The United States is one of the seven member states, and the only industrialized nation, that has failed to ratify CEDAW since its completion more than 30 years ago. Many different local and national groups in the United States have attempted to mobilize support for U.S. ratification of the treaty.
In the meantime, several U.S. cities have taken it upon themselves to implement CEDAW at the local level – by adopting city ordinances mirroring CEDAW’s provisions. These ordinances include provisions covering gender equality in the workplace and laws against other forms of discrimination, among others. The movement as a whole has been brought under the umbrella of the Cities For CEDAW campaign.
According to the Cities for CEDAW website:
Cities for CEDAW is a campaign created by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/New York.
The Committee (NGO/CSW NY) supports the work of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and UN Women. They play an active role in the UN Community as advocates for women’s rights and the advancement of women and girls, including CEDAW the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
In 2013 NGO/CSW NY created “Cities for CEDAW” and engaged two partners; The Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN) and The San Francisco Department on the Status of Women (DOSW). Together these experienced women’s advocates and leaders have implemented “ Cities for CEDAW a campaign to secure 100 cities and their leaders to agree to become “Cities for CEDAW.
The campaign is a grass roots effort that provides tools and leadership to empower local women’s organizations and municipalities and effectively initiate CEDAW within their city or town.
Per the San Franciscio Department of Women:
The purpose of the Cities for CEDAW campaign is to “make the global local” by harnessing the power of cities and promoting the adoption of CEDAW as a municipal ordinance in cities large and small in order to create a framework for improving the status of women and girls. Supported at the June 2014 US Conference of Mayors, Cities for CEDAW will mobilize multiple stake holders including elected officials, the media, business, youth, NGOs, faith communities, and women leaders.
Available here: http://sfgov.org/dosw/cities-cedaw
In 1998, San Francisco was the first city to implement CEDAW as a local ordinance. As the ordinance reports:
In April 1998, the City and County of San Francisco originally enacted this ordinance implementing the principles underlying CEDAW. In 1998, City officials and community representatives formed a CEDAW Task Force. In 1999, the CEDAW Task Force and the Commission on the Status of Women developed “Guidelines for a Gender Analysis,” a set of guidelines to assist City departments in implementing the local principles of CEDAW. In 1999, two City departments used the Guidelines to analyze their departments. The resulting report, “A Gender Analysis: Implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women” (November 1999) demonstrated a continuing need to work on elimination of discrimination against women…
The ordinance contains provisions to combat discrimination, violence and sexual harrassment against women, as well as ensuring access to health care services and education.
Other U.S. cities including Portland, Oregon and Berkeley, California, as well as the State of Hawaii, have enacted similar initiatives. The next goals for Cities for CEDAW are to:
- Gain support from 100 Mayors for CEDAW by June 2015.
- Secure 100 municipal CEDAW ordinances adopted by January 2016.
Interested in learning how you can help implement CEDAW in your city? Read through the fact sheet based upon the San Francisco model, provided here: