UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Italy (CEDAW 24-07-2017)

The Committee considered the seventh periodic report of Italy (CEDAW/C/ITA/7) at its 1502nd and 1503rd meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1502 and
1503), held on 4 July 2017. The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/ITA/Q/7 and the responses of Italy are contained in CEDAW/C/ITA/Q/7/Add.1.

Concluding observations

D. Principal areas of concern and recommendations

Legislative framework and access to justice

  1. The Committee notes the numerous laws and regulations with the aim of combating sex-based discrimination and making gender equality a reality, in particular Legislative Decree No. 5/2010, supplementing and amending the Code of Equal Opportunities between Women and Men. It also notes the implementation of the joint programme of the Council of Europe and the European Union on access to justice for Roma, Sinti and Caminanti Women, in partnership with the National Office against Racial Discrimination. The Committee is concerned, however, about:

(a) The limited effectiveness of the State party’s anti-discrimination legislation;

(b) The unsystematic protection against discrimination afforded to lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons;

(c) The difficulties faced by women in claiming their rights owing to legal illiteracy, the costs and length of procedures, insufficient legal aid, gender bias within the judiciary and the lack of reparation;

(d) The insufficient integration of the prohibition of intersecting forms of discrimination into national laws and public policies.

  1. In line with its general recommendation No. 33 (2015) on women’s access to justice, the Committee recommends that the State party:                                        

(a) Strengthen the legislative framework on gender equality and eliminate sex-based or gender-based discrimination;                                        

(b) Amend article 3 of the Constitution and Act No. 205/1993 to protect lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons from intersecting forms of discrimination or hate crimes;                                        

(c) Accord priority to measures to expedite legal proceedings and improve the treatment of victims of gender-based violence against women and to eliminate gender stereotyping within the judiciary;                                     

(d) Ensure that intersecting forms of discrimination are adequately addressed by courts, including through training for judges and lawyers.



  1. The Committee is concerned about:

(a) The reduction in public funds allocated to health care and the partial privatization of the sector, which is having a detrimental impact on the health of women, in particular those belonging to disadvantaged and marginalized groups;

(b) The regional disparities in the provision of essential-level assistance;

(c) The reduction of funds in the area of prevention of sexually transmitted infections, in particular HIV, and the increased cost of the new generation of contraceptives;

(d) The limited availability and accessibility of abortion services owing to the significant number of health personnel conscientiously objecting to carrying out such operations and the lack of health centres providing these services, leading pregnant women to undergo unsafe abortions;

(e) The fact that intersex children are subjected to irreversible surgery for intersex variation and other medical treatment without their free and informed consent.

  1. The Committee, recalling its general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health, recommends that the State party:                          

(a) Increase the budget allocated to the health sector in order to ensure the full realization of the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, for all women and girls;                                        

(b) Ensure that essential-level assistance is evenly provided throughout the State party;                                        

(c) Increase the budget allocated to the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, in particular HIV, and improve access to the new generation of contraceptives, including by ensuring coverage by the national health service;                                        

(d) Ensure the full application of Act No. 194/78 throughout the State party, including by identifying existing hindrances and adopting a procedure common to all provinces in order to guarantee access to abortion services and appropriate referral services, and ensure that the exercise of conscientious objection by health-care personnel does not pose an obstacle for women who wish to terminate a pregnancy;                                        

(e) Develop and implement a rights-based health-care protocol for intersex children, ensuring that children and their parents are appropriately informed of all options, that the children are involved, to the greatest extent possible, in decision-making about medical interventions and that their choices are respected and that no child is subjected to unnecessary surgery or treatment.


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