Should the United States ratify the Convention to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women?
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed the convention to eradicate all types of discrimination against women. Nearly four decades on, the United States is yet to ratify this convention (Freeman, 2014). The United States has its own reasons why it is yet to ratify the Convention. Advocacy organizations and super-partisan politicians opine that by ratifying the Convention, the United States shall have effectively given authority to an international body (Freeman, 2014). However, considering that ensuring that women are free of any form of discrimination constitutes a fundamental human right to which the United States is signatory, failure to ratify the Convention would be construed to mean that the country is giving lip service to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Amnesty International, 2005).
The Convention contains the international standards meant to protect women and promote their rights (Amnesty International, 2005). By ratifying the Convention, the United States will have effectively given women the access to these universal rights. Women need to be protected in all aspects of life from cultural, civil, political, economic and social sphere (Kegley & Blanton, 2012), and the Convention provides for the same. This should therefore be reason enough for the United States to ratify the Convention.
So far, some 185 countries have sanctioned the Treaty and women in those nations are using it to turn around their situations for the better (Amnesty International, 2005). The United States should also give women the chance to use the Convention in their fight against discrimination. Among the changes attributed to the Treaty are Inheritance rights in Tanzania, women participating in politics in Costa Rica, and enforcement of anti-trafficking laws in Ukraine and Moldova (Amnesty International, 2005). By failing to sanction the Treaty, the United States is actually denying its women the right to enjoy the same rights as those enjoyed by their counterparts in the other 185 countries.
Amnesty International (2005). A Fact Sheet on CEDAW: Treaty for the Rights of Women.
Freeman, M, A. (2014). The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination
against Women in the United States: Whether, When and What if? Retrieved from
Kegley, C., & Blanton, S. (2012). World Politics: Trend and Transformation, 2012- 2013
Edition. Stamford, Mass: Cengage Learning.