22 December 2010

Washington State Win! Pharm Board Protects Access to Emergency Contraception

It's always nice to be able to report a little good news around the holidays, and the folks in Washington State are giving us the opportunity to do exactly that!

You may remember that just over a month ago, we reported on a challenge to an existing rule in Washington State that requires pharmacies to fill customer prescriptions for legal medications -- regardless of how individual pharmacists may feel about whether these products should or should not be legal. If the rule had been overturned, pharmacies in the state could have refused to provide certain medications to customers on the basis of "moral objection" -- medications like Plan B (the "morning after" pill) and other types of contraceptives.

21 December 2010

Asian Women Giving Circle Announces RFP for Women, Arts and Activism

The Ms. Foundation is pleased to announce an Open Call for Proposals for our new donor-advised fund, the Asian Women Giving Circle. We are very excited that the Giving Circle has joined the Foundation and look forward to a successful partnership.

Open Call for Proposals

The Asian Women Giving Circle, a donor-advised fund of the Ms. Foundation for Women, is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals for its Women, Arts and Activism Fund.

Through this RFP, the Asian Women Giving Circle seeks to support Asian American women-led projects that use the tools of culture, the arts and education to raise awareness and catalyze action around critical issues that impact Asian American communities. As such, the focus of this grantmaking will be on programs and projects that combine the arts with activism, and which highlight and promote women’s central role in their leadership, creation, development and management.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 5pm (Eastern Standard Time).

Learn More or download the Complete RFP [PDF]

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Support Women's Well-Being this Holiday Season

Want to make a real difference during this season of giving? Donate to the Ms. Foundation for Women.
Giving to the Ms. Foundation is about more than making a gift, it's about making an impact. It's about standing up for the safety and health of women and girls, and building their economic security and civic participation.
By making a gift now, you are enhancing women's safety and well-being by:
  • Bringing the issue of child sexual abuse out of obscurity and investing in a comprehensive, social justice approach that puts communities at the forefront of prevention;
  • Working to end the trauma of sexual abuse in the military; and
  • Using technology -- including iPhone applications -- to challenge street harassment.
When you give, change happens.
Join us now! Making a donation online is fast and easy. You can also mail us your contribution.
Cathy Raphael
Chair, Board of Directors
The Ms. Foundation for Women

20 December 2010

Weekly Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

Wondering what Ms. Foundation grantees have been up to recently? Here's a quick round-up of some of the impressive work our grantees have done in just the last week (!) to advance social justice nationwide.
  • Together with the ACLU, Ms. Foundation grantee the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) files a lawsuit [pdf] in district court to force the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran's Affairs to release military sexual trauma records currently being withheld by the federal government. SWAN also issues an important response to a new pentagon report on sexual assault trends at the military academies. Read that press release.

  • Women of Color Policy Network issues an action alert calling on supporters to protect federal funding for child care and Head Start. The omnibus appropriations bill that would have provided the funding levels necessary to adequately support early childhood education and child care was eventually pulled from the Senate amid concerns over earmarks; Congress is now faced with passing a continuing resolution that would cap government funding of child care/early ed at FY2010 levels -- and leave tens of thousands of children out in the cold.

The Highs, the Lows: DADT and Dream Act Meet Opposite Fates in Senate

After 17 years, 13,500 dismissed service members and enough debate to have launched a thousand ships, the US Congress finally did what's right: on Saturday, December 18th, the US Senate repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military's ban on openly serving gay and lesbian soldiers. This repeal is a tremendous win not just for gay and lesbian service members, or for women and people of color (who, we now know, were disproportionately impacted by the discriminatory policy); it is also a remarkable win for our nation as a whole, as it moves us ever closer to becoming a truly inclusive democracy --one where who we are puts no limits on what we can be, and what we can do.

17 December 2010

NoVo Foundation Launches 10-Year Initiative to End Violence Against Women & Girls

Ms. Foundation partner NoVo Foundation has launched Move to End Violence, a 10-year initiative to end violence against women and girls -- one that could prove a "game changer" in the field of anti-violence work nationwide.

Move to End Violence is designed to strengthen advocates' collective capacity to end violence against girls and women in the United States. "Social transformation of this magnitude requires effective collaboration of well-resourced leaders from strong organizations working strategically toward a common vision," the initiative's website reads. The initiative provides visionary leaders with transformative leadership development opportunities; critical support to their organizations; and capacity building for the movement as a whole.

Over ten years, the initiative will convene five cohorts for a two-year cycle, and will eventually engage more than 100 individuals from organizations in the process of ending gender-based violence. The first cohort -- to which applications are now being accepted -- will be made up of 15 leaders from across the United States chosen for their "vision for ending violence against girls and women, capacity for leadership, and passion for social change."

To qualify, individuals must be based in a nonprofit organization that is working (at least in part) to end violence against girls and women. Individuals and organizations applying must also be fully aligned with the NoVo Foundation’s mission and values.

To learn more about the Move to End Violence initiative and how to apply, please visit MovetoEndViolence.org.

Grantee Report Documents Civil Rights Abuses in Immigration Policing

Saturday, December 18th is International Migrants Day -- a time when communities and nations pause to celebrate the rights of the more than 185 million people worldwide who live outside of their countries of origin as migrants or refugees. But according to a report newly released by Ms. Foundation grantee the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, we here in the United States have precious little to celebrate these days when it comes to our treatment of migrants and our respect for their rights.

The NNIRR report, Injustice for All: The Rise of the Immigration Policing Regime [pdf], argues that in the past decade, the US government has built a "brutal system of immigration control and policing that criminalizes immigration status, normalizes the forcible separation of families, destabilizes communities and workplaces, and fuels widespread civil rights violations." Furthermore, the report's authors point out, the system encourages "racial discrimination and hate violence against immigrants" -- as well as against individuals perceived to be foreign born or "illegal."

16 December 2010

Join Me in Welcoming Anika Rahman, Our Next President

I am writing today to share some wonderful news. After an extensive and exciting national search, the Ms. Foundation for Women has selected our new president and CEO. Anika Rahman will be joining the Ms. Foundation in February. On behalf of the board I want to introduce you to Anika and share with you why we are so excited about her combination of experience, perspective, track record and passion.

Driven by a vision of a world with justice and equality for all women, Anika is a passionate advocate for social justice and human dignity. She has spent her life and dedicated her career to fighting for women's rights and is especially passionate about reproductive rights, health access and equality under the law. Born in Bangladesh, raised there as well as in Pakistan by three strong women, and educated in the United States, Anika has a powerful perspective on the many facets of social inequity and the work of creating social justice. We loved it when she told us "fighting for women's rights is in my DNA."

She will be coming to the Ms. Foundation after six years as president of Americans for UNFPA, a leading national organization focused on promoting the United Nations Population Fund in the United States. The UNFPA works in over 150 countries, is the largest multilateral source of such assistance and an anchor for women's equality throughout the world. In her work at Americans for UNFPA, Anika significantly enhanced fundraising, grew the budget dramatically, negotiated a $37 million bequest for UNFPA and Americans for UNFPA, increased the organization's capacity to deliver on its mission, developed a comprehensive policy agenda and frequently contributed commentary to both traditional and social media.

Earlier in her career, Anika served as director of International Programs for the Center for Reproductive Rights where she helped women around the world fight for equality and legal protections. She also led the Center's policy team to gain important experience in the connections between advocacy, legal and communication strategies to effect change. Her direct experiences partnering with grassroots advocates to fight for women's health and rights in forums ranging from the halls of Congress, the United Nations and to the court of public opinion prepared her to recognize the many pathways that must be navigated to create social change. Anika earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School.

Anika will work closely with the board and Interim President Susan Wefald to ensure a smooth transition and continued impact. Susan is looking forward to returning to her role as chief operating officer. The board thanks Susan for her many years of dedication to the Ms. Foundation and her willingness to lead the organization while we looked for our next president and CEO. We invite you to meet Anika online. We will be hosting a series of events and coffee sessions and hope you will have the opportunity to meet Anika personally in the New Year.

Thanks to the leadership of Sara K. Gould, Susan Wefald and the incredible work of our staff and our partners, the Ms. Foundation is in a strong position to address core social justice issues and to engage an even larger group of advocates, donors and partners. With our endowment now over $26 million (near our peak), an incredible community of social justice donors, a decades-long track record of impact, partnership with over 150 innovative grassroots grantees and a talented staff, we are ready to welcome and leverage new leadership.

Together we will stand for and with social justice trailblazers in the fight for changes like good paying jobs, reproductive health, ending violence against women and girls and the inclusion of women at all decision-making tables.

Together we will work toward a nation in which power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class or any other factor.

Cathy Raphael

Chair, Board of Directors
Ms. Foundation for Women

More about Anika. Statement from Anika Rahman. Profile of Anika Rahman.

Meet Anika Rahman, Our New President & CEO

Hello to the Ms. Foundation for Women community.

Though I will not be joining the staff of the Ms. Foundation until February, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and express my appreciation and excitement about joining this community of social justice trailblazers.

I have spent my entire life and dedicated my career to women's rights and dignity. I am thus deeply honored that the Ms. Foundation has invited me to become its next president and CEO. This is a remarkable and iconic organization, one that has a track record of impact more than three decades long. It was the first women's fund, an early leader in the fight for reproductive health and justice, one of the first foundations to address all forms of violence and one of the leading voices for bringing a gender lens to the field of philanthropy. I was drawn to the Ms. Foundation not only because of the wins in its past, but also because of the innovative, powerful and vital work it is part of right now. The Ms. Foundation must continue to be an anchor institution for the women's movement.

I came to the United States at the age of eighteen to attend college, first earning my Bachelor's degree at Princeton and then my Juris Doctorate at Columbia Law School. Since those days, I have focused on helping women throughout the world as they have worked to improve their lives and the lives of those in their communities.

Women and social justice are in my DNA. From a very early age, I felt first hand the devastation of inequality. In Bangladesh, where I was born, my father was able to divorce my mother by simply saying three times, “I divorce you.” The laws and cultural mores that allowed him such power and freedom did not apply to my mother who, because she was a woman, had very few rights. I continued to experience my society's attitudes towards women as being restricted and painful because I saw the world through the eyes of the three women who raised me -- my grandmother, my mother and my aunt. These three incredibly strong women taught me to be unbowed by injustice, to fight it and to be tenacious. I am who I am because of what they taught me. I fight for women's rights and for human dignity for them and for my daughter.

Of course, my experience with discrimination did not end when I grew to adulthood.

As an immigrant, a woman of color and a Muslim, I know what it is to be different. I know what it is to be hurt by prejudice, ignorance and injustice. But I also have the privilege of education, voice and opportunity. I know that the only way to create change and to create a better world is to harness our collective energy and to take action. I believe in the possibility of change because I have seen it in my own life. I believe with my whole heart that the work of the Ms. Foundation staff, grantees and donors is making that change a reality. And there is so much more work for us to do together.

I very much look forward to getting to know and learning from the Ms. Foundation's grantees, donors and staff. I want to collaborate with you. You are on the front lines of change. The work you do every day, the passion you bring to your work and to your communities and the partnerships you have made with one another and with other social justice advocates are powerful forces that are needed more than ever. What we do together matters. I am proud to join such an exceptional community and am honored to stand with you in our collective fight for equality, justice and opportunity.

I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Anika Rahman

More about Anika Rahman. Statement from Cathy Raphael, Ms. Foundation Board Chair. Profile of Anika Rahman.

Katie Couric ROCs: CBS Host Highlights Ms. Grantee and Gives Paid Sick Days Important Boost

Earlier this month, Katie Couric, host of CBS Evening News, gave the national campaign for paid sick days a great boost, voicing support for passage of the Healthy Families Act and highlighting a report by Ms. Foundation grantee, Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United, which found that 90% of restaurant workers lack paid leave and 60% have cooked or served food while ill. Couric called the federal legislation, which would provide all workers with up to 7 days of paid sick time, long-overdue, adding, "Fettuccine tastes a whole lot better without an extra sprinkling of germs."

Katie, you ROC!

Contact your representatives to voice your support for the bill.

15 December 2010

Court Challenge to Health Care Reform Shouldn't Slow Us Down

We knew this was coming. Ever since a slew of November election campaigns were run on a platform to repeal the Affordable Care Act (or as some people would have it, Obamacare), we’ve been anticipating an active and concerted health care reform backlash. And this Monday the battle lines were drawn. A Federal District Court judge in Virginia ruled that one of the primary aspects of the law is unconstitutional -- the provision requiring that uninsured Americans obtain health insurance. This  cornerstone of the legislation would extend coverage to almost all of today’s 30 million uninsured Americans. Although this ruling will have no effect on health care reform’s rollout -- the judge refused to require that the act’s implementation be suspended -- it does reveal the growing activism of the anti-reform cohort.

The ruling came on the heels of two new reports by Ms. Foundation grantees -- one by the National Women’s Law Center and one by the National Asian and Pacific American Women’s Forum -- demonstrating the continued threats to women’s overall health presented by income inequality and lack of insurance coverage. According to the NWLC report, women who have access to private insurance are often denied access to basic reproductive health: “In 2010, only seven states have recognized the importance of access to comprehensive maternity care -- including prenatal, birth, and postpartum care -- by requiring that these services be covered in all individual and group health plans.” Furthermore, the racial disparities in insurance coverage are staggering; “nationwide, 37.6% of Hispanic women, 32.0% of American Indian/Alaska Native women, and 23.4% of Black women do not have health coverage, compared to 13.9% of White women.“

Right Readies its Anti-Abortion Fight

It's no surprise, but it's still shocking: with just weeks to go before the start of the 112th Congress, conservative leaders are busy putting the pieces in place for an all-out, multi-tier war on reproductive rights.

With Republicans about to take control of the House, a tighter margin of Democratic leadership looming in the Senate and a significant rise in the number of anti-abortion governors across the country (up to 29 from 21), conservatives understand that they are sitting on a remarkable political "opportunity" to push for policies that limit access to and funding of abortions at both the state and local levels. And they plan to capitalize on it.

In the House, moves are already being made to lay the foundation for a more dedicated assault on reproductive rights: this week, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) was named chairman of the influential Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, which has control over private health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. Pitts is a staunch conservative with a zero pro-choice rating; he was co-author of the famed "Stupak amendment" and has been described by some as “one of the most anti-choice members of the House.” His selection as chair of this important subcommittee "presages a major shift on abortion and family planning," according to The New York Times, and Pitts has already announced that he will use his new position to push for a ban on the use of federal subsidies “to pay for any abortion, or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.” (A stance that's so 2009, mind you, when the issue became a sticking point in health care reform, or better yet, 1976, when the Hyde Amendment, which already bans federal funding for abortions, was established.)

14 December 2010

Child Care Subsidies, Early Education Still at Risk -- Congress Must Act Now

Child care is not an abstract issue. Every day, millions of families in the US rely on -- and pay for -- others to care for their children so that they can hold down jobs, pay the rent and put food on the table. For many low-income families, child care programs that are subsidized by federal and state funding, along with programs like Head Start and Early Head Start, provide the only means by which to access care -- and, consequently, to hold down a job. For them, these are the programs that make work, and any modicum of economic justice, possible. 

But across the country, these programs are in danger. Before the members of 111th Congress depart for their final holiday break, they must decide whether to continue funding subsidized child care services and early childhood education programs, or as Ms. Foundation grantee the National Women's Law Center has put it, leave hundreds of thousands of children "out in the cold."

13 December 2010

Upcoming Event: Program Officer Sangeeta Budhiraja Leads Conversation on Women and Economic Recovery

On Wednesday, December 15 at 2pm EST join the National Council for Research on Women and Ms. Foundation Program Officer Sangeeta Budhiraja for an important online conversation about how to build pathways to greater economic security for women and their families.

The webinar, "Women and Economic Recovery: A View from the States," will feature a discussion of the Ms. Foundation's Southern focus and provide a snapshot of our economic security work in the South, where we fund a range of organizations crafting unique solutions to the economic crisis. "Our grantees in the South are taking a holistic approach to economic security," says Budhiraja. "They're looking at the economic crisis from a perspective that takes into account the nuanced ways it has affected women -- particularly low income women of color, who have suffered greatly throughout the recession. Immigrant organizations, child care advocacy organizations, job training programs, and organizations pushing for job quality and increased social supports: these are the groups leading the way to true economic recovery -- and we're proud to be partnered with them."

Budhiraja will be joined in conversation by Randy Albelda, Professor of Economics and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, who will share research findings from the report "Women in the Down Economy: Impacts of the Recession and the Stimulus in Massachusetts."

Be a part of this important discussion about the economic future of women and girls. To participate, register today.

09 December 2010

DREAM Act Passes House; Pressure Senate Today!

Powerful organizing in support of the DREAM Act is paying off. Late yesterday, the House passed it with a vote of 216 to 198. Now it's time to put pressure on the Senate, where it could be put to a much tougher test when it comes up for a vote today. (According to Politico, Senate Republicans have vowed to filibuster any legislation that doesn't have to do with the Bush-era tax cuts and the "funding of the government.")

There's no way to deny the momentum. Tell your Senators the time to pass the DREAM Act is now. Find your Senator's contact information here.

UPDATE: The Senate just passed a motion to table a vote on the DREAM Act. This allows for more time to generate greater support. Call 866-996-5161 and tell your senators to vote "yes" when they take up the House version of the bill.

08 December 2010

A Movement to End Child Sexual Abuse, Community by Community

Bringing an end to child sexual abuse (CSA) is a cause all of us should be able to get behind. Since 2009, the Ms. Foundation and NoVo Foundation have been working to build a new movement to end CSA that looks beyond the criminalization of offenders (which experts agree will never fully solve the problem), and seeks instead to advance a comprehensive, community-based prevention model that encourages individuals and organizations to collaborate in unique ways to protect children from CSA before it occurs.

One exciting example of how groups are working to craft new solutions to the problem of CSA comes courtesy of a campaign and website recently launched by Ms. Foundation grantee partner Massachusetts Citizens for Children (MCC). Developed as part of the MA Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Partnership (of which MCC is the lead agency), the Enough Abuse Campaign and website are designed to provide clear, usable information that can help protect children from child sexual abuse -- and according to Monique Hoeflinger, Senior Program Officer at the Ms. Foundation for Women, theirs is an advocacy effort that breaks the mold on CSA in many ways.

They're Voting Today! Stand Up for the DREAM Act Now

This is it: Today, Congress is set to vote on a motion that could bring the DREAM Act to the floor for consideration by the full House. There are literally just hours left to convince your representatives that the DREAM Act must be passed, once and for all.

The DREAM Act provides an all-important path to citizenship through education and/or service for those brought to this country as undocumented minors. "This is a no-brainer," says Caroline Hotaling, Program Officer at the Ms. Foundation for Women. "Originally drafted by Republicans and Democrats together, the DREAM Act gives our country the chance to benefit from the work of young people who just want to contribute, whether it be through higher education or military service. There is no good reason to say 'no' to this legislation."

The US South: Policy Failures Fuel HIV/AIDS Among Women and People of Color

World AIDS Day may be just behind us, but the battle to combat the epidemic marches on. And believe it or not, one of the places it marches on most ferociously is in the US South, where women and communities of color are increasingly affected by HIV/AIDS.

"Forty-six percent of all new AIDS cases come out of the South," says Patricia Eng, Vice President of Program at the Ms. Foundation for Women, "and of the 10 states with the highest number of women with HIV, seven of them are in the South." Southern communities of color have also been particularly hard hit: as a recent Human Rights Watch report notes,

How a Goaltender Taught Me About Social Justice

I could tell you about a girl who stayed up late into the night listening to baseball games on the radio in order to record the most up-to-date statistics on her favorite players. I could tell you about a girl who did her homework on Sundays in front of the television flipping between different NFL broadcasts; a girl whose fifth grade softball team won the city championships; a girl who played road hockey every day after school and spent her weekends traveling the suburbs playing in soccer tournaments. But instead, I will tell you about a girl whose hero was Manon Rhéaume.

01 December 2010

World AIDS Day: Keeping Women Front and Center

December 1, 2010 is World AIDS Day -- a day when people around the world are encouraged to reflect and take action on behalf of the global fight to end AIDS.

At present, an estimated 33 million people worldwide are infected with the HIV virus, nearly 16 million of whom are women, and more than 2 million of whom are children. Those are staggering numbers, but new data from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) offers at least some reason for hope: the study shows that both new infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses are dropping worldwide -- a result, experts believe, of increased education around safer sex practices, particularly among the young, for whom rates of new infection have fallen by as much as 25 percent in some nations.

"Investments in the AIDS response are paying off," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told CNN. But he also warned against putting too much weight on what has been accomplished, lest we forget that this epidemic remains very real -- and deadly. "[These] gains are fragile," Sidibe said. "The challenge now is how we can all work to accelerate progress."

Request for Proposals: Ending Child Sexual Abuse

The Ms. Foundation for Women is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals in the area of child sexual abuse.

Through this RFP, the Ms. Foundation seeks to support building the movement to end child sexual abuse. We believe this long-term vision begins with supporting communities in developing the relationships and infrastructure needed to grow and sustain this movement. The focus of this grantmaking will be on projects with a primary emphasis on organizing and advocacy. In particular we seek to support projects that go beyond education and awareness to address specific changes in policy, culture or practice related to child sexual abuse.

This RFP will include two stages: (1) an open call for letters of inquiry, and (2) an invitation for select applicants to submit a full grant proposal. The deadline for submitting a letter of inquiry is January 10, 2011.

For complete details, download the RFP [pdf], or visit the grants section of our site.

Spread the Word
Please help to spread the word to other organizations and networks.

Grantee Highlights Sexism and Racism at the Heart of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Ms. Foundation grantee Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) has published an excellent and insightful piece about Don't Ask, Don't Tell (the US military's policy banning homosexuals from service) and its not-so-subtle sexist and racist roots.

Featured yesterday on the WNYC.org site, the piece was timed to coincide with the release of a new Pentagon report that revealed that 70 percent of active duty and reserve troops surveyed feel that the repeal of DADT would have a "positive or, at worst, inconsequential effect on a unit’s ability to 'work together and get the job done.'" While the battle over DADT has largely been perceived as a LGBTQ issue, Anuradha Bhagwati, Executive Director of SWAN, points out that the policy has had a negative effect on women and people of color in the military, who are particularly susceptible to punishment under the banner of DADT. She writes,

4 Critical Issues; 4 Ways to Make a Difference Today

As early as this week, Congress may vote on key issues that will overwhelmingly affect women, families and communities -- particularly those still struggling to survive the ongoing economic crisis. Readers of this blog know that we've been highlighting a number of ways you can take action to ensure just policies are put in place before positive change becomes more difficult to achieve; below we offer a recap of four of those actions, and hope you'll help urge Washington to protect the interests of women and families across America.
  1. Congress must protect access to child care and Head Start for more than 300,000 children and their families. Let our government leaders know how important quality, affordable childcare is to our country's future. Learn more about how to take action.
  2. Beginning today, emergency unemployment insurance expires, affecting millions of long-term jobless workers.  Meanwhile, legislators are still debating who among the richest of the rich will get to keep their tax cuts. Tell Washington that real economic recovery should benefit women, families and communities, not the wealthy or Wall Street.
  3. Urge Congress to retroactively renew the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, which has helped create more than 250,000 subsidized jobs and increase services for low-income families wounded by the economic crisis.
  4. Comprehensive immigration reform is still the goal, but the DREAM Act is a step in the right direction. Tell Congress they must pass this important legislation and grant citizenship rights to at least a million undocumented youth who are working tirelessly on behalf of their families, communities and country.
Together, let's capitalize on the window of opportunity presented by the Lame Duck session and secure changes that will make a real difference in women's lives.

The Time for CEDAW is Now

For more than three decades, the failure of the United States to ratify the preeminent international women's human rights treaty has thwarted progress towards equity and justice in the US and around the world.

In 1979, the General Assembly of the UN formally adopted CEDAW -- the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women -- a set of equal justice standards that serve as an international bill of rights for the protection of women. Countries that sign on to the Convention are bound to "undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms," including:
  • Incorporating the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolishing all discriminatory laws and adopting appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women 
  • Establishing tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination 
  • Ensuring elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises