por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
111. The Committee considered the initial,
report of Portugal (CEDAW/C/5/Add. 21 and Corr. 1 and Amend. 1)
at its 67th, 68th and 73rd meetings, on 11, 12 and 14 March (CEDAW/C/SR.67,
68 and 73).
112. The report was introduced by two
government representatives. The first speaker stated that the Government
of Portugal was fully committed to the implementation of the Convention
and he added that the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic enshrined
the principles of equality between men and women in all spheres
of life. He added that the report already showed that the obstacle
S to eliminate discrimination derived from economic, social and
113. The representative of Portugal referred
to the Revolution of 25 April 1974, which had introduced new legal,
social, cultural and economic reform with far-reaching implications
for the standards and fabric of Portuguese society. Structural changes
were introduced which were of an ongoing nature.
114. He explained that the Revolution
also had brought along new perspectives in the field of human rights
and in the changing of attitudes and added that women themselves
were more and more aware of the need to change attitudes and conditions;
women also were more aware of their role in all spheres of life.
The commission on the Status of Women, a governmental body placed
under the Prime Minister's Office, was in charge of promoting the
improvement of the status of women. He stated that equality need
not be understood to mean merely that women should have the same
rights and responsibilities as men, but that differences between
the sexes should not be obstacles to the full realization of their
personalities and to their full participation in society.
115. The second government representative
remarked that the report had been prepared in 1982 and submitted
to the Committee in 1983. The text had to be updated and therefore
an addendum had been prepared containing recent developments, as
well as a brochure updating statistical information to 1985.
116. The other representative of the
Government of Portugal stated that some specific projects had been
developed, such as programmes in the media, organization of seminars
and elaboration of reports. A project entitled "Changing teachers'
and students' attitudes on sex roles" had been carried out
under the responsibility of the Commission on the Status of Women.
This project, which had begun before at the primary school level,
had now been extended to other levels.
117. She noted that the participation
of women in decision-making positions still remained low. However,
more women had been admitted into the diplomatic service.
118. She also added that the Commission
for Equality in Work and Employment had been created to monitor
and ensure any discriminatory practice. This Commission received
and evaluated complaints by women who felt discriminated against.
Another new element was the passing of a new law on the protection
of maternity and paternity. This new law embodied a new philosophy
which stressed the social function of both maternity and paternity.
The replacement of the advertising code by a new law regulated the
way the image of women was used in advertising. The advertising
commission was in charge of its implementation.
119. She further explained that other
projects implemented under the aegis of the Commission on the Status
of Women had included family planning information through, the media,
research on women in Portuguese life, training of health personnel,
pilot projects located in depressed areas on illiteracy eradication,
maternal and child care, permanent information services on legal
questions and research on women
120. The representative of Portugal concluded
by saying that much remained to be done, especially in bringing
reality closer to the letter, in the elimination of outdated traditions,
stereotyping and sexism and in combating the double burden carried
by women. Progress was encouraging, she stated, since women's rate
of access to higher education had risen from 43.5 per cent in 1970
to 57.4 per cent, in 1984 and women's rate of graduation from 34.4
per cent in 1970 to 54 per cent in 1980. Women, however, were 59.4
per cent of the unemployed and only 6 per cent in Parliament. Yet,
she stated, at the recent election for President of the Republic,
for the first time there had been a woman candidate.
121. Members of the Committee commended
the two representatives of the Government of Portugal for their
presentation of the report and thanked them for the additional information
provided, both verbally and as contained in the supplement. Most
members congratulated the representatives on the efforts displayed
by the Government of Portugal and by the progressive legislation
passed, which clearly demonstrated the political will of Portugal
to implement the articles of the Convention.
122. Several experts asked what were
the reasons for the persistence of obstacles, In view of such advanced
legislation; it was not understood why the report cited apathy as
being the cause for slow progress. Some experts suggested that the
reality of women carrying the double burden as well as lack of day-care
facilities, social benefits support and lack of opportunities might
be at the core of the obstacles facing the full integration of women
and it was asked whether the Commission on the Status of Women was
carrying out research on this problem. Another expert asked whether
more information could be provided on the structure of the Commission,
its outreach in. remote areas and whether its work was carried out
by mass organizations or other type of similar organizations.
123. Also concerning the above remark,
it was asked what kind of traditional and cultural practices and
traditions were hampering the advance, and. what role religion was
playing, in this regard.
124. Several experts requested additional
information and empirical data on education and literacy levels,
impact of education on rural women, including vocational training,
levels and sectors of women's employment, especially in the light
of the fact that women were a majority of the population. One expert
asked whether such demographic imbalance was due to migration of
the male population. Another expert requested more information on
population by sex and location.
125. It was noted that the Government
had identified within the taxing system some evidence of discrimination
against women and that this experience could be shared with other
countries. Another expert also pointed out that the report acknowledged
the fact that more women were unemployed than men and that equal
remuneration remained a problem. It was asked what measures were
being taken to remedy this situation.
126. Other experts asked for more information
on women's participation in State or provincial assemblies, in local
communities, and percentages on women's involvement in. trade unions,
both as members and as employees.
127. Several experts noted with praise
the efforts being carried out to eliminate stereotyping in the media
and education, and asked how the Commission had tackled this task,
whether through textbooks or pamphlets, movies, by supervising programmes
and publications, or other methods. It was also asked whether this
effort extended also to pornography and, in this connection, whether
prostitution, which was not penalized by law, was a prevailing phenomena.
If this were so, it was further asked whether efforts at rehabilitating
the prostitutes were being contemplated by the Commission on the
Status of Women.
128. Several experts, referring to the
report and the existence of domestic violence, asked whether the
Government had the intention of subsidizing shelters for victims,
both men and women. It had also been noted that abortion was forbidden
by law and some experts also asked whether there had been any progress
in repealing such a law.
129. One expert requested information
on laws regarding legal and consensual unions and what provisions
existed in case of divorce regarding property rights, child custody
130. Another expert expressed satisfaction
with the provisions recently created to grant subsidies to parents
with sick children and asked whether the grant was in the form of
a percentage of salary. If so, whose salary ? It was also noted
that a father could now take leave to care for his children and
it was asked to what extent men had used this provision.
131. Information was sought on the experience
of the implementation of the provisions banning sex discrimination
in working life. It was further noted with satisfaction that victimization
was forbidden by law.
132. Several experts asked what types
and amount of subsidies were given regarding child care centres
and maternity leave and whether, this leave was also extended to
the father. One expert noted that more information was required
on social welfare facilities extended to rural women; in addition,
statistics on women who were employed in agriculture and other non-service
sectors of the economy, an well as what pensions, grants, incentives
or subsidies were provided to them. Another expert requested clarification
on law 4 of 1980 and asked what grounds were deemed juridically
acceptable to dismiss a pregnant woman and whether a woman on maternity
leave retained both full salary and the same employment.
133. It was also asked why were military
and equivalent services not open to women's employment and, what
was considered "equivalent". Other experts asked why were
provisions regarding maternity and working hours not applied to
134. One expert also asked for information
on women's peace activities or movements in Portugal.
135. The representatives of the State
party thanked the Committee for the interest it had shown in Portugal's
initial report. Since many of the questions raised by the experts
overlapped, they proceeded to address their replies in the order
in which the questions were asked and included as many elements
as possible which would also answer subsequent questions on the
136. One of the representatives stated
that initiatives had already been taken both by government and non-governmental
organizations regarding activities for the International Year of
Peace. Requirements for the building of peace included equality
of the sexes and women's participation in development. Special programmes
for youth, cultural initiatives, exhibitions, seminars and other
activities were being planned.
137. Referring to the effectiveness of
special temporary measures favouring women, the representative answered
that there had not been any case of preferential treatment, particularly
regarding access to work. Regarding vocational training courses,
the percentage of women's participation can be considered still
low, 11.1 per cent, per the data of 1984.
138. In regard to the implementation
of article 5 of the Convention, one of the representatives explained
that, although Church and State were separate entities, 80 per cent
of the population was Roman Catholic. This certainly influenced
the thinking as regards measures on abortion. In answer to several
questions regarding the project on attitudes and gender roles, she
stated that it would be continued and that evaluation of new pedagogical
material as well as the broadening of its Cope and outreach was
139. Measures concerning the suppression
of prostitution were being taken. The accession by Portugal to the
Convention on the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the
Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was now following the
necessary procedures. With regard to pornography, the representatives
stated that detailed regulations had been prepared and were, at
present, pending approval in a revised New Advertising Code.
140. One of the representatives referred
the members of the Committee to the supplementary information provided
which stated that 6 per cent of the members of Parliament were women
and only 4.2 per cent were elected at the local level. Women represented
17 per cent and 24 per cent of the members in leading bodies of
trade union confederations operating in Portugal and 30 per cent
and 46 per cent of the total members. The most representative women's
organizations belonged to the Consultative Council of the Commission
on the Status, of women, which was directly under the supervision
of the Prime Minister's office.
In this way, women's organizations were participating
and contributing to the formulation and implementation of Government
policies concerning the status of women. There was one office of
the Commission in the north of the country.
141. The representative also referred
to the participation of women in international organizations and
stated that the questions of discrimination had never been raised.
However, during 1984-1985, the percentage of women on the diplomatic
staff of the Portuguese Mission to the United Nations was 50 per
cent and 27 per cent of the geographical quota allocated to Portugal
by the United Nations was occupied by women.
142. The representative noted that information
regarding employment of women and its distribution by sectors was
included on page 49 of the supplement distributed, showing, for
example, that 30 per cent of the women employed were in agriculture;
23.3 per cent in manufacturing industries; 13.3 per cent in trade,
restaurants, and hotels; and a total of 23.3 per cent in health,
education and other sectors. The rate of unemployment among women
was 15.1 per cent as compared with 7.7 per cent for men.
143. As to provisions regarding maternity
leaves one representative stated that during the 90 days of maternity
leave, women workers received full salaries or an equivalent amount
which was paid by the social security system. Child-care facilities
were operated through private and public institutions for profit
in some cases and as a service in others. In public institutions,
the fees depended on the income level of the family or the individual,
calculated according to established scales. Recently, the Government
had approved legislation giving the framework for a more unified
system of day-care and family crèches. The representative
recognized the need for more of these free services.
144. In reply to other questions raised
by the Committee, the representative stated that civil servants
had the same rights as other workers in regard to time off for breast
feeding and flexible working hours. The latter also applied to fathers
who had children under the age of 12 or in special circumstances
and a leave of absence up to 30 days to take care of a sick child.
The representative also explained that under the general law, workers
that stay off work for a period of six months to two years in order
to take care of a sick child keep all their rights except remuneration.
However, special collective labour agreements covering the great
majority of workers can, and in fact do, recognize a more favourable
treatment. Furthermore, the representative added, no woman could
be dismissed on the grounds of pregnancy, and in regards to equal
pay for equal work, the fact that the average salary was lower for
women than for men was explained by the other fact that women were
still concentrated in less qualified and lower paid jobs. A draft
law on the military service for women on a voluntary basis would
be discussed by the Parliament. Regarding the percentage of women
working in professional fields, the representative stated that 52.5
per cent of the total number of workers in the scientific and liberal
professions were women.
145. As to statistical information on
education, the representative stated that some of this data bad
been already included in the supplement referred to above. For example,
women were 47.9 per cent of the total attending primary-level schooling;
47.7 per cent of the preparatory level; 51.8 per cent of the secondary
level; and 47.1 pet cent of higher education. These figures corresponded
to the period 1982-1983. An increase of up to 57.4 per cent had
been registered in the entry of women to higher education during
1984-1985. Adult illiteracy was being corrected through educational
corrective programmes and 54.2 per cent of women were attending
them. Co-education was a rule in State schools.
146. The representative also stated that
children born out of wedlock had the same rights as children born
within marriage, community of acquired property was the normal marriage
contract and divorce laws were in strict conformity with the principle
of equality of treatment. Common law or consensual not enjoy the
same rights but entitlements to medical care and certain pension
benefits to be allocated from the inheritance in case of death of
the companion could be obtained through the courts.
Regarding family violence, besides the legal
provisions contained in the Penal Code referred to in the supplement,
there were only very few facilities, provided by non-governmental
147. The Committee had referred to the
special situation of rural women in Portugal and the representative
noted that most women in rural areas Worked in agriculture and that
they represented 50 per cent of the total number of workers. He
added that a majority of them were non-remunerated workers in small
family-owned enterprises. The Ministry of Agriculture was implementing,
a programme on family economics and nutrition through its rural
extension service. This programme had an information component on
women's rights. The Commission on the Status of Women, on the other
hand, was providing advice on the organization of women co-operatives
in the north of the country, as well as a pilot project on integrated
development which included sanitation, health and education, family
planning and literacy. The United Nations Fund for Population Activities
had been supporting these efforts. It recently finished a project
on the training of rural women of the north for co-operative work
organized under the auspices of the European Social Fund of the
European Economic Community. Finally, the representative added,
women's organizations had also been involved in community development
projects in the Alentejo, northern and central part of the country.
Furthermore, she clarified, there was no legal discrimination against
rural women in social welfare benefits. A special widowhood pension
was granted to women aged over 35 years; men only qualified at age
65 or if they were disabled.
148. The representative of the State
party answered a question in regard to a statement made in the initial
report, that lack of motivation and not apathy was probably the
cause of the slow progress in the integration of women. Present
economic constraints had prevented the Portuguese Government from
allocating more rapidly the sufficient resources to build a larger
infrastructure and support for women. However, the integration of
women had become State policy, she concluded.