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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


Apr 25, 2017 Stephen Moyer
Apr 25, 2017 Jane Spaeth
Apr 25, 2017 David Hopkins
Apr 21, 2017 KAREN WASSING
Apr 21, 2017 Virgil Pauls
Apr 20, 2017 Patrizia Lazzeri The horrifying gang rape & subsequent death of a student in India ignited protests to change laws & cultural views on women. This should also remind the United States to finally ratify the United Nations "bill of rights for women"!!
Apr 19, 2017 Kathleen Shabi
Apr 18, 2017 Chika Makise
Apr 15, 2017 Victoria Joslin
Apr 9, 2017 Brenda Morales
Apr 8, 2017 melissa bird
Apr 7, 2017 Sabrina Degasperi
Apr 6, 2017 JoAnn Schneider
Apr 6, 2017 Harolyn Giordano
Apr 4, 2017 Melanie Huisman
Apr 4, 2017 leslie shellberg
Apr 4, 2017 Darren Mitton
Apr 4, 2017 Jeffrey Bains
Apr 3, 2017 Barb Breese
Mar 30, 2017 Elizabeth Frost
Mar 30, 2017 Prudence Brooks THE WORLD'S WOMEN SHOULD BE CHERISHED, VALUED AND APPRECIATED.
Mar 30, 2017 Michalla Sutton
Mar 29, 2017 Tim Young
Mar 26, 2017 Kyriaki P
Mar 24, 2017 Katherine Oyarzun
Mar 24, 2017 Kat Gallagher
Mar 24, 2017 Susan Weems
Mar 23, 2017 David Young
Mar 22, 2017 melissa suarez
Mar 22, 2017 Michèle Haudebourg
Mar 21, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Mar 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Mar 18, 2017 Kathy Sawdy
Mar 16, 2017 Wayne Micheal Cosby
Mar 13, 2017 CAROL HENDERSON
Mar 13, 2017 Margherita Pinto
Mar 11, 2017 Sigfrido Losada Torreiro
Mar 10, 2017 Maureen Downs
Mar 10, 2017 Tammy D'Amore
Mar 10, 2017 Terry Keck
Mar 7, 2017 Suzette Henderson
Mar 6, 2017 Carey Boehmer
Mar 6, 2017 Debbie Davis CMKBD CAPS
Mar 6, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Mar 5, 2017 Justina Lane
Mar 5, 2017 Geraldine Rondeau
Mar 5, 2017 Kristi Weber
Mar 2, 2017 Joe and Karen Lansdale
Feb 26, 2017 mary lehman
Feb 24, 2017 Jillana Laufer

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