On January 20th, the National Conference call for the Cities for CEDAW campaign was launched. The call hosted hundreds of participants across the country, as well as a number of prestigious speakers, including:
– Lakshmi Puri – Assistant secretary general of U.N. Women (conversing with Rick Smith of the Pinkerton Foundation);
– Ambassador McDonald from Suriname;
– Ambassador Dubravka Simonovic – A member of the CEDAW committee and newly appointed Ambassador to the U.N. from Croatia;
– Elmy Bermejo – Regional Representative for the U.S. Secretary of Labor; and
– Gavin Newsom – Lieutenant Governor of California and former Mayor of San Francisco, who was directly involved with the passage of the San Francisco CEDAW ordinance.
Each speaker touched on a unique and important aspect of the Cities for CEDAW campaign. For instance, Dubravka Simonovic mentioned how the Cities for CEDAW movement has become one of the most innovative ideas having arisen from the Beijing + 20 conference. Stream the audio of her discussion by clicking here.
Lakshmi Puri brought up the fact that in the near future, most of world’s population will be living in cities and urban areas. Therefore, engaging the women’s rights movement in the context of cities has never been more important, and activists should begin to consider the campaign within the larger U.N. context such as the Safe Cities Global Initiative, in conjunction with U.N. Habitat III. You can find Lakshmi Puri’s discussion here.
Ambassador MacDonald from Suriname spoke about the recent barbership conference at the U.N. with prominent male diplomats, and how more men need to come on board with close cooperation with women’s initiatives. Ambassador McDonald’s discussion can be found here.
The Cities for CEDAW movement continues with activists and organizers bringing the national message home to their local cities and local governments. In other (related) CEDAW news, in November 2014 Louisville, KY became the second U.S. city to pass CEDAW as a local ordinance. Meanwhile, our work here to get Philadelphia as the third City for CEDAW continues!
Still not exactly sure what CEDAW is or does, or can do for our city? For a brief primer to help understand three of the main substantive principles that CEDAW addresses, watch these short excellent YouTube clips:
The principle of non-discrimination:
The principle of substantive equality:
The principle of state obligation: