Support Women’s Rights – Ratify CEDAW

John’s Gospel records the story of Jesus and a woman engaged in a long conversation at a well. Jesus recognized and honored her humanity as he did the humanity of all the women he encountered. Jesus consistently affirmed the dignity and worth of each person. Here is one way you can follow his example:

Participate in the campaign to call the United States Senate to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Presbyterian Women encourages Presbyterians to take part in this campaign, organized by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

What is CEDAW?

In 1979, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Commonly known as CEDAW, this treaty is often described as an international bill of rights. CEDAW defines what constitutes discrimination against women and creates an agenda for nations to act on behalf of women’s rights. CEDAW encompasses the major issues facing women worldwide, including human trafficking, education, employment, and economic and social agency.

In the United States, the treaty was signed by then-President Carter in 1980, but was never ratified by the United States, which would require a two-thirds majority vote of the senate. The only other UN member states that have not ratified CEDAW are Iran, Sudan, Somalia and three Pacific Island nations (Nauru, Palau and Tonga).

Why is it important for the United States to ratify CEDAW? Stories in the latest issue of Presbyterian Women’s Justice and Peace Links reveal how it would support women and girls around the world. Ratification of CEDAW would also support efforts to protect the rights of women in the United States.

Get Involved

  • Pray for justice for women around the world and for the specific issues facing women in your community.
  • Speak out! Order CEDAW advocacy postcards free from Presbyterian Distribution Service. Order them in packs of 10, sign them and send them individually or as a lot to CEDAW Project, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 1629 K Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20006. The Leadership Conference is collecting them and will deliver them to the Senate at strategic times. Postcards are preaddressed and come with information about CEDAW and instructions for using them.
  • Download more CEDAW advocacy tools.
  • Learn more about CEDWA and its results.
  • Learn why United States ratification of CEDAW matters.

General Assembly Guidance

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) first called for the ratification of CEDAW in 1987. This call has been affirmed several times since. Most recently, on a recommendation from the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC), the 219th General Assembly (2010) directed the Office of the Stated Clerk to send a letter to the president and Congress calling on the United States government to ratify, without reservations, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

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