Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Women's Equality Day, CEDAW, and Facebook

Women's Equality Day is August 26 in the United States.  It was instituted in 1971 by Bella Abzug.  It commemorates the passage of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution that grants the right to vote to women.  We also use this day to commemorate other achievements and efforts to achieve equality for women.  Like the passage of Title IX that helps insure equitable access to education for girls or the inclusion of gender in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which was reconfirmed with the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  It is a day to honor women's rights.

We believe that women’s rights are human rights.  What better way to honor that history than to urge the United States Senate to ratify CEDAW -- the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.  CEDAW is the most comprehensive international agreement on the basic human rights of women and girls.

Ratifying CEDAW would lend weight to the treaty and the principle that human rights of women are universal across all cultures, nations and religions and worthy of being guaranteed through international human rights standards.  Until the U.S. ratifies CEDAW, it can neither credibly demand that others live up to their obligations under the treaty, nor that it is a leader in the global human rights community.

CEDAW has been ratified by 185 countries, including all industrialized nations, with the exception of the United States. While progress has been made in advancing women’s rights in recent decades, women continue to suffer disproportionately from poverty, sexual and domestic violence and lack of access to basic health care and equal education. In countries where CEDAW has been ratified, it has made significant improvement to the status of women. U.S. ratification of CEDAW would lend weight to the treaty and solidify our status as a leader in the global human rights committee.

So in honor of Women's Equality Day, the Pennsylvania NOW Education Fund has created an online Facebook petition urging the US Senate to ratify CEDAW without restrictions or reservations.

If you have a Facebook account, you can sign the petition (and add your “Cause” supporting this action). This petition drive ends on August 26, 2010—Women’s Equality Day. The signatures will be sent to the National NOW Action Center to be added to the signatures they are delivering to the US Senate and to President Obama.

So take a moment, sign the petition, and spread the word in honor of Women's Equality Day!

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