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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


Sep 13, 2017 Ann Achuff
Sep 10, 2017 Roxanne Pranger
Sep 4, 2017 Richard Van Aken Long overdue.
Sep 4, 2017 Lisa Valiente
Sep 3, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Sep 2, 2017 Lisa Hammermeister
Aug 28, 2017 Thomas Windberg
Aug 23, 2017 nina jacob
Aug 21, 2017 Nalia Li
Aug 16, 2017 Paola Moretti
Aug 14, 2017 Agnes Hetzel
Aug 13, 2017 Sue Ellen Lupien
Aug 13, 2017 tammy bullock
Aug 13, 2017 Rilla Heslin
Aug 7, 2017 Ivan Zhyvolup
Aug 7, 2017 (Name not displayed) As a supposedly advanced nation we must protect civil rights at home and abroad.
Aug 6, 2017 Benny Rees
Aug 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 29, 2017 Brian Reynolds
Jul 28, 2017 Celia saunders SUPPORT DEDAW: human rights treaty affirming reproductive rights of women and identifies culture and tradition .
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

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