Why U.S. Needs to Ratify Women’s Rights Treaty | USA Today

From USA Today
By Emily Martin and Arjun Sethi
January 6, 2013

International pact would curb worldwide gender discrimination.

International pact would curb worldwide gender discrimination. USA Today

One of the distinguishing features of American foreign policy is its claim of moral authority in the field of human rights. Our politicians regularly cite America as a beacon of freedom and as a champion of the cause of human dignity across the globe. Yet, in at least one important instance, America lags behind.

The United States remains the only industrialized democracy not to have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a watershed international agreement that protects women and girls from unfair treatment and abuse. In fact, only six other states in the United Nations — Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and two Pacific Islands — have failed to approve the treaty.

Last week, a coalition of more than 100 organizations co-signed a letter urging the Senate to ratify the treaty in the 113th Congress. President Obama endorses ratification, and has identified the Convention as a multilateral treaty priority. The Senate must seize this moment, and ratify the women’s rights convention. It must not play the same shameful partisan politics that it did with the disability rights convention, which it rejected just one month ago.

The international bill of rights for women, as it’s often called, was drafted in 1979 to help curb worldwide gender discrimination. A decade later, the economist Amartya Sen described the problem best when he noted in an article that more than 100 million women were missing from the world. Sen concluded that men outnumbered women because of disparate access to education, health care and economic opportunity. There was also mounting evidence at the time that gender equality was correlated positively with economic development and democratic reform — a principle now espoused by economists worldwide. The treaty recognizes that women’s rights are human rights and, like genocide and racial discrimination before it, merit their own international commitment.

Read the full story at USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/01/06/emily-martin-and-arjun-sethi-on-womens-rights-treaty/1807767/

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