Cities for CEDAW is a grassroots campaign launched at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2014 to gain support for the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) from US Mayors and secure 100 municipal CEDAW ordinances by January 2016.
The US is considered a leading nation in the world on many levels. However, a fundamental human right – equality for women – has not yet been established in law in the US. In 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted CEDAW, the “international women’s bill of rights.” In 1980, President Carter signed the treaty, but Congress has not enacted it as legislation, although 189 other countries have ratified the convention. The UN Member States which have not ratified CEDAW are the US, Sudan, Palau, Somalia, Iran and Tonga.
In 1998, San Francisco's strong women’s community organized a campaign that resulted in a CEDAW ordinance passed into city and county governance and the establishment of the Department on the Status of Women. A few years later, Los Angeles did the same. CEDAW has made measurable differences in public safety, budget allocations and employment in both cities.
Frustrated with the US Senate which has not ratified the most important global standard on women's rights, advocates for CEDAW created a campaign targeting US cities, to build grassroots support to get 100 mayors across the country to sign on to CEDAW and increase pressure on the US Senate to ratify it in January 2017.
Cities for CEDAW offers an opportunity to recall that while UN Women works in the developing world, the gender pay gap, violence against women, and equal representation in the political arena and on corporate boards are issues that women in the US also face. Passing CEDAW in US cities will help to end violence against women, close the wage gap, and release women’s full potential.
To learn more about how you can help bring CEDAW to your city, in the US and around the world, check out Cities for CEDAW. If you want to get involved in this effort, please contact FAWCO's UN Liaison Laurie Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.