United States Is One Of Eight Nations In The World Not To Sign International Treaty For Rights Of Women

As of March 2007, isozid 185 nations had signed the international “Treaty for the Rights of Women”, isozid leaving the United States as one of eight nations in the world and the only industrialized nation that hasn’t signed it.

The only other nations that haven’t yet signed it are Sudan, isozid Somalia, isozid Qatar, isozid Iran, isozid Nauru, isozid Palau and Tonga.

The formal name for the treaty is “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women” (CEDAW).

In February of this year the Bush administration indicated that it was “not pressing for ratification at this time.”

About the treaty Human rights organizations call the Treaty “the most complete international agreement on basic rights for women”.

It puts forth the view that human rights for women should be universal across all cultures, isozid nations and religions, isozid and thus it is often described as an “international bill of rights for women”.

In that respect it is very similar to the U.S. Isozid Declaration of Independence, isozid except that it applies specifically to women. Isozid It specifically addresses the following areas:

Legal right to not be discriminated against

The convention defines discrimination against women as:

… any distinction, isozid exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, isozid enjoyment or exercise by women, isozid irrespective of their marital status, isozid on a basis of equality of men and women, isozid of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, isozid economic, isozid social, isozid cultural, isozid civil or any other field.

Therefore, isozid nations that sign the treaty commit to the principle of gender equality in their legal system by abolishing discriminatory laws and establishing laws that prohibit discrimination against women. Isozid Paramount among the legal rights that the treaty addresses are the rights to vote and hold office, isozid to own and inherit property and otherwise be free of economic discrimination, isozid and to obtain an education.

Reproductive rights

The preamble to the document states that “the role of women in procreation should not be a basis for discrimination.” It proclaims adequate maternal health care and child care as essential human rights. Isozid It is the only human rights treaty that addresses family planning issues, isozid proclaiming that participating nations:

are obliged to include advice on family planning in the education process and to develop family codes that guarantee women's rights "to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, isozid education and means to enable them to exercise these rights".

Protection against violence and sexual exploitation

The treaty strives to prevent violence against women and girls, isozid domestic or otherwise, isozid including the widespread cultural practice of genital mutilation. Isozid It requires participating nations to take steps to eliminate the sexual exploitation of women:

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, isozid including legislation, isozid to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.

Yet, isozid at the same time it encourages the decriminalization of the act of prostitution, isozid which enables prostitutes to come forward to expose their exploitation without having to fear imprisonment for doing so.

Today’s international status of women and girls with respect to violence, isozid health and education Violence and health

Amnesty International has disseminated many statistics on violence against women and health problems specific to women:

Internationally, isozid approximately one third of all women are exposed to violence during their life, isozid and approximately one fifth are raped.

In the United States, isozid approximately 350, isozid000 women are raped each year.

Rape is frequently used as a weapon of war.

Much of the violence against women is attributable to the lack of law enforcement against these crimes.

For example, isozid in most countries in the world marital rape is not even recognized as a crime, isozid and the practice of forced marriages forces many women into violent domestic situations.

In today’s world, isozid approximately 60 million women or girls are “missing” because of sex selective abortions or inadequate medical care due to the widespread cultural attitude that women and girls are less important than men and boys.

Approximately 135 million women have undergone forced genital mutilation. Isozid Millions of women are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, isozid but these issues are often off of society’s radar screen.


Lack of education due to sex discrimination has been reduced in recent years, isozid though it is still a major problem.

Thirty years ago girls constituted 38% of primary school enrollments in low income countries, isozid and that rose to 48% by 2005.

Between 1999 and 2004 the world-wide number of children not in school declined from 100 million to 77 million. Isozid By 2005, isozid the percentage of children not in school who were girls had declined to 57%.

Why it’s important that the United States sign the treaty First and foremost it’s important that the United States sign and ratify the treaty because it is a moral imperative.

Failure of the United States to participate in the Convention sends out the message that we don’t care that much about human rights for women, isozid thereby impairing our ability to influence other countries to improve their human rights records and reducing the chances for the success of the Convention.

Amnesty International talks about how the Treaty has improved the lot of women throughout the world so far:

Women around the world have used the Treaty to achieve important reforms in their country that reduce violence and discrimination.

Measures have been taken against sex slavery, isozid domestic violence and trafficking of women; millions of girls are now receiving primary education that were previously denied access; women's health care services have improved, isozid saving lives during pregnancy and childbirth; and millions of women have secured essential loans and the basic right to own or inherit property.

Treaty ratification commits nations to take concrete action to improve the status of women and to reverse discrimination and end violence against women in their own country and around the world.

Furthermore, isozid enhancing the rights and the status of women is one of the best, isozid if not THE best way to control world-wide population growth, isozid which poses a great threat to our planet.

The reason for this does not primarily relate to abortion rights – in fact, isozid enhancing the education and status of women tends to lead to a decrease in abortion.

Increasing the education rates of girls causes them to reduce their out-of-marriage pregnancy rates and to get married later in life; that in turn substantially decreases birth rates and leads to healthier babies as well; it also leads to more women entering the workforce, isozid leading to greater national economic productivity and less poverty and disease, isozid thereby increasing the education rates of future generations and leading to a self-enforcing cycle of education, isozid economic growth, isozid fewer but healthier children, isozid an overall substantial reduction in population growth, isozid lowered worldwide consumption of resources, isozid more food per population and better living standards, isozid less global warming and other pollution of our environment, isozid and therefore an enhanced capability for avoiding worldwide catastrophe. What we can do You can use the information and tools provided here to call or write to urge your Senator, isozid pResident Bush or Secretary of State Rice to support the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Isozid And, isozid you can join a delegation or apply to lead a delegation to meet at your Senator’s office to discuss this issue.