Feminists Campaign for Cities to Pass UN Treaty
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17 (C-Fam) Earlier this month the state of Hawaii received an award from the National Association of Commissions for Women for being the first state in the union to “pass CEDAW in all counties.”
CEDAW is the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a UN treaty that has been ratified by almost all the governments of the world except for a few including the United States, and the Holy See.
Many nations that explicitly discriminate against women, Saudi Arabia, for instance, have ratified the treaty which goes to show that such conventions are often no more than suggestions and often public relations efforts to mollify the feminists.
Because the U.S. has not ratified the treaty, though it was signed just before President Jimmy Carter left office in 1980, women’s groups have campaigned to have it implemented by cities and counties around the country. They have been marginally successful.
So far, only 71 counties or municipalities have passed ordinances or resolutions in favor of CEDAW. California is the only state that has done so. Entities in California and Colorado make up nearly half of the total number that have done anything on CEDAW.
CEDAW had been controversial since it was first negotiated by UN member states. The treaty includes an expansive definition of discrimination:
“Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”
This passage has been interpreted to include absolute equality between men and women in legislative bodies and even on corporate boards. The treaty calls for the elimination of any sex-related stereotypes and calls for the change in school textbooks. This could mean that any presentation of women as wives and mothers would be a violation of the treaty.
The hard-law treaty became even more controversial through the years as the body of experts charged with monitoring the treaty’s implementation has interpreted the agreement as mandating a right to abortion. This even though the treaty does not mention abortion and or even the phrase “reproductive health.”
Over the years, the same committee has made some comical announcements, too, including that Mother’s Day is a violation of the treaty because it establishes a negative cultural stereotype.
The treaty has twice been voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but has never been voted on by the full Senate, even when controlled by Democrats, because proponents know they have little chance of getting the required 67 votes to make it law. Social conservatives have led the fight against the treaty, pointing out its contradictions with U.S. jurisprudence and the increasingly outlandish pronouncements of the treaty monitoring body.
And so, proponents are left with going from city to city, county to county asking elected officials to pass either ordinances or non-binding resolution in support of the treaty. They have now been at it for almost 40 years.