Now is the time for the United States to show leadership in advancing women and girls’ rights around the world. One powerful way to demonstrate our commitment is to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
CEDAW offers countries a practical blueprint to achieve progress for women and girls by calling on each ratifying country to overcome barriers to discrimination. As men and women who believe in the basic rights of women and girls worldwide—the right to live free from violence, the ability to go to school, and access to the political system—we must send a strong and urgent signal to the U.S. government that ratification of CEDAW is imperative.
We are at a critical moment for CEDAW ratification, but the window of opportunity is closing, and fast. We cannot allow the United States to continue to be one of only seven countries (including Iran, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Palau, and Tonga) in the world that has not ratified CEDAW.
We know that CEDAW works. Several countries, including Australia, Brazil, Morocco, South Africa, and Uganda, have incorporated provisions in the CEDAW treaty into their constitutions and domestic legal codes. Additionally, Egypt, Jordan, Nicaragua, and Pakistan have all seen significant increases in literacy rates after ratifying CEDAW and improving access to education for girls and women.