By Kristen Malone
Pop Quiz: What does the United States have in common with Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Nauru, Palau, and Tonga?
Stumped? These are the ONLY eight nations in the world who have failed to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a UN treaty ensuring the fundamental rights of equality for women around the world. And we’ve had more than 25 years to get around to it.
The current administration tells us that we aren’t ratifying the treaty because we’re already doing more than enough to ensure gender equality at home and around the world. A white house representative went as far as to say that “no one does more to secure the rights of women than the United States.” Meanwhile, American companies operating in countries like Saudi Arabia continue to support, enable, and enforce gender segregation internally and when serving the public.
The truth is, we’re afraid that ratifying this treaty will hold us accountable for the human rights violations the U.S. government enables on a daily basis. Moreover, we’d have to sacrifice profit and influence to defend the rights of women our government would rather ignore. Enough is enough.
We can do more. We can do better. We need to put aside the interests of high powered lobbies and big business, and put our money and our manpower where our mouths are.
Awareness is the first step. Activism is the next. Tell your friends and write your representatives. Let’s be clear: Discrimination against women is unacceptable; and if our government can’t even say it, how can they stop it?