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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


Jun 30, 2016 Robert Keiser
Jun 29, 2016 Rebekah Spencer
Jun 27, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jun 27, 2016 Karen Criner
Jun 25, 2016 Brett Dennison
Jun 25, 2016 Suzanne Jensen
Jun 23, 2016 Edward Lemieux Jr
Jun 23, 2016 Virginia Dempsey
Jun 23, 2016 Liz LaFour
Jun 22, 2016 JoAnn Evans
Jun 16, 2016 Tracy Schalk
Jun 12, 2016 Caroline Johnson
Jun 12, 2016 Sherry Horne Taylor
Jun 12, 2016 Michael Lisle
Jun 12, 2016 casey muhs
Jun 10, 2016 Martine Macmillan
Jun 8, 2016 Ilene carson
Jun 7, 2016 Carolyn Barker
Jun 6, 2016 Melodie Munro
Jun 3, 2016 Cristina Alexandre
Jun 3, 2016 Diana Avery
Jun 3, 2016 Susan Brittain
Jun 3, 2016 David Halsall
Jun 3, 2016 Sharon Kavanaugh
Jun 3, 2016 AniMae Chi
May 29, 2016 azza elsherbini
May 26, 2016 (Name not displayed) First of all, we commend you for being one of out Nations' best presidents! You have done so much for so many American's and across the word as well. We thank you for all your accomplishments for so many! You have assisted women everywhere.
May 24, 2016 Cynthia Ballard
May 22, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 18, 2016 Алексей Жезлов
May 15, 2016 Rachel Rakaczky
May 15, 2016 Paul McDermott
May 15, 2016 Denise Cronin
May 15, 2016 Nancy Anthoulakis
May 14, 2016 Dawn Mcbee
May 13, 2016 Linda Gazzola
May 13, 2016 Mary Louise Millner
May 13, 2016 Marsha Stanton
May 12, 2016 Gary Throckmorton I am tired of women being putting down and treated as property God made adam and eve to walk side by side not for men to rape them and kill them
May 12, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 12, 2016 lopamudra Mohanty
May 11, 2016 Melinda Funk
May 11, 2016 Joan Christensen
May 8, 2016 Yvonne Barker
May 8, 2016 Mary Wylie
May 6, 2016 Dat Tran
May 6, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 5, 2016 Eddah Tole
May 5, 2016 Donna Enders
May 4, 2016 Rosemary Murray

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