A Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Men (CEDAM)
By Dr. Carl Augustsson

In the 1970s the United Nations passed the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It has been ratified by nearly all of the world’s independent states. While CEDAW represents a great step forward in the name of gender equality, it—as the name itself would imply—is only half of the story. The time has therefore long come for a male equivalent: a Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Men (CEDAM).
I have therefore, on my own initiative decided to create a Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Men, to be modeled on the equivalent for women. What follows is a copy of my initiative.
There are a couple of points which I wish to emphasize from the outset. First of all, I am by no means trying to diminish the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. On the contrary, the first clause of the preamble is to reaffirm the goals set out in CEDAW: “Reaffirming the goals set out in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”. Indeed, many of the points mentioned in CEDAW, if full implemented, would benefit men as well. Case in point, article 11 (especially section e) states:
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular:
(e) The right to social security, particularly in cases of retirement, unemployment, sickness, invalidity and old age and other incapacity to work, as well as the right to paid leave;
What is noteworthy about this is that it calls for men and women to have equal access to retirement. If only this were the case. Up until recently, the majority of European states (among others) had higher retirements ages for men than for women. Any moves towards equal access—which is thankfully occurring more and more—would actually benefit men, since it is men and not women who face discrimination in this area. However, if the unofficial definition of equality is “the absence of discrimination against women”—which it should never be!—then I suppose that higher retirement ages for men would not violate this clause of CEDAW. I have reiterated this point in CEDAM in article 11:
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that all age requirements, in both the public and private spheres, apply equally to men as well as women, including but not limited to retirement ages, minimum ages for withdrawing from pension funds, minimum ages for collecting state benefits for the elderly, minimum ages for marriage, and minimum ages for entrance into business establishments.
The other point I wish to establish is that this initiative is not merely for the want of having a male equivalent to CEDAW “just to have one”. Instead, there is a real need for a Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Men. After all, all of the 28 articles mention an actual present-day example of discrimination or violence faced by men and boys somewhere in the world; there are no purely hypotheticals in CEDAM. If several of these points were the only examples of discrimination or violence against men or boys in the world today, then perhaps a CEDAM would not be necessary. After all, it would probably be enough to simply fight against those few examples on their own.
However, there is an even greater need for a CEDAM than the 28 individual points raised in it. That need is addressed in the thirteen clauses of the preamble. First and foremost, the basis upon which the equality debate rests seems to be that only women faced discrimination whereas men were privileged. The truth is that both men and women were forced into gender roles, like it or not. In essence, there were two gender “packages”; the package which each individual “received” was determined at birth. Each package came with its own share of advantages and disadvantages.
As to which package was the better of the two largely depended on one’s personal preferences. For example, if for a man who had no interest in politics, didn’t want to do military service (in the times and places when it was required), and would have rather stayed home with the children than going out and having a career, being a man really would not have seemed like much of a privilege. By contrast, for a woman who also had no interest in politics, was glad that she did not have to do military service and enjoyed staying home with the children with no interest in a career, being a woman, if anything, would have seemed like a privilege, especially when one considers the chivalrous ways in which men (at least in Western countries) were supposed to treat women. There is no doubt that such men and women have existed throughout history. It is therefore highly simplified at best to claim that men were privileged.
At this point, I will explain the rest of the points in the CEDAM initiative. However, I do not intend to explain them all, as I want CEDAM to largely speak for itself. First of all, I want to explain the preamble. As I have already mentioned, the most important part of the preamble is establishing the fact that there never was a patriarchy; instead, both men and women faced discrimination, only in different ways and that discrimination against men both exists and is just as wrong as discrimination against women. After all, the first point made in the preamble is to reaffirm the goals set out in the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. Again, it needs to be emphasized that CEDAM is not designed to counter CEDAW. Instead, it is designed to complement it. Furthermore, while feminism may be to blame for some of these points, it is not to be blamed for all of them.
Another important point I wanted make in the preamble is that most men are honorable, decent citizens and are not rapists, pedophiles, or abusive in general. Sadly, there has been so much male bashing that these seemingly obvious points need to be made. Likewise, there is a clause emphasizing the importance of healthy human sexuality, as that has also been sadly bashed by feminists as well. The other points raised in the preamble include the fact that societies need both men and women and that there will never be sexual equality in general without equality for men as well.
The body of CEDAM comprises 28 articles. First of all, I wish to again state that none of these 28 points are hypotheticals; all of these injustices are presently occurring in at least one country. These 28 articles are grouped into 5 different parts. Generally speaking, the more important parts are listed first. That does not mean, however, that the articles towards the end are of little importance.
The first part deals with matters of life and death. The exception to that is the first article, which is about International Men’s Day. While the establishment of International Men’s Day is hardly the most important article in CEDAM, it is a logical place to start. CEDAM only calls for the adoption of International Men’s Day in the states which recognize International Women’s Day. After all, the point is equality and balance. Furthermore, article 1 makes it clear that a veterans’ day, though laudable, is not the same as a men’s day. The reason that that was included is because in the former Soviet Union and in some of its former republics, like Russia, there was/is a veterans’ day which is seen as an unofficial men’s day. Indeed, it is often referred to as “men’s day”. While a day for veterans is great, it should not be seen as a men’s day, since it is based on conscription, which is truly one of the greatest examples of a sexist injustice.
The rest of part I deals with issues of life and death, bodily integrity, and health. Generally speaking, men—far from being privileged—have been seen as being the “disposable sex”. Two major examples of this include conscription and the idea that women should be evacuated from dangerous situations before men, assuming men are even evacuated at all.
Another major issue in part I is that of genital integrity. Many feminists can’t stand seeing male circumcision compared to female genital mutilation. It is important to remember several facts regarding this. First of all, lumping two or more things into the same category does not imply that they are at the same level. After all, calling both armed robbery and murder “felonies” should not be seen as an insult to the victims of murder just because the two are in the same category, even though murder is clearly worse than armed robbery.
Likewise, there are a number of different types of female genital mutilation, as not all involve stitching the labia together. Some variants involve removing all or even just some of the clitoral hood. It is hard to argue that that is at the same level as male circumcision, let alone worse. However, opponents of female genital mutilation rightly condemn all forms, even a substitute pinprick of the labia. They see no need to excuse the lesser forms for the want of condemning the more severe forms. The law in the US and other states against female genital mutilation bans all forms. In short, all children, both male and female, are entitled to intact genitals and therefore all forms of genital cutting of minors should be lumped into the same category as “genital mutilation” and should be illegal. It is sexist not to compare male circumcision to female genital mutilation.
Also included in the article on genital integrity is a clause against all other forms of “painful rite of passage ceremonies, especially those involving the cutting of the body”. In addition, part I also includes an article about men’s health, and an article about the blood feuds of northern Albania.
The second part is about legal requirements for men, beyond those involving military service. The biggest example of this is higher tax rates for men, which fortunately does not occur in many states but is found in some. The most common examples of separate legal requirements for men (outside of military-related issues) are higher minimum ages for men. The most common higher minimum ages for men are with regards to retirement ages and minimum ages for marriage. Also mentioned in part II is the separate and completely useless additional visa application form which the United States began to require of men between the ages of 16 and 45 following the attacks of September 11.
The third part is about crime and safety. There are articles discussing perversions to the criminal justice system that have occurred as a result of radical feminism. Such examples include false accusations of rape, pedophilia, and domestic violence, along with ignoring male victims of domestic violence, and the treating of all men as potential rapists and pedophiles. Likewise, part III also addresses some of the abuses with things such as sex offender registries and the prosecution of minors for sexual acts between each other. In addition, part III also deals with the harsher way in which the criminal justice system treats men. Finally, part III addresses safety policies which are tantamount to discrimination against men. Such examples include women-only compartments in trains and subways, women only establishments (like taxis and hotels), and taxis offering women discounts at night.
Part IV deals with dating, marriage, fatherhood, and sexuality. In this part, the importance of marriage and fatherhood are addressed, along with the plight of divorced men and non-custodial fathers. In addition, this part covers the attacks on sexuality including feminist attacks on things such as pornography, strip clubs, and prostitution. Also mentioned is society’s sexist expectations placed on men with regards the dating process and the over-reaction to sexual harassment.
Part V is about education, employment, and business practices. In this part issues such as affirmative action, boys falling behind girls in school, and businesses either banning men or charging men more (whatever justification these businesses use for such practices).
This CEDAM proposal was designed to cover nearly all forms of discrimination and/or violence against men and boys, no matter where in the world they occur. However, this list is not completely exhausted. For one thing, it did not even mention the word “chivalry”, though some of the points such as evacuating women first are clearly forms of chivalry. There were also a few other points which CEDAM did not address, such as clothing differences, and special occasions. Moreover, CEDAW established a committee to oversee its implementation. Perhaps a similar committee should be established for the implementation of CEDAM.
It is also important to note that this is obviously just a rough draft. After all, if and when a member state of the United Nations agrees to sponsor this, there is a strong chance that this will be revised. Likewise, perhaps there are things which should be added to it.
Right now, I am attempting to find a member state of the United Nations to introduce CEDAM. I have written separate letters to all 193 member states of the United Nations. When possible, I wrote in the language of the member state in question. I have not received many responses, but I will continue to press for a sponsor. I am willing to visit any of these 193 states in order to present this plan.
There are several thoughts with which I want to leave you: “The biggest example of sexism in the world today is the ridiculous notion that only one sex has ever been the victim of it”, and “The unofficial definition of gender equality must never be allowed to be ‘the absence of discrimination against women”.

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By Dr. Carl Augustsson”

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