The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations in 1979, represents the fIrSt significant challenge to a vision of human rights which has traditionally excluded much of women's experience. Although in modern human rights discourse 'rights of man' has been said to include women, this has not been reflected in human rights theory or in its application. Women's human rights have been marginalized, both institutionally and conceptually, from national and international human rights movements. Abuse of women's rights has been perceived as a cultural, private, or individual issue and not a political matter requiring state action (Bunch, 1990, p. 489). The main international organs established [or the promotion and protection of hUll'an rights have dealt with violations of women's human rights only in a marginal way. The Convention is an attempt to ensure that women's rights are placed firmly on the mainstream human rights agenda.