Smeal addressed the need for passage of the ERA and ratification of CEDAW by referencing the persistence of both discrimination against women in the United States and legislative attacks on women's employment and education rights. The US is the only industrialized western country that has not ratified CEDAW, which has been ratified by 185 countries.
Smeal also addressed a number of economic issues that impact women. She spoke in support of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. In addition, she highlighted the importance of supporting affirmative action programs to reduce sex segregation in the workforce, of supporting legislation that would provide a minimum of 10-15 paid sick days, and of protecting and strengthening social security since older women depend more on Social Security than do older men.
Media Resources: Eleanor Smeal testimony 8/1/08; Feminist Majority