34 Years After Signing, United States Still Hasn’t Ratified CEDAW

By Amrita Bamrah, a Summer 2014 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

Today marks the 34th anniversary of the United States signing the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – a United Nations treaty intended to bring equality to women around the world. But more than three decades after Jimmy Carter signed the treaty, the United States still stands out as one of a handful of countries that has not ratified it.

CEDAW is an international agreement designed to uphold fundamental human rights. Also known as the women’s equality treaty, it supports equality between men and women around the globe by providing countries with guidelines on how to promote progress for women. By ratifying CEDAW, countries commit to implementing measures that would help end discrimination against women in all forms. The treaty has helped overcome barriers to combating discrimination throughout the ratifying countries, for example, by decreasing sex trafficking and domestic abuse, ensuring the right to vote and ability to work, and helping to improve maternal health care.

Today, 187 countries have ratified CEDAW – and the United States remains one of only seven countries that has not taken this step despite support from Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama.

Ratifying CEDAW would affirm the United States as a leader in promoting equality for women everywhere. During a Senate hearing last month on combating violence and discrimination against women, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D. Mass., said, “The U.S. must be committed to protecting the rights of women and girls, committed to preventing violence and discrimination against women across the globe.” Warren also urged, “Investing in women and girls means investing in the future. It is prosperous, secure, just, and peaceful for all and it’s time for Congress to carry this fight forward.”

Share this image on social media if you think it’s time for the United States to join 187 other countries in ratifying the women’s equality treaty.