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June-12-02

Senate Hearing Tomorrow for International Women’s Treaty

After 23 years of advocacy by women’s organizations, the only international treaty drafted solely to protect women’s rights will have a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The United Nations’ Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) - which defines discrimination against women and gives nations a plan of action to ensure equality – has been ratified by 169 countries. The United States is not one of them. “This is a national disgrace,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, which has worked for many years to bring the treaty before the Senate for ratification. “This treaty is an invaluable tool for ensuring women’s rights around the world and here at home.”

In recognition of the historical importance of this event, committee chair Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) will hand his gavel to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the committee’s sole female member, who will chair the hearing. Boxer has been a tireless advocate for the treaty, citing the need for the United States to lead the fight against discrimination for women around the world. She points to the repression of women under the Taliban in Afghanistan as a pertinent example. “We know what it means now to be a woman suffocating under a burqa,” Boxer said in a press conference today. “We often make statements to other countries about their treatment of women…[this treaty] gives us the moral authority, that frankly we deserve, to address human rights violations against women.”

TAKE ACTION: Urge Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee to Ratify the International Women's Treaty

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