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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.

Sign Here

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

May 3, 2015 Joy Gagliardi
May 3, 2015 donna sykes
Apr 30, 2015 Carla Marques
Apr 29, 2015 Vivian Hih
Apr 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 29, 2015 Kim Taylor
Apr 28, 2015 Alice Schewene
Apr 28, 2015 laural ball
Apr 28, 2015 Laura Genovese
Apr 23, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 21, 2015 Lynne Moore Women are over 1/2 the population. Women do 2/3 of the work. Women deserve equal rights before the law. Please do everything you can to support women's rights.
Apr 18, 2015 valkyrie weathers
Apr 16, 2015 Christina Michael
Apr 16, 2015 Andrew Gresko.
Apr 16, 2015 Angela LaRochelle
Apr 15, 2015 Janice Banks
Apr 15, 2015 Anja Lehtiniemi
Apr 13, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 10, 2015 Betty Scott Rights for all!
Apr 10, 2015 joan labow
Apr 9, 2015 Erika Celorio
Apr 9, 2015 Elpida Bauman
Apr 8, 2015 Bambi Magie
Apr 8, 2015 Diana Coker
Apr 8, 2015 Tami Fleming
Apr 8, 2015 V. Truong
Apr 7, 2015 Karol Jiménez
Apr 7, 2015 LEE LOE
Apr 7, 2015 isabel tejeda
Apr 7, 2015 Sarah Clark-Jedrzejek
Apr 6, 2015 Jessica Rodibaugh
Apr 4, 2015 Christine Traylor
Apr 3, 2015 Eliza Duncan
Apr 3, 2015 Barbara Laxon
Apr 2, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 31, 2015 Gail Henry
Mar 30, 2015 Michelle stamm
Mar 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 27, 2015 Jewel Wolfe
Mar 27, 2015 Kelly Inviere
Mar 27, 2015 Cathy Alcozer
Mar 26, 2015 Judi O'Connor
Mar 26, 2015 Angela Rhodes
Mar 26, 2015 Joanne Cretney Tsosie
Mar 26, 2015 Carla Pratas
Mar 26, 2015 alex davis
Mar 25, 2015 Karen Vincent

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