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The third general thrust of the Convention aims at enlarging our understanding of the concept of human rights, as it gives formal recognition to the influence of culture and tradition on restricting women's enjoyment of their fundamental rights.These forces take shape in stereotypes, customs and norms which give rise to the multitude of legal, political and economic constraints on the advancement of women.By the tenth anniversary of the Convention in 1989, almost one hundred nations have agreed to be bound by its provisions.The Convention was the culmination of more than thirty years of work by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, a body established in 1946 to monitor the situation of women and to promote women's rights.
States parties are therefore obliged to work towards the modification of social and cultural patterns of individual conduct in order to eliminate "prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women" (article 5). mandates the revision of textbooks, school programmes and teaching methods with a view to eliminating stereotyped concepts in the field of education.For example, it advocates, in article 5, ''a proper understanding of maternity as a social function", demanding fully shared responsibility for child-rearing by both sexes.Accordingly, provisions for maternity protection and child-care are proclaimed as essential rights and are incorporated into all areas of the Convention, whether dealing with employment, family law, health core or education.The Convention gives positive affirmation to the principle of equality by requiring States parties to take "all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men"(article 3).The agenda for equality is specified in fourteen subsequent articles.
The preamble sets the tone by stating that "the role of women in procreation should not be a basis for discrimination".