Senate Hearing on Women and Arab Spring Includes Discussion of CEDAW
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a joint subcommittee hearing on Wednesday on Women and the Arab Spring. The issue of the U.S. failure to ratify CEDAW, the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was raised several times. Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), who co-chaired the hearing, and Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, both referred to the importance of US ratification of CEDAW while promoting women's rights around the world.
In discussing the importance of women to successful transitions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, Ambassador Verveer said in her testimony "I believe that many women woke up with the Arab Spring, and they will not go back to sleep." Manalu Omar, Director of Iraq, Iran, and North Africa Programs for the US Institute of Peace, told the Senators that women were a critical motivating factor in Libya, but expressed concern about what the liberation will mean for women who have had the right to vote in Libya since 1964.
Looking to the future and what role the US can play in protecting and advancing women at this crucial time of transition, Senator Boxer emphasized that the US needs to use whatever leverage it has, including foreign aid, to ensure women's rights.
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal attended the hearing along with other women's rights and human rights leaders and stated following the hearing, "It is unconscionable that the US is in the company of Iran, Somalia and Sudan, who are among the handful of nations that have not ratified CEDAW and yet we are telling others the critical importance of advancing women's rights."
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
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7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .