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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, 2017 Catheryn Sproull
Jul 25, 2017 Micki Courtoreille
Jul 23, 2017 Cynthia Super
Jul 19, 2017 Fern Swecker
Jul 19, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 13, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 13, 2017 Richard Bosboom
Jul 10, 2017 Michelle Dumar
Jul 8, 2017 Leora Reeves
Jul 7, 2017 Sandra Zeigler
Jul 5, 2017 RICKY SLOAN
Jul 5, 2017 james devine
Jul 5, 2017 Patricia Allen
Jul 2, 2017 Susan Lindsey
Jun 30, 2017 Carla Rodrigues
Jun 27, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 27, 2017 VERÔNICA ARAUJO
Jun 23, 2017 Josiane Sasson
Jun 22, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 22, 2017 Ashley Rozanski
Jun 21, 2017 Kathy & Sutter
Jun 20, 2017 Stacy Wykle
Jun 13, 2017 Ingrid Brown
Jun 12, 2017 Léa Le Brizaut
Jun 10, 2017 Susan Farro
Jun 9, 2017 Beth Smith
Jun 9, 2017 James Deschene
Jun 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 4, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jun 2, 2017 Leslie Pfost
May 30, 2017 Susana Osorno
May 24, 2017 (Name not displayed) Technically, he's not president anymore, but whatever..
May 20, 2017 Shirley Troia
May 19, 2017 Lasha Wells
May 19, 2017 Anne Bekkers
May 17, 2017 Suzanne Salerno
May 17, 2017 Mary Salerno
May 17, 2017 betsy cousins-coleman
May 13, 2017 Lorri Goldman
May 6, 2017 Donna Frankel
May 4, 2017 Rebecca Shelton
May 4, 2017 Amina Jamal
May 4, 2017 Virginia Olson
May 4, 2017 Cecilia Tanaka
May 1, 2017 Karen Schortemeter
May 1, 2017 Sandra Ainsley
May 1, 2017 Alysa Waring
Apr 25, 2017 Stephen Moyer
Apr 25, 2017 Jane Spaeth
Apr 25, 2017 David Hopkins

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