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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


Jul 27, 2015 Jody Mahnken
Jul 27, 2015 Brian Reynolds
Jul 27, 2015 Janice Matthews
Jul 23, 2015 Amy Orricka
Jul 22, 2015 DOUG SNYDER
Jul 20, 2015 Patty Viers
Jul 17, 2015 Maeryn Boirionnach
Jul 16, 2015 MICHAEL MIRACLE
Jul 16, 2015 Valeria Rossi
Jul 16, 2015 Brenda Weber
Jul 14, 2015 Judy Moran
Jul 12, 2015 Yvonne Christison
Jul 12, 2015 Shadoe Drury
Jul 10, 2015 Monika Pettersen
Jul 9, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 9, 2015 Caren Shiloh
Jul 9, 2015 Natalie Linden
Jul 9, 2015 Lindsay Mugglestone
Jul 8, 2015 Nectaria Peters
Jul 7, 2015 Vaiva Griskaite
Jul 6, 2015 john crouch
Jul 4, 2015 Laura Cheramie
Jul 4, 2015 Sandra Loud
Jul 3, 2015 Karen Douglas
Jun 28, 2015 Uma Chernoff
Jun 27, 2015 n. gottlieb
Jun 25, 2015 Kathleen Tashiro
Jun 25, 2015 Camille Dent
Jun 25, 2015 Maureen Rodriguez Protect women, protect the planet.
Jun 24, 2015 Donita Lowrey
Jun 23, 2015 Faith Benson
Jun 18, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jun 17, 2015 Annie Smit
Jun 16, 2015 Tania Pogiatzoglou
Jun 16, 2015 Patricia Kellen
Jun 14, 2015 Marco Cattalani
Jun 12, 2015 S. Marsh
Jun 11, 2015 Toni Soderholm
Jun 9, 2015 Wana Haaland
Jun 9, 2015 Isabela Calin
Jun 8, 2015 Pam Walker
Jun 8, 2015 (Name not displayed) If we don't fight for the female race, who will? NO MAN
Jun 8, 2015 nancy steiner
Jun 7, 2015 Amy Dillon
Jun 4, 2015 Dana Sklar
Jun 4, 2015 Irene Martone
Jun 4, 2015 debbie meadows
Jun 3, 2015 Maureen North
Jun 3, 2015 Undine Nestler
Jun 2, 2015 Donna Rudins WE MUST RATIFY 'CEDAW' AND PROTECT WOMEN'S RIGHTS, BAN DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN, JUST DO IT NOW!

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