Senate Revisits the ‘Women’s Treaty’

Senate Revisits the ‘Women’s Treaty’

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW, is getting its third shot at ratification after lying dormant in U.S. Senate subcommittees for the past 30 years. With the Obama administration's support and a Democratic majority in the Senate, the timing for what's known as the Women's Treaty could be right. But even in the best of circumstances, CEDAW will still be up against tough odds.

"It's well known world-wide there's a tremendous amount of obstructionism going on in the U.S., and today, regrettably, this convention is not at the top of the list in the Senate," said Sen. Arlen Specter at a hearing on CEDAW last week before the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law.

Concerns from the conservative base about subjecting the U.S. to an international review driven by the United Nations have placed CEDAW in limbo since 1979, when the U.N. General Assembly first adopted it. Since then, 186 out of 193 U.N. member states have ratified the treaty, leaving the U.S., Sudan, Somalia, Iran and three small Pacific Island nations -- Nauru, Palau and Tonga -- as the sole hold-outs. Despite the treaty's almost-universal adoption, however, none of the countries currently implementing it has "reached substantive gender equality," said CEDAW Committee Vice Chair Zou Xiaoqiau at a U.N. headquarters press conference last month.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.