WHAT IS CEDAW?
CEDAW is short for the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and provides a universal standard for women’s human rights. It addresses discrimination in areas such as education, employment, marriage and family relations, health care, politics, finance and law.
WHY IS CEDAW IMPORTANT?
From the AAUW website, the Treaty for the Rights of Women addresses basic human rights of women and can be a useful tool to:
• Reduce violence against women
• Ensure access to education and health care
• Provide legal recourse against violations of women’s human rights
Importantly, 185 nations have ratified this treaty as of March 1, 2007. Eight countries in the world have not signed on: United States, Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga. U.S. failure to ratify the Treaty undermines the powerful principle that human rights of women are universal across all cultures, nations, and religions, and worthy of being guaranteed through international human rights standards.
HOW DOES CEDAW WORK?
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world. According to the UN website, countries who have signed on to the treaty must submit reports on how the rights of the convention are being implemented. The Committee formulates general recommendations and suggestions.