LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Ratify women’s rights treaty now

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Wendy Wright uses false claims and scare tactics to distort the purpose and benefits of the Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in her Thursday Op-Ed column, “Next stop on the Obama apology tour.”

CEDAW is a landmark international agreement for human rights and women’s equality, and ratification of CEDAW would strengthen the United States as a global leader standing up for women and girls. CEDAW seeks to end sex trafficking and violence against women, prohibit forced marriage and child marriage, expand girls’ access to education and help families by fighting maternal mortality. It has helped millions of women around the world. This is why more than 150 organizations around the country - from the Young Women’s Christian Association to Church Women United - have called upon the United States to ratify CEDAW.

The CEDAW committee Ms. Wright demonizes makes only nonbinding recommendations. While CEDAW provides a practical blueprint for women’s progress, it is up to policymakers and advocates in each ratifying country to work together to determine how best to end discrimination. Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that no treaty ever overrides the U.S. Constitution. Ms. Wright is wrong when she suggests otherwise.

The United States is one of just seven countries in the world that hasn’t ratified CEDAW. It’s in unlikely company: Iran, Sudan, Somalia and three small Pacific islands have also not ratified it. It’s time to continue America’s proud bipartisan tradition of promoting human rights by ratifying CEDAW now.


Director, CEDAW Education Project

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


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