The United States remains one of only seven countries that have not ratified CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). CEDAW is an international agreement on basic human rights for women and the most broadly endorsed human rights treaty within the United Nations, having been ratified by over 90% of UN member states. CEDAW outlines human rights such as the right to live free from violence, the ability to go to school, and access to the political system.
Before CEDAW there was no international legal mechanism in place that called on states to assess gender inequalities in their country. The Convention draws attention to 30 articles that deal with discrimination on the basis of being a woman. The treaty is divided into six parts - all related to ensuring that women are able to enjoy their “fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,” as stated in the preamble of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights].
NCRW asked leading research and policy expert Linda Tarr-Whelan to weigh in on the status of CEDAW. In addition to her responses, below is an excerpt from a previously published commentary from Linda featured on Women’s eNEws and The Huffington Post.
On Dec. 18, 1979, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, making it a watershed day for women around the globe.
In those heady days, I was deputy assistant to President Jimmy Carter for women's concerns. We expected speedy action after he sent the treaty to the Senate.
The bumper sticker on my wife’s car reads, “Well-behaved women seldom make history!” I believe proponents of CEDAW, the Women’s Treaty, have been minding their manners a bit too much. CEDAW is the most important international mechanism for women’s equality, and provides a universal standard for women’s human rights. The treaty is a basic framework for ending violence against women, ensuring girls access to education, and promoting economic opportunity and political participation for women.
Last week, the Ms. Foundation for Women--in partnership with the Center for Community Change and Lake Research Partners--hosted a successful Capitol Hill briefing, sharing results from their recent poll on the impact of the recession on women. According to Gail Cohen from the Joint Economic Committee,
only in May did women gain almost the same number of jobs as men -- but only in temporary Census jobs. In the private sector in May, women lost 1000 jobs while men gained 42,000 jobs.
To learn more about the briefing and download results of the poll, visit the Ms. Foundation's blog, Igniting Change.
Hands down, this post from California NOW recieves the award for best title of a blog addressing the gloomy issue of the economic recession. The post discusses a briefing hosted by the California Budget Project, which challenged this whole idea of a "mancession." California NOW pulled out these (un)savory data points from the briefing:
The number of families supported solely by working mothers rose from 4.7% in 2006 to 8.5% in 2009.
California’s typical working woman earned 89.1 cents for every dollar earned by the typical working man in 2009.
The gap between the personal wealth of white and black Americans undergirds socioeconomic inequality in the United States. What’s more, it’s widening.
This fact served as the springboard for an online seminar hosted last Thursday by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Entitled “Social Security at 75,” the discussion probed the intersections between race, wealth (defined as earnings minus expenditures), and economic security.