CEDAW. Any idea what it stands for? No…..? Shame on you! Honestly. It is the most important (besides the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of course) Treaty on Human Rights for Women.
CEDAW is the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women and it outlines standards for ratifying countries to meet in the treatment and rights of women. If you want a quick overview of the facts (their Q&A is very good), check this website out.
On 1 March this year, 185 countries had ratified this Treaty. Mind you, CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. But if you live in one of these countries (Iran, Nauru, Palau, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Tonga, USA), you should feel bad. Honestly, you should, because these 8 countries have not ratified this Treaty on basic human rights of 50% of the world’s population. It means that these 8 countries have not committed themselves to take concrete action to improve the status of women and end discrimination against them. And yes, unfortunately that does include the USA… can you imagine? The world’s biggest power at the moment is simply ignoring the human rights of all women and girls.
I’m sorry, I can’t get my head around that. I’ve less ‘trouble’ with the other countries that have not ratified this Treaty, but the US? Now, if you happen to live in the US, you can do something about that by asking your Senator to support the ratification of CEDAW.
And what can the rest of us (those not living in the US) do? Well, we can make sure that our own governments and our own actions show our commitment to this Treaty every day. After all, it affects every single one of us, whether you’re female or male.
Abdu’l-Bahá has elevated the station of women in this radiant age….. He has taught that men and women are like the two wings of a bird, and neither is superior to the other. Girls should be educated in the same way as boys, perhaps even given preference.
(from Munirih – Memoirs and Letters, p. 85)