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Letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee supporting ratification of the Convention to End all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

April 23, 2007

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 

The NEA Legislative Program explicitly calls for ratification of CEDAW. NEA resolutions call for all nations "to respect and protect the basic human and civil rights of every individual" and state that "all persons, regardless of gender, must have equal opportunity for employment, promotion, compensation, and leadership."  

The United States ratification of CEDAW would clearly advance these important goals. U.S. ratification would provide a critical diplomatic tool to encourage human rights abroad. CEDAW would enhance American efforts to ensure that women around the world are treated fairly and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Specifically, CEDAW helps combat violence against women, gives women greater opportunities for education, reforms unfair inheritance and property rights, and strengthens women's access to fair employment. 

Although over 185 nations -- including all of our European allies and all of our important trading partners -- have ratified CEDAW, the United States has not done so. State and federal laws in the United States already provide strong protections for women and are largely consistent with the provisions of CEDAW. Ratification of CEDAW, therefore, would not in any way impact the sovereignty of the United States or states' rights.

We thank you for your consideration of our views on this important issue.


Reg Weaver, President
National Education Association