Violence against women a significant problem

University of Helsinki professor elected to UN committee for abolishing discrimination against women.

statue At the end of July in New York, Professor Niklas Bruun was elected to be a member of the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The committee monitors the 185 countries that have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, by, among other means, following the state of affairs in member countries. This summer the committee examined the status of women in Finland.

According to the committee, violence against women is a common occurrence in Finland, despite the fact that equality between men and women is, in many respects, considered to be progressive. In addition, the amount of women in positions of leadership in Finland was considered to be too small. Special attention was placed upon the academic world and the amount of tenured professors.

Worldwide, decreasing violence against women is one of the committee’s main goals. One issue is clear: violence against women is a significant and serious problem. “Connected to this violence are new ways of conducting war, in which warfare can take on particularly wretched forms against women, rape being just one example,” says Niklas Bruun, touching on one of the committee's current themes.

Bruun has been preparing Finland’s own Equal Opportunity law as well as working on the country’s ratification of the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The committee’s choice of Bruun was a clear recognition of Finland as well as the University of Helsinki. “The selection also says something about the international fame and regard for the Finnish legal science,” says Bruun, adding that the election was preceded by a hard-fought struggle between the member states about spots on the committee.

The committee has 23 members. They work as independent experts, and so qualifications for working against the discrimination of women are required.

Text: Tapani Sainio
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
6.8.2008
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy


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