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."
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .
8/25/2015 Fraternity Signs Promote Rape Culture, Elicit Outrage - Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia is receiving national attention for a fraternity's vulgar and offensive signs that were on display as first-year students moved into their dorms.
The signs, which were hung on fraternity Sigma Nu and displayed derogatory messages for incoming female students- and their mothers- have since been removed, and the University has promised disciplinary action. . . .