Magazine article National NOW Times

CEDAW: Women's Treaty May Finally Go Forward

Magazine article National NOW Times

CEDAW: Women's Treaty May Finally Go Forward

Article excerpt

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the new Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women's Issues, told the Associated Press in March that her subcommittee will start hearings this year with a "clean" version of the international treaty called the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The treaty is currently burdened with a number of Reservations, Understandings and Declarations (RUDs), several of which would exempt the U.S. from taking actions to "interfere with private conduct" when there is sex-based discrimination, and relieve the U.S. government from any obligation to adopt paid maternity leave or counter wage discrimination by enacting legislation that establishes comparable worth standards. Other RUDs would let the U.S. off the hook on matters relating to abortion rights, combat assignments in the military, and the provision of health care services to poor women. One RUD stipulates that the treaty is non-self-executing - that is, it does not become law when ratified.

In 1994, the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now called Legal Momentum) reviewed an earlier set ofRUDs and found nearly all unnecessary. In early April, NOW staff met with Sen. Boxer's staff to discuss the RUDs and the process for Senate review of the treaty.

In the same March Associated Press report, NOW President Kim Gandy is quoted as saying that "it would be an important signal to the world that we adopt this critical convention without limitations that exempt the U. …

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