CEDAW in the USA

The House has repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”- finally. Steps are being taken to end discrimination. Yet, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women is gathering a thick coat of dust waiting for the U.S. Senate to act. Groups exist that point to CEDAW as an anti-family and pro-abortion act; the conclusions drawn are false. CEDAW remains neutral on abortion; the section supporting full access to health care, including family planning, creates the apparent confusion of these groups. Elimination of stereotypes will not kill the family ideal, but create a world in which women are not blocked from achievement because of gender. Take a peek at Bosnia and Herzegovina, and what the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women has allowed to be accomplished.

Sixty percent of all young people said they intended to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina in a survey by UNDP in 2000, because of the poor education system. A glimmer of hope exists. The Federal Ministry of education, culture, and sport set up a competition for the allocation of financial assistance for Masters thesis writing.

“179 candidates applied for assistance, out of which 94 were women and 85 were men. There were 23 scholarships approved, 11 of them to women and 12 of them to men” (April 2005 Bosnia and Herzegovina periodic CEDAW report).

This is only one of the many statistics portraying the approximately equal distribution of funds for education to men and women. Article 10 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women states,

“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education…”.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the product of war, a war including the horrors of genocide. Recovery is happening, amazingly on the level of gender equality, and CEDAW helped. The United States is obviously capable of change for the better, and there is room to change for the better. Let’s step up. Ask your Senators to support the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

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