The Nation

Time for U.S. Senate to Act on U.N. Women's Treaty

Friday, December 18, 2009

The United Nations' global treaty on women's rights--the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women--turns 30 today and the U.S. still hasn't ratified it. Linda Tarr-Whelan says the U.S. must get its house in order.

Page 2 of 2

Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.

Bookmark and Share

30 Percent Tipping Point

CEDAW quiltRatifying CEDAW would take 67 votes in the U.S. Senate.

Our path would be much easier if our Senate, like those of 23 other countries including Rwanda, Argentina, Angola, Costa Rica and much of Europe, had 30 percent women.

The 30 percent figure is the tipping point, where women's ideas, values and priorities are heard and heeded.

My book, "Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World," details how 101 countries have embraced this model, why it works and how we can get there.

We can't wait for balanced leadership in the U.S. Senate. CEDAW must be ratified without delay or political games.

President Obama should lead the way to create the day he portrayed when he spoke of a 'new beginning' at Cairo University on June 4. He said, "I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons. Our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity--men as well as women--to meet their full potential."

Let's show we mean what we say. The clock is ticking.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously said, "Human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights."

The women of the world are watching and waiting. We must honor them and act now.

Linda Tarr-Whelan is the author of "Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World" and a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow. She served as ambassador to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in the Clinton administration and as deputy assistant for women's concerns to President Jimmy Carter. Her Web site is

For more information:


1 COMMENTS | Login or Sign Up to post comments


International Policy/United Nations

U.N. to Japan, Switzerland: Improve Rights Record

Cheers and Jeers

U.N. Tackles Universal Problem for Women: Divorce

International Policy/United Nations

U.N. Women's Treaty Molds San Francisco Government

Thank you to Linda Tarr-Whelan and Women's eNews for pointing out this disgraceful anniversary.

You wouldn't think that approving a treaty to end discrimination against women would be so hard for the US House and Senate to pass.

Ukraine, Nepal, and Thailand have approved it and are using it to reduce sex-trafficking--good news!

The US refuses equality to women, along with Sudan, Iran, Somalia--not news at all.

So CEDAW was Eleanor Roosevelt's dream, as well as Linda's when she worked for the Carter administration.

Here's what Langston Hughes said about a dream deferred:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?