Senate Hearings on Ratification of CEDAW Women's Equal Rights Treaty
CEDAW, or the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, has been ratified in all countries except Iran, Sudan, Somalia, several small Pacific Island nations, and the United States of America. Doesn't this seem like the game "Which one is not like the others?"? Jimmy Carter signed the treaty back in 1980, but the full U.S. Senate has never voted on it.
This week the Senate is holding the first hearings on CEDAW in years. Those speaking out in favor of the ratification of the Convention include former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer, and actor Geena Davis, who has become very vocal on women's issues in recent years. President Obama is also a very strong supporter of CEDAW.
Justice O'Connor sent her remarks in an open letter to the Senate. In her letter, O'Connor stated "Ratification of CEDAW would enhance the authority of the United States to advocate on behalf of women's rights in countries, including both CEDAW parties and non-parties, that do not respect women's rights to the same extent that the United States does."
With all this support, ratification would seem automatic. However, there is a large backlash against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women treaty. Some of the arguments are that a few of the countries that have adopted it have taken the treaty so far to the extent in which it is harming women. The other reason that CEDAW probably won't be ratified is because of the gains of conservatives and Republicans in Congress. Senators opposed to abortion rights are more apt to vote against ratification.
Should we really expect any different a result? If the Senate couldn't even pass a Paycheck Fairness Act in 2010, an act only asking for equality in pay for U.S. workers, how could we possibly expect them to pass anything that would help give all women of the world equality in everything? The United States should be setting an example for other countries in the area of women's rights, not lagging behind.