Earlier this week, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law held a “Hearing on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for the Advancement of Women describes here the intended impact of CEDAW on parties to the treaty:
By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
- to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
- to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
- to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
Below, is a clip of the testimony by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer.
The United States — along with Iran, Sudan and Somalia — has not ratified CEDAW. Justice O’Connor has urged the Senate to do so (see here). But some feminists, including my friend and colleague Darren Rosenblum, argue against the treaty’s ratification. See Darren Rosenblum, Unsex CEDAW: What’s Wrong with Women’s Rights (forthcoming, Columbia J. of Gender & Law) (abstract available here). He argues that, “CEDAW’s focus on women enshrines an understanding of sex as a binary of men/women and a consequent presumption of their relationship as perpetrator/victim.”