Fact Sheets

CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world.

CEDAW strengthens the United States as a global leader in standing up for women and girls in countries around the world.

CEDAW Works: Invest in Women, It Pays

Ratifying the CEDAW treaty would continue America’s proud bipartisan tradition of promoting and protecting human rights.

This international treaty offers countries a practical blueprint to achieve progress for women and girls by calling on each ratifying country to overcome barriers of discrimination in a range of areas, such as:

  • Violence against women and girls, to reduce sex trafficking and domestic violence and to recognize sexual assault and rape as crimes – e.g., Nepal and Mexico.
  • Educational opportunities, for access to primary education and all vocational opportunities – e.g., Bangladesh.
  • Political participation, including the right to vote, serve on juries and to hold political office – e.g., Kuwait.
  • Marriage and family relations, bringing an end to forced marriages and ensuring that women have a right to inherit property – e.g., Morocco and Kenya. 
  • Maternal Health care services, providing access to basic health care including contraceptive services so women and families can lead healthier lives.
  • Economic participation, such as the ability to work and own a business without discrimination.
    The United States is one of only seven countries, including Iran, Sudan, Somalia, and three small Pacific island countries (Nauru, Palau and Tonga), that have not yet ratified CEDAW.  U.S. ratification of the treaty does not require any additional costs or new appropriations.


For more information, contact June Zeitlin, Director of the CEDAW Education Project for the CEDAW Task Force at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at 202-263-2852 or zeitlin@civilrights.org. For more information, visit: www.CEDAW2010.org. August 2010.

Created by the CEDAW Task Force of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The National Women’s Law Center co-chairs the CEDAW Task Force Legal Committee.

Published On: August 24, 2010
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