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Support for International Women’s Rights Treaty from Ambassador to the U.N.

Selene Kaye,
Director, Liberty Division,
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December 18, 2009

Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, issued a terrific statement today on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

CEDAW is the international human rights treaty dedicated to gender equality and was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 1979. Since then, 186 countries have ratified the treaty; the United States is one of only seven countries that have not.

In her statement, Ambassador Rice held CEDAW up as a “landmark treaty” and called it an

instrumental tool in the ongoing struggle for women’s rights, offering an important blueprint for action to assure basic human rights and equality for half of the world’s population.

She noted the specific progress that women and girls around the world have made as a result of CEDAW:

More girls are enrolling in school, and women are participating in government and industry in higher numbers and at higher levels than ever before…. CEDAW has assisted in boosting women’s access to land ownership, strengthened their inheritance rights, and increased access to justice within court systems.

Ambassador Rice also highlighted the persistence of inequality and discrimination, saying, “We must close remaining gender gaps, both at home and abroad.” She expressed the Obama Administration’s commitment to U.S. ratification of the treaty:

The battle to eliminate discrimination and enshrine women’s equal rights is not yet won. The U.S. will not rest until, with others, we make this shared goal a reality.

The treaty needs visible leadership and support from the President to gain Senate ratification. We hope that this strong declaration from Ambassador Rice will mean swift action from the Administration.

Add your voice! Join advocates from around the country who are calling on the President today to take action on CEDAW.

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