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The horrifying gang rape and subsequent death of a student in India ignited protests in support of changing laws and cultural views on women. This unspeakable tragedy, coupled with the ongoing atrocities and injustices facing the world's female population, should also remind the United States to finally ratify the United Nations "bill of rights for women."

The U.S. was a primary drafter of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women when President Carter signed it in 1980, but it has inexplicably lingered in the Senate for over 30 years. Only eight countries have failed to ratify the convention, leaving the U.S. in the company of nations that adamantly oppress the rights of women, including Iran, Somalia, and Sudan.

This convention has been an important source of constitutional and cultural changes that support the global advancement of women. The Obama administration must move urgently to ratify this important convention.

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Dear President Obama:

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men by securing women's access to equal opportunities in political and public life, including the right to vote and to stand for election, as well as the right to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.

Nations who ratify the convention agree to take all appropriate measures to ensure that women can enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms. They are also required to submit a report every four years to the convention's committee. This is a valuable, ongoing opportunity to identify shortcomings, track progress, and cultivate a dialog about ways to improve.

CEDAW is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and identifies culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations. It affirms women's rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality and the nationality of their children. Ratifying nations also agree to take appropriate measures against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women.

CEDAW has been an important source of constitutional, legislative, and judicial change for the advancement of women abroad.

  • In Bangladesh, it facilitated the improvement gender parity in primary schools.
  • In Kenya, it helped remove barriers to land and inheritance rights for widows and daughters.
  • Afghanistan used it as a basis for a constitutional provision to guarantee men and women equal rights before the law.

U.S. diplomats and Americans who work in international organizations say that the failure to ratify impedes their efforts to advance the rights of girls and women abroad. Ratification would also benefit America, which still struggles with pay equity for women, paid maternity leave, and violence against women.

As you stated in your second inaugural speech in January of 2013, "Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts." Let ratification of CEDAW be one of your first steps in following through on that historical and heartfelt proclamation.

Petition Signatures


Aug 28, 2015 Loli Diaz
Aug 28, 2015 John Blair
Aug 28, 2015 Sarahann Mercado-Zeski Please.
Aug 27, 2015 Miryanna van Reeden
Aug 26, 2015 Marsha Lackey
Aug 26, 2015 Jennifer Olson Women's rights are human rights. Time for the senate to grow the heck up and acknowledge this, and join the 21st century!
Aug 26, 2015 Betty Wheeler
Aug 26, 2015 Phyllis Dupret
Aug 25, 2015 Francine Traniello
Aug 25, 2015 Neville Bruce
Aug 24, 2015 Marta,Betty,David,Fernando,Joel Anguiano-Volsansky
Aug 24, 2015 Margaret Sober
Aug 24, 2015 Merle Foster
Aug 23, 2015 John Blair
Aug 23, 2015 Rosemarie Woods If the US is so "exceptional," why haven't we ratified CEDAW?
Aug 22, 2015 Margaret Neal
Aug 21, 2015 Abdullah ibn Musa Islam I'm a man, and I support that women have the same bloody rights as men!
Aug 21, 2015 Maria Simao
Aug 21, 2015 Antje Struthmann
Aug 20, 2015 Susan Ackeridge Please help protect the world's future mothers.
Aug 20, 2015 Anna Jasiukiewicz
Aug 20, 2015 Pola Alemao
Aug 20, 2015 Angela Watson
Aug 20, 2015 Joan Virgil
Aug 20, 2015 Raymond Zaracki
Aug 19, 2015 Katherine Sherpa
Aug 18, 2015 Mary Sullins
Aug 17, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 16, 2015 Andrea Rematore
Aug 15, 2015 Christine Tobin-Presser
Aug 15, 2015 Susan Wayne
Aug 15, 2015 A Minetti
Aug 15, 2015 Patti Smith
Aug 15, 2015 Eric Park
Aug 15, 2015 Leah Brooks
Aug 15, 2015 Rev Mike Coleman
Aug 15, 2015 Sheree Bright
Aug 15, 2015 Dr Brett Mann
Aug 15, 2015 Astrid Andersen
Aug 15, 2015 Nick Stuart
Aug 15, 2015 Joyce Gardner
Aug 15, 2015 Helen Mann
Aug 15, 2015 kim kensinger
Aug 15, 2015 Lisa Siebern
Aug 15, 2015 Diana Spencer
Aug 15, 2015 Melissa Dobson
Aug 15, 2015 Tana Bronk Dear President Obama, I see you as a defender of the weak and oppressed, sir. Please help. Thank you.
Aug 15, 2015 PL Derickson
Aug 15, 2015 Suzanne Pena
Aug 15, 2015 Betty Leach

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