CEDAW FORUM: The Unfinished Business of Ratification

My guest post today is about a very important topic I intended to write about–but my colleague Linda Tarr-Whelan has already said it all better in a post she wrote for the National Council for Research on Women’s “The Real Deal” blog. It’s embarrassing as well as just plain wrong that the U.S. is one of just seven nations that never signed onto the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Want to know the six other nations? They are Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, and Tonga –overall not very good company!

This week has been declared a Week of Action by a coalition of U.S. organizations working to get our country to enter 21st century and sign CEDAW. So to the U.S. Congress: Sign already!

By Linda Tarr-Whelan*

NCRW asked leading research and policy expert Linda Tarr-Whelan to weigh in on the status of CEDAW. In addition to her responses, below is an excerpt from a previously published commentary from Linda featured on Women’s eNews and The Huffington Post.

On Dec. 18, 1979, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, making it a watershed day for women around the globe.

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In those heady days, I was deputy assistant to President Jimmy Carter for women’s concerns. We expected speedy action after he sent the treaty to the Senate.

That isn’t what happened.

CEDAW–the only international instrument that comprehensively addresses women’s rights within political, civil, cultural, economic and social life–is still unfinished business here in the United States, but not in the rest of the world.

To read the entire commentary, click here or here.

LINDA BASCH: Why is it imperative that the US ratify CEDAW? What advances in understanding the status of women would result from ratification?

LINDA TARR-WHELAN: It is time for the US Senate to stand up and be counted for women here and around the world by ratifying CEDAW. It would provide international benchmarks for a national dialogue and Linda Tarr-Whelan action to close persistent gaps in women’s equality. This country has made great progress and we must be international leaders for equality and justice for women and girls around the globe – and here at home. The numbers tell the story of persistent problems that remain – a major leadership gap of women at power tables in government and business, shocking figures in maternal health where we are 41st in the world (our infant mortality rates are also high), economic insecurity with women still averaging only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes with Hispanic and African-American women making considerably less, and violence against women by domestic partners impacting two million women a year with rape, sexual harassment and trafficking bringing violence to the doors of even more.

Under CEDAW no one mandates solutions. It is, however, an effective tool for an assessment of progress to put the spotlight on unsolved issues. Because virtually all of the rest of the countries in the world have ratified this treaty we know that models exist for tackling issues here as well. When CEDAW is ratified we affirm the principles of international human rights and equality for women and girls and have a practical blueprint to promote opportunity and protect rights in our own country. As Dorothy Height, the former head of the National Council of Negro Women and advisor to American Presidents said in her last public remarks, “Ratifying CEDAW remains among the unfinished business of the Civil Rights movement.” She was right.

CEDAW and other human rights treaties have always enjoyed bi-partisan support in the United States. Ratification requires 67 votes in the Senate – a sizeable challenge but one we can overcome in 2010. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have made this a priority. Thirty years is a long enough track record for the US to see the many benefits of ratifying CEDAW. Women here and around the globe are waiting. Action is needed now.

LINDA BASCH: What specific steps can ordinary citizens take to facilitate CEDAW’s ratification?

LINDA TARR-WHELAN: There is a lot each citizen can do to help see that CEDAW is ratified. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Sign up at www.cedaw2010.org to get all of the latest information.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper to say why you personally feel that it is imperative for the US to join the rest of the world on speaking up for the equality of women and girls. It is a shame to turn our backs on international cooperation and stand with the only other outliers – Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Nauru, Palau and Tonga – instead of being a global leader.
  • Write your Senators to ask them to vote for women this year and ratify CEDAW. Be sure to add a personal story if you can about why this matters.
  • Write President Obama and ask for quick action in 2010. Thirty years is long enough to wait for the United States to stand up and be counted.
  • Check the list of organizations which are supporting CEDAWand if your group is not listed start the process of joining this comprehensive campaign. If your organization is there but you haven’t heard anything lately, contact your leadership and ask for action.
  • If you are a student, schedule a program or event on campus and online to spread the word.

If each of us reaches out we can accomplish our goal of ratifying CEDAW in 2010. Women’s equality is critical to the well-being of families, communities and the economy. Working together as women and men who stand up for human rights will make the difference.

*Linda Tarr-Whelan is a former Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, former Deputy Assistant for Women’s Concerns to President Carter and a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow


  1. Aletha on July 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Founder and current president of the Global Justice Center Janet Benshoof wrote an article, Twisted Treaty Shafts U.S. Women , for On the Issues last year, saying the version of CEDAW pending in the Senate at the time “has been gutted to the core by some eleven reservations,” making it “worthless.” Unless the issues that concern her have been corrected, I would have to agree. I had my say about this evisceration of CEDAW on my blog.

  2. Gloria Feldt on July 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for this important addition to the story, Aletha. I believe that those exceptions were added during the Bush 2 administration when the Congress was majority Republican. Some of the women’s groups had the misbegotten notion that they could get it passed at the time. Well of course they couldn’t. It’s time to start over.

  3. Man with a spine on July 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Feminism is about legislating for unattractive women what attractive women can get without legislation!

    Feminists HATE beautiful women!

    Beautiful women don’t need feminism!

    Feminism is about freedom for women from responsibility from their choices and actions.

    When will feminists fight for their share of the 95% job related deaths that happen to men? Or the 94% of serious job related injuries that happen to men? http://WWW.BLS.GOV Or for their right to be drafted, if only for support roles, to actually contribute their fair share to the freedom of this country. Rather they check the “EXEMPT” box of the College financial aid forms regarding whether they are required to sacrifice for freedom as men are REQUIRED to, I.E. at police gun point.

    Equality? ? ? What a joke! More lies from lying liars like Gloria! You want everything your twats can get you, even if no one wants access to them because they are attached to disgusting dogs like Gloria Feldt, Andrea Dworkin, Gloria Steinem, Gloria Allred or any of the 5 million other feminists named Gloria!

    Gloria, do you exhibit that violent smile because it plugs your nose?

    Gloria, go shave your legs and your pits, oh and take a bath while you’re at it! You stink!

  4. Aletha on July 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Man with a spine has no mind of his own, spouting the same old men’s rights propaganda as he shows off his ignorance and hatred of women. Sometimes I thank such men on my blog for helping me make my case.

  5. Man with a spine on July 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Aletha, you are the one without a mind. To flat earthers like you “the round earth” is “the same old” blah blah blah propaganda. You have no mind of your own because you obviously are unable refute anything that I stated. You don’t offer anything of substance. You are like the mindless minnions you cohort with. Nothing of substance, nothing logical, no critical thinking just critical attack! You simply regurgitate propagandist one liners and are without the cognitive acumen (does that word offend you, it had “men” in it?) to engage in a meaningful debate of the issues!

    Aletha you confuse disdain for biggoted sexist pigs like Gloria for hatred of women. What does Gloria and women have to do with each other anyways? As different as fish and bicycles, who are marrying each other now BTW. Do you identify with Gloria, is this why you chose to be offended?

    Aletha, I could get a lobotomy and still kick your intellectual inability up and down the hemisphere!

  6. Aletha on July 31, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Man with a spine, you appear unable to discern the difference between inability to refute nonsense and lack of interest. It would be too easy and serve no useful purpose, so I prefer not to waste my time. You may not realize how hackneyed and off base your rhetoric is, but trust me, you are just making a fool of yourself spouting off your baseless hot air.

    Someone with an argument, as opposed to a troll looking to stir up trouble, does not post identical comments on different blog entries. That screed may be your stock in trade, but really, that is one quick way to destroy any credibility you might think you deserve.

  7. Man with a spine on July 31, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Aletha, Blah blah blah! Same old lame excuses for your inability to debate an issue! Typical liberal with severe cranial rectal impaction. You will blather on and on about how you won’t waste your time when you could have addressed the issues in less time.

    You liberals are full of rhetoric but no substance!

    You call someone a troll when you are incapable of putting forth anything of substance!

    Your definition of troll: anyone winning an argument with you!

    You said claimed that what I said “When will feminists fight for their share of the 95% job related deaths that happen to men? Or the 94% of serious job related injuries that happen to men? http://WWW.BLS.GOV Or for their right to be drafted, if only for support roles, to actually contribute their fair share to the freedom of this country. Rather they check the “EXEMPT” box of the College financial aid forms regarding whether they are required to sacrifice for freedom as men are REQUIRED to, I.E. at police gun point.”
    was the “same old men’s rights propaganda”. You havn’t addressed the argument and you likely have never heard these FACTS before. You are just another feminazibot who can’t argue out of a wet paper bag.

    You obviously HATE men if you think that the oppression men suffer under the system that you benefit from, far more than men do, is the “same old men’s rights propaganda”!

    You are infinitely worse than any chauvinist man of long ago because you, and the rest of your feminazi ilk, claim to know what oppresion and descrimination is. Yet you perpetrate it, and prosper in it, with impugnity!

    You define hypocrisy!

    If anyone is a troll, it is you! You likely look like one as well, being a feminist!

    You said “Someone with an argument, as opposed to a troll looking to stir up trouble, does not post identical comments on different blog entries. That screed may be your stock in trade, but really, that is one quick way to destroy any credibility you might think you deserve.”

    More proof of your neurotic disorder to control others. Who said you make the rules about blog conduct? I didn’t agree to your neurotic control freak rulership? Typical feminist who thinks you are everyone’s mother!

    If I hate women like you said, why have I been married to a beautiful, by the standard of everyone my wife and I know (life is too short for ugly women), woman for over a dozen years?

    Anyone who associates with Gloria Feldt is a sexist pig, i’ve never heard of a good nazi. Gloria hates men and any woman who is attractive and not ignorant enough to believe in feminist getevenism propaganda like you and your troll friends!

  8. Gloria Feldt on July 31, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    MWS-Please note my policy re posts.Your last one crosses the line and I would take it down but for the educational value of it for people who want to see how a warped misogynist thinks.

    However, one more that throws around accusations of Nazism or the kind of hatred you are spewing here and you’re out forever.

  9. Man with a spine on August 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm


    Can you answer my questions? Or do you pick and choose which of the very few comments that are on your site that you will respond to?

    Do you disagree with the http://www.bls.gov stat that asserts 95% of job related fatalities happen to men? Or is that just the rantings of “a warped misogynist?”

    Don’t you have a problem with that “warped” situation of men being relegated to deadly jobs regarding the “equal pay” debate? I doubt you care at all, as you are a misandrist.

    After witnessing your behavior on TV Gloria I think it is extremely hypocritical of you to call me “a warped misogynist”! By your comments it could easily be interpretted that you are a raging misandrist! I am married. I have a BA in Sociology. I have donated time as a contractor to womens’ halfway houses, you know female criminals on parole. I have built 2, yes 2, albeit very small, houses for widows with children, for FREE! I help many women, known and unknown to me, on a very regular basis. Can you say the same about your philonthropic activities for men ? I seriously doubt it! Women rarely do anything for men except relieve them of their money in one way or another. Which I am certain you have been doing most of your life and will return to when the time comes.

    I can prove to any reasonable person that I am not a “hater”, of anyone including women, as you libs like to pigeon hole everyone you disagree with as. What can you point to in your life to show you don’t hate men or attractive women? The words from your own mouth convict you. One thing I admit to being a hater of, LIES! Oh, and any philosophy or group that promotes lies in a destructive and abusive way, I.E. feminism/feminists,liberalism/liberals(current social functional definition), communists, fascists, totalitarians, elitists, megalomaniacs, terrorists, etc.

    Another definition of feminism: “to ensure the further role of men as wallets with legs for women.”

    Does your “policy” regarding posts apply to your conduct in the media or are they just rules YOU enforce on OTHERS? Your interview with Laura Ingraham, an intelligent and skilled woman whom I admire greatly (so much for your misogyny charge against me), and many other similar interviews, showed the world that you are without basic courtesy and are a misogynist yourself, at least to women you disagree with.

    Is your definition of misogynist: “any man you disagree with” ?

    I can substantiate every view I express with empirical unbiased data, something you feminists never bother with, why let the facts get in the way, right?

    I think you would engage in predictable liberal censorship if you could do so without deleting the entire conversation of all parties, which you can’t without it being obvious that you did so.

    The rhetoric of you feminists wouldn’t stand as much chance as a fart in a windstorm against me or anyone with even a weak grasp of logic.

    Curious though, why do you leave the shoes and jewelry ad up ? It is obvious commercial spam.

  10. Aletha on August 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Psst, man with a spine, Gloria and I have both been in good relationships, with men who do not think remotely like you. Get a clue, troll. Us veterans of internet wars know to observe a rule regarding people like you. Do not feed the trolls. Why should we take your bait? Throwing mud like those gratuitous insults in your first comment showed right off the bat you have no argument. If you did, why bother with that kind of trash talk? Is that your idea of logic, or a well-reasoned argument? Pathetic!

    I will answer one point, not that you deserve it. I happen to think there are far too many injuries on the job, because the way the economic value system is set up, it is profitable for industry to cut corners that jeopardize workers, not to mention consumers and the environment. Look at the oil spill, for one example. The solution to that is not to put more women into hazardous jobs, but to make cutting those corners extremely unprofitable, or criminal.

  11. Gloria Feldt on August 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Man with a spine, your last two comments took you way over the line. Thus I removed your latest attack on Aletha and will remove any further comments from you unless they are sincere apologies.

    Unfortunately your “spine” does not extent to your registering with my site or using your real name (which I personally do everywhere I comment) or e-mail address. Thus I must communicate with you here.

    Be advised that I do retain copies of comments such as yours for security reasons even when I remove them from the blog.

  12. Man with a spine on August 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm


    Truth is immutable and I let my arguments stand on their own merit.

    I bet I do, and have done, more for women, and women’s causes than you, or Gloria, ever have, except of course for YOUR cause, which is you. Much less what you have done for men. But is it too much to expect you to do anything positive for the segment of society that you loath and detest.

    Your pathetic attempts to undermine truth by insults is are typical liberal tactics of deny, obfuscate, sidestepping are all too obvious.

    Of course you don’t have anything to do with men like me, I have conviction for what is truth and for what is right. You, and Gloria, would not be able to tolerate any men in your life that insist on truth and that refuse to allow you to dominate them! You’re liberal American women, water is wet, of course you wouldn’t have anything to do with men with spines! You prefer your men as invertibrates!

    You “have been in” relationships with men? Do we assume that you are not NOW in one? Why not?

    I AM in a good relationship and have been for more than a decade! I remain uncastrated because I would never marry a woman with a selfish attitude like you feminists! And yes she is American, born and raised! Knowing how sensitive you feminists are when men go outside your carefully propagandized and brainwashed U.S. market and find wives outside the U.S. who actually know what being a wife is.


    You are rebel “liberated” women who want no responsibility and all the priviledges your gender can garnish at the expense of men. Your lame response to the beyond believe inequality between men and women regarding men being expected to sacrifice their lives for women’s continued personal enjoyment of their standard of living built on the backs and coffins of men is putrid!

    None of those oil workers that died were women. Why not? Those oil workers make VERY good money. Why don’t women swarm to those jobs, being equal to men and all as you feminists claim?

    You make lame excuses that expose your selfish irresponsibilty. There will always be jobs that are dangerous and women will demand the same pay as those jobs while remaining safe. This is the problem. You feminists want your cake and to eat it and have the man’s for seconds, right after you spend his paycheck earned risking his life for your female right to remain safe and gripe you aren’t rewarded like men are when you do far less!

    Men do those jobs because women expect men to “PROVIDE” for them. You may not like this FACT but the truth still remains.

    According to your irrational logic businesses will stop allowing men to be endangered if they are penalized financially for it? By this flawed logic businesses would hire as many women as possible because they can be paid less, according to feminist propagandists, than their male counterpart. So why do businesses hire any men when there are still women applying for jobs? If businesses are forced to pay women more, incl all those exclusive female benefits, than they make now they won’t hire women at all, according to your logic!

    Your comment further proves my point that you, so called, women take NO responsibility for your choices and actions. According to the Beareau of Labor Statistics, http://www.BLS.gov, the primary jobs that those fatalities occur in are construction and trucking. Do you actually think that there will be less accidents resulting in deaths if we take the profit out of these EXTREMELY regulated industries? As a private safety consultant who deals with these industries daily I can tell you the safety issues can’t be any further regulated, reasonably, unless we just close them down.

    What about the other issues you left out? Don’t you have a conscience? Don’t you feel even a little bit guilty that men are required to fight and die for your freedom and you spend your free time attacking men because you feel oppressed by these men who make so many sacrifices so you can excercise your right to attack them ? Didn’t you go to college? How did you feel about checking the “EXEMPT”, because you are a girl, box?

    Cat got your tongue? The crickets are chirping here!

    Your silence is deafening!

    So do you consider yourself a “veteran” because you go to “war” on the “internet”?

    I am a veteran of the US NAVY, honorably discharged. I volunteered, did you?

    You “veteran” of the internet who knows the “rules” about not feeding those you disagree with, those you refer to as trolls, then why did you respond to me in the first place? Being so hardened in your veteran status and all. Because you, as a liberal/feminist, have no rules or standards you live by. You just make them up as you go.

    The real reason you like to pigeon hole those you disagree with as trolls is because when the truth about you liberals is spoken it is so outlandish and extreme it sounds like it is being made up as an insult. But really it is likely all an extreme understatement. You people are deranged and insane! You should read a book by world famous psychiatrist Dr. Lyle Rossiter, “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.” He gives proof why liberals are clinically insane, not that you would, in your insanity, be able to comprehend it. Maybe you could dose up on lithium first, that might help.

    Aletha you are clueless, and furthermore you are too ignorant to know you are ignorant and you flaunt your ignorance with belligerence!

    To Gloria, what makes you think it would really matter if I registered on your site? If I wanted to remain anonymous that would be also. What is the point? I am one of millions of men and women fed up with radical feminisms’ destruction of the lives of primarily women, that is all that matters. I don’t seek acclaim for myself as you seem to with all your extremist attacks on people you disagree with. BTW, why don’t you hold women accountable, oh yeah feminisms’ #1 directive: free women from all accountability for their choices and actions. In othere words, it is ALWAYS the fault of a man.

  13. Gloria Feldt on August 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    MWS, I have banned you from this site. I hope you recover from your hatred one of these days.

  14. Aletha on August 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Typical troll, twisting the few simple points I made so far around, his interpretation bears no resemblance to what I said. There is no point in arguing with trolls, especially since they are so predictable, disrespectful of both their opponents and the meanings of words, and refuse to believe anything one says to counter their “arguments.” Of course any man involved with a feminist must have no spine, huh? He walked right into that trap. The same old tired false dichotomy, the man must dominate or be dominated. That may be standard dittohead logic, which may fit the limitations of his understanding, but bears no resemblance to reality.

    For the record, I do not even identify as liberal, whatever that means these days. I am a feminist revolutionary political philosopher who does not believe anyone since at least World War II died for my freedom. Those wars have been waged to protect corporate interests, not my freedom. He makes it sound like the draft did not end with the Vietnam War. No US citizen has been required to join the army to fight in any of the subsequent wars; the armed forces are all volunteer. If the draft is reinstated, women probably will not be exempt. There is precedent for that; in Israel, women are not excused from military service.

    I did battle with another troll at the Ms. Magazine blog, on an entry about Male Studies. He was more clever. Perhaps this troll should peruse that battle. He might learn something.

  15. Helena on August 16, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Aletha, if you have a rule about not “feeding the troll”, then why did you respond in the first place?

    It seems that if this “troll” is so ignorant you could have at least adressed his comments rather than claim you won this battle somewhere else and tell him to go find it somewhere on the net, seems weak on your part.

    I really would like to know what your answer to being excluded from the registration for the draft is? Also how do you feel about checking the “exempt” box, because you are female, on the college financial aid form requirement regarding if you are registered for the draft?

    It really is unfair for you to claim that the primarily men who died for your freedom didn’t because you choose to believe they didn’t, seems very selfish. Are you saying that those who volunteer for the military to “do their duty” are really hiring on to fight for the interests of the corporations and not selfless volunteers believing they are fighting for freedom?

    You refer to yourself as ” feminist revolutionary political philosopher “? Are you insecure much?

    BTW, the whole female soldier in the Israeli military ruse was a miserable failure. They don’t serve in combat roles if avoidable, certainly not standard, and women are required to serve much lighter/easier/shorter terms. It really is a grapes to watermelon comparison. Been there, seen it.

    If draft isn’t relevant then you wouldn’t have a problem with being required to register for one, would you? The men in our society don’t have a choice.

  16. Aletha on August 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Helena, you must not know much about trolls. There is no point in debating them, because they just escalate the insults. This is not productive, and I have to ration my free time. I never claimed to win my battle with the other troll; there is no winning such battles. I exposed him as a troll, which was not as easy as this one here, since that other one was at first much more careful to present what appeared to be a reasonable argument. This one here just wanted to sling mud. I made a point of the other troll because this one was so insistent I had never heard his arguments, and because I think this one could learn something about being a more clever troll from the other one.

    Why do you think I am insecure?

    I object to registration for the draft on principle, regardless of sex. I doubt any of the volunteers realize what they are fighting for. This empire does its best to cloak that, and young minds may be fooled. My objection to that is selfish? How is it selfish to object to gullible young people dying for no good reason?

  17. Aletha on August 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    By the way, the entry on the Ms. Magazine blog I referenced is very easy to find. Searching the blog for Male Studies brings it right up.

  18. […] Rights Amendment, let alone the UN Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and that’s why it’s critical that we keep our hand to the plow until the ERA is […]

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