President Obama: This Summer, Help Women and Girls Around the World

July 7, 2010

President Obama has repeatedly declared his support for women worldwide, stating that ratification of the CEDAW treaty (Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) is an important priority for the United States. The time has come for President Obama to send a strong signal to the Senate that ratification of CEDAW is vital.

The United States remains the only industrialized democracy and the only country in the Western Hemisphere not to ratify this critical treaty which affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world.

We know that CEDAW works! Countries from Australia to Uganda, Brazil, Morocco, and South Africa, have incorporated provisions in the CEDAW treaty into their constitutions and domestic legal codes.  Additionally, Egypt, Jordan, Nicaragua, and Pakistan have all seen significant increases in literacy rates after improving access to education for girls and women.

It is time for the US to show global leadership on women’s issues by ratifying CEDAW. Advancing women’s human rights is critical to America’s national security interests and a cornerstone of our foreign policy. However, because the US has not ratified CEDAW, it cannot participate in the CEDAW committee, the one global forum dedicated to women’s human rights.

Women of the world are calling on the US for ratification of CEDAW as a strong signal to their governments that promoting the rights of women is a priority. It would help enable a national dialogue on how to address persistent gaps in women’s full equality and would serve to address domestic issues of maternal mortality in US. CEDAW calls for equal access to health services (including maternal health) and ending discrimination on the grounds of maternity. Learn more about Amnesty’s Maternal Health Campaign.

President Obama has stated that ratification of the CEDAW Treaty is an important priority for his Administration.  We now need him to translate words into action and show true leadership in advancing women and girls’ rights around the world.  As women and men who believe in the basic rights of women and girls worldwide – the right to live free from violence, the ability to go to school, and access to the political system – we need President Obama to send a strong and urgent signal to the Senate that ratification of CEDAW is vital.

We are within striking distance of CEDAW ratification, but the window of opportunity is closing fast! We cannot allow the United States to continue to be one of only 7 countries in the world that has not ratified CEDAW.

Take action and tell President Obama that CEDAW ratification simply cannot wait.  Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111, to express your support for the ratification of CEDAW!

Joseph Person contributed to this post.