14 March 2007

march 8th was international women's day...

this report comes from diba enayat who is the tennessee state coordinator for amnesty international's stop violence against women campaign...

This past Thursday, March 8, was International Women's Day and this year, Amnesty decided to focus on ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW (actually the Treaty for the Rights of Women is probably easier).

In Nashville as part of the campaign I spoke to students at a local high school, Pope John Paul II, about CEDAW. I started off giving an overview of CEDAW at the morning assembly, which is in front of the entire school. I just spoke about the basics--what is CEDAW, what obligations countries who ratify CEDAW have, why the US should ratify CEDAW, and what they could do if they wanted to join the effort to encourage/pressure US ratification.

The faculty advisor to Pope John Paul's student Amnesty group had also asked me to stay and talk to her intergroup conflict class more about CEDAW and some of the other foci of the stop violence against women campaign. The students had an opportunity to ask questions about CEDAW and it generated a great discussion.

One sentiment that kept emerging among the students was that, considering some of the countries who have ratified CEDAW have some of the worst records of women's rights violations, what good is a treaty like this? I had grappled with this same issue myself. After all, the CEDAW committee has very limited authority to promote the implementation of the Convention, CEDAW is often ignored by the states party to it and it has endured more reservations than any other UN Convention.

This issue has been somewhat addressed by the introduction of the Optional Protocol to the Convention, adopted by the General Assembly on October 6, 1999 and opened for signature on December 10, 1999. The Optional Protocol is aimed at strengthening the weak enforcement ability of CEDAW, but as of January 2007 only
84 countries of the over 183 countries who have ratified CEDAW have also adopted the Optional Protocol.

However, despite those obstacles, I think CEDAW is important in giving women worldwide a sense of being part of an international community that acknowledges their rights, and giving them a standard that they can look to when their own governments fail to protect those rights. I think without these standards, as ideological as they may be, we would have nothing against which to judge the acts and events that comprise human history.

So, at the end of the day, I think its better if something like CEDAW exists rather than not--it provides a standard that has served and will continue to serve as a vehicle for improvement. CEDAW has been used by women to ensure women’s legal rights, improve health care for women, promote education for girls, improve the lives of women at work, and implement programs against domestic violence--not just an ideology but a real impetus for change for those who embrace its provisions.

1 comment:

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.