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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


Mar 24, 2017 Katherine Oyarzun
Mar 24, 2017 Bożena Staniszewska
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
Feb 24, 2017 Jacqueline Scully-Clark
Feb 24, 2017 Charles Muehlhof
Feb 22, 2017 Iryna Andreychuk
Feb 22, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 18, 2017 Courtney Kovacs
Feb 15, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 13, 2017 Terry Parker
Feb 12, 2017 sharon belson
Feb 10, 2017 Stacey Govito
Feb 10, 2017 Sheila Wentzel
Feb 10, 2017 Janet Coleman
Feb 9, 2017 Noelle Walsh
Feb 8, 2017 Rosina Cespedes
Feb 6, 2017 Linda Anderson
Feb 3, 2017 Michael Howley
Feb 1, 2017 sue line
Feb 1, 2017 Amanda Dickinson
Jan 31, 2017 OLGA COTTO
Jan 30, 2017 Thao Vu
Jan 30, 2017 Chris Barrand
Jan 29, 2017 Joanne Montgomery

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