Contact Your Senator!
Urge your Senator to bring this issue up on Capitol Hill so senators are forced to take a vote and their views on women’s equality is on the record. When you call your Senator, make sure to emphasize the points below.
Importance of CEDAW for Advancing Women’s Rights
CEDAW has been in effect since September 3, 1981, after receiving the required ratification of 20 nations. As a result, many nations of the world have had much experience using CEDAW to advance women’s rights, improve opportunities, and end discrimination against women and girls.
CEDAW can and is making a difference in many countries to reduce violence against women, end forced marriage and child marriage, ensure women’s inheritance rights, provide access to maternity care, and ensure women’s right to work and own a business without discrimination.
The CEDAW Taskforce of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, of which Feminist Majority is a member, provides the following examples of its effectiveness:
- Educational opportunities: Bangladesh used CEDAW to help attain gender parity in primary school enrollment and has as a goal for 2015, to eliminate all gender disparities in secondary education.
- Violence against women and girls: Mexico responded to a destabilizing epidemic of violence against women by using CEDAW terms in a General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free from Violence. By 2009, all 32 Mexican states had adopted the measure.
- Marriage and family relations: Kenya has used CEDAW to address differences in inheritance rights, eliminating discrimination against widows and daughters of the deceased.
- Political participation: Kuwait’s Parliament voted to extend voting rights to women in 2005 following a recommendation by the CEDAW Committee to eliminate discriminatory provisions in its electoral law.
What CEDAW Will Do in the US
The US could participate in the CEDAW Committee and would be required to complete periodic reviews of women’s and girls’ progress. Such reports would reveal the areas needing improvement, such as the wage gap, the glass ceiling, the lack of paid family medical leave, and the unequal political representation between men and women in our government. The US ranks 72nd among the world’s nations in the representation of women in our nation’s Congress.
By ratifying CEDAW, the US would make eliminating all forms of discrimination against women and girls a national priority and join the international community working to make the dream of gender equality a reality.