Thirty years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This landmark treaty affirms that women are entitled to all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It has been called “an international bill of rights” for women.
Before the UN General Assembly adopted the treaty in 1979, no other document comprehensively provided protection for the rights of women, much less within the context of political, social, economic, cultural, and family life. CEDAW has undeniably been an important tool in facilitating those rights around the world.
The thirty years since CEDAW have seen some progress in the elimination of gender discrimination. Still, gender equality does not yet exist in any country, and there is much work to be done to eliminate gender discrimination throughout the world. Secretary Clinton has made advancing women’s equal rights a central part of U.S. foreign policy.
President Obama’s Administration views CEDAW as a powerful tool for making gender equality a reality. We are committed to U.S. ratification of the Convention and look forward to joining the countries that have adopted it as a central part of their efforts to ensure that human rights are enjoyed fully and equally by all people.