

sexuality education and gender-based violence prevention;

9. Also calls upon States to implement policies to engage, educate, encourage

and support men and boys:

(a) To take an active part and become strategic partners and allies, alongside

women and girls, in the prevention and elimination of all forms of discrimination and

violence against women and girls;

(b) To be agents and positive role models for addressing discrimination and

gender inequality and to promote respectful relationships and equal sharing of work and

family responsibilities;

(c) To refrain from and condemn all forms of discrimination and violence against

women and girls;

(d) To increase their understanding of the harmful effects of discrimination and

violence on the victim/survivor;

(e) To take responsibility and be held accountable for their behaviour, including

sexual and reproductive behaviour, and behaviour that perpetuates and normalizes

patriarchal attitudes and gender stereotypes that underlie discrimination and violence

against women and girls;

10. Further calls upon States to ensure access to justice and accountability

mechanisms and remedies for the effective implementation and enforcement of laws aimed

at preventing and eliminating discrimination against women and girls, taking into account

the multiple, intersecting and aggravating forms of discrimination, including by informing

women and girls about their rights under relevant laws, training law enforcement officers

and monitoring how they address discrimination and gender inequality, improving the legal

system and taking steps to remove all barriers to access to legal counselling, assistance and


11. Calls upon States to progressively realize the full enjoyment of the highest

attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health,

and to eliminate legal, administrative, financial and social barriers that hinder universal

access to available, accessible, acceptable, timely, affordable and quality health services for

women and girls through gender-responsive national strategies and public-health policies

and programmes that are comprehensive, affordable and better targeted to addressing their


12. Urges States to ensure the promotion, protection and the fulfilment of all

human rights and the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action

and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and

Development and the outcome documents of their review conferences and of sexual and

reproductive health and reproductive rights in this context, and to promote, protect and

fulfil the right of all women to have full control over and decide freely and responsibly on

matters related to their sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, free from

discrimination, coercion and violence, including through the removal of legal barriers and

the development and enforcement of policies, good practices and legal frameworks that

respect the right to decide autonomously in matters regarding their own lives and health,

including their bodies, and to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health,

services, information and education, including for family planning, safe and effective

methods of modern contraception, emergency contraception, prevention programmes for

adolescent pregnancy, maternal health care, such as skilled birth attendance and emergency

obstetric care, safe abortion where not against national law and the prevention and

treatment of reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and

reproductive cancers and the integration of sexual and reproductive health into national

strategies and programmes;

13. Also urges States to create and support an enabling environment for the full

participation of women’s civil society organizations and women human rights defenders in

the creation, design and implementation of all relevant legislation and policies relevant to

the human rights of women, as well as when adopting and implementing good practices

conducive for the sustainable application of equality and empowerment measures for

women, and also to consider the application of the good practices framework for the

creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society developed in

the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,6 with a gender-

responsive perspective that takes into account the unique position and challenges faced by

women human rights defenders;

14. Calls upon all States to continue to develop and enhance standards and

methodologies at the national and international levels to improve the collection, analysis

and dissemination of gender statistics and sex- and age-disaggregated data by strengthening

national statistical capacity, including by enhancing the mobilization, from all sources, of

financial and technical assistance for enabling developing countries to systematically

design, collect and ensure access to high-quality, reliable and timely data disaggregated by

sex, age, income and other characteristics relevant in national contexts;

15. Also calls upon all States to cooperate with and assist the Working Group on

the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice in its task, to supply all

necessary available information requested by it and to give serious consideration to

responding favourably to its requests to visit their country to enable it to fulfil its mandate


6 A/HRC/32/20.

16. Invites relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, in particular

the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the treaty

bodies and other special procedures, within their respective mandates, and civil society

actors, including non-governmental organizations, as well as the private sector, to cooperate

fully with the Working Group in the fulfilment of its mandate, and requests the Working

Group to continue to engage with the Commission on the Status of Women, including by

participating in its work and formally reporting;

17. Decides to continue its consideration of this issue in conformity with its

annual programme of work.

36th meeting

22 June 2017

[Adopted without a vote.]