Promoting Peace: CEDAW Women’s Rights Treaty

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 “Clearly the nature of war has changed. It is being fought in homes and communities – and on women’s bodies in a battle for resources and in the name of religion and ethnicity.” –Noeleen Heyzer, former Executive Director of UNIFEM

Drafted in 1979, The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) predates UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the landmark international human rights law drafted in 2000. CEDAW also works towards sustainable peace.

How Conflict & Violence Disproportionately Hurts Women

Violence against women dramatically escalates in conflict-affected societies. Gender-based discrimination plays a key role in making women vulnerable to gender-based violence. Misogynistic attitudes devalue and objectify women. In times of war women’s bodies are raped assaulted to communicate threats and perpetuate attempted genocide on entire communities. CEDAW’s provisions encourage countries to adopt laws and policies that protect women from many of the atrocities committed against women in times of war, including: torture; sexual assault and rape; intentional infection of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; forced pregnancy; forced prostitution and trafficking; displacement; economic deprivation; exploited labor; and forced domestic servitude.

How CEDAW Promotes Peace

  • Promoting gender equality and the elimination of gender-based discrimination, which creates space for women to actively and equally participate in rebuilding their communities and nations
  • Promoting the protection of women from gender-based violence and sexual assault, including but not limited to their use as weapons of war, by creating stronger punishments
  • Promoting the participation of women in decision-making, increasing the likelihood that priorities, perspectives and needs of women are addressed in matters of sovereignty CEDAW promotes not only women’s empowerment, but also a foundation for peace and justice around the world.

Women in the U.S. and around the world have already waited 30 years for the world’s superpower to sign onto this important treaty. Demand President Obama and the Senate RATIFY WOMEN! by prioritizing and passing CEDAW without restrictions