The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Robyn Shepherd, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;

US Still Absent From Women's Rights Treaty 30 Years After Its Adoption

ACLU Calls on Government to Ratify International 'Bill of Rights' for Women


On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),
the American Civil Liberties Union called on the U.S. government to
finally ratify the treaty. The U.S. signed the treaty in 1980, but it
has never been ratified by the Senate.

"The United States cannot wait
another 30 years before taking a real stand on fairness and equality
for women," said Lenora Lapidus, Director of the ACLU Women's Rights
Project. "It is truly shameful that a country that holds itself up as a
world leader on women's rights - and that has far from achieved full
equality for women and girls at home - is still not a party to such a
crucial treaty. It's time to finally join the overwhelming majority of
nations in ratifying CEDAW."

The primary goals of CEDAW are to
eliminate discrimination against women and girls and to promote women's
human rights. CEDAW recognizes that discrimination against women
violates principles of equal rights and human dignity and is an
obstacle to the full participation of women in the political, social,
economic and cultural life of their countries. Last May, the Obama
administration prioritized CEDAW for ratification.

The ratification of CEDAW would
encourage the U.S. to take stronger measures regarding issues such as
gender-based and domestic violence, discrimination against women in
housing, and access to health, education and employment. CEDAW calls on
countries to fight human trafficking and take special measures to end
the marginalization of immigrant and indigenous women and women of
color. The United States is the only country to have signed but not
ratified the treaty. Six other countries have yet to sign the treaty:
Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Sudan and Tonga.

"President Obama has taken some bold
initial steps toward repairing the United States' standing on human
rights by joining the U.N. Human Rights Council and signing the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," said Jamil
Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program. "Concrete action
toward the ratification of CEDAW would send a strong signal that the
U.S. intends to prioritize women's human rights in domestic and foreign

"The Senate should no longer put off
consideration of CEDAW," said Vania Leveille, ACLU Legislative Counsel.
"Thirty years is too long, even by congressional standards, to leave
such crucial business undone. We urge senators to move vigorously
forward in the new year to ratify CEDAW."

For more information on CEDAW, please visit:

For more on the ACLU Human Rights Program, please visit:

For more on the ACLU Women's Rights Project, please visit:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666