The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women is an international agreement, adopted by the United Nations in 1979, that "offers countries a practical blueprint to promote basic rights and open opportunities for women and girls in all areas of society." Its purpose, as the name indicates, is to help eliminate gender-based inequalities by affirming principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world.
To date, 186 of 193 countries have ratified the agreement. The United States has not. (The other holdouts? Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.)
Though the US signed the treaty in 1980, the US Senate has not formally ratified the agreement. US ratification remains important for many reasons. As the ACLU points out:
Ratification would allow the US to lend its expertise to other countries that seek greater equality for women and girls and to benefit from experiences elsewhere. Women of the world are calling for US ratification of CEDAW as a strong signal to their governments that promoting rights of women is a priority.And we in the US would likely feel the impact as well. From the ACLU's Blog of Rights:
Domestically, ratification of CEDAW would encourage the US to take stronger measures regarding issues such as gender-based and domestic violence, discrimination against women in housing and access to health care, education and employment. CEDAW [also] calls on countries to take special measures to end the marginalization of immigrant and indigenous women and women of color.The Obama Administration has indicated that it strongly supports ratification -- it's a matter of getting Senate leaders to bring the issue to a vote.
You can help close the 30 year loop on this one. Tell your senators to ratify the women's rights treaty known as CEDAW, today. The women of the world are watching.