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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


Dec 3, 2017 Amber Lopez
Dec 1, 2017 jane leavitt
Dec 1, 2017 Rebecca Lambert
Nov 29, 2017 Miriam Amari
Nov 29, 2017 DayLynn McDonald
Nov 26, 2017 barbara gale
Nov 25, 2017 Ashley Rozanski
Nov 25, 2017 Trudy Murray
Nov 24, 2017 Naomi Sobo
Nov 24, 2017 Brandon Woodward
Nov 24, 2017 Constance Jackson Again Women And Children LAST.
Nov 23, 2017 Patricia Ferguson
Nov 23, 2017 Karrie Vukelic
Nov 23, 2017 Terri Lynch
Nov 21, 2017 Kristie Hatton
Nov 21, 2017 Stacey Govito
Nov 17, 2017 J.B. Picot
Nov 17, 2017 Cynthia Marrs
Nov 14, 2017 sonia salgueiro
Nov 13, 2017 Renee McKenzie
Nov 13, 2017 Kimberly Boden
Nov 11, 2017 Jodi Ford
Nov 8, 2017 LOUISE MOORE
Nov 8, 2017 Ginger Hipszky
Nov 8, 2017 lynne mcgarry
Nov 8, 2017 Miranda Kibler
Nov 7, 2017 Jodi Abel
Nov 7, 2017 Sandra Cobb
Nov 1, 2017 Terri Robb
Nov 1, 2017 Linda Stipsky
Oct 31, 2017 Roxanne Hewitt
Oct 29, 2017 susan munro
Oct 27, 2017 Wendy Horn
Oct 27, 2017 Dorothy Henry
Oct 27, 2017 Deborah Moore
Oct 26, 2017 Deborah Herath
Oct 26, 2017 Amina Dhumaad
Oct 25, 2017 Kimberly Wallace
Oct 25, 2017 Susan Ellis
Oct 24, 2017 Melissa Lohman
Oct 21, 2017 Patricia Gow
Oct 20, 2017 Claudia Schulz
Oct 20, 2017 Michelle Neeson
Oct 19, 2017 Savannah Hawkins
Oct 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Oct 17, 2017 Heidi Wollum
Oct 14, 2017 Lynda Patterson
Oct 13, 2017 Carolyn Balls
Oct 13, 2017 Maria Serrano
Oct 12, 2017 Barry Katz treating women like 2nd class citizens is primitive tribal behavior....EVOLVE!!!

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