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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


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!!!
Oct 11, 2017 Liz Pope
Oct 10, 2017 Bonnie Baumann we are all humans; can we please start treating each other w/some humanity
Oct 7, 2017 anne jacques
Oct 5, 2017 Alexandre Pereira
Oct 4, 2017 Alexandre Pereira
Oct 3, 2017 Anna Krohn
Oct 3, 2017 Linda Jackson
Sep 29, 2017 Camille Gilliam
Sep 29, 2017 Karen Zeckel Tholander
Sep 29, 2017 joan autry All people MUST have all human rights!
Sep 13, 2017 Ann Achuff
Sep 10, 2017 Roxanne Pranger
Sep 4, 2017 Richard Van Aken Long overdue.
Sep 4, 2017 Lisa Valiente
Sep 3, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Sep 2, 2017 Lisa Hammermeister

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