The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. Although 175 countries have ratified CEDAW, the United States has not.
CEDAW specifically mandates ending discrimination against women and girls in political and public life, status of nationality, education, employment, health care, financial endeavors, sports, cultural life, marriage and family relations. It recognizes the role of culture and tradition and aims for substantive gender equity.
In April 1998, San Francisco became the first city in this country to adopt an ordinance implementing CEDAW locally. It also established a Task Force which works with the Commission and City departments to identify discrimination against women and girls, and to implement human rights principles.
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CEDAW in the News
IPS (Inter Press Service News Agency) showcased San Francisco's CEDAW Ordinance, as well as the new Gender Equality Principles Initiative, in a November 2009 article: For U.S., Lessons in CEDAW from San Francisco.
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies released State and Local Human Rights Agencies: Recommendations for Advancing Opportunity and Equality Through an International Human Rights Framework (external pdf). This report highlights ways in which an international human rights framework can advance the work of state and local human rights agencies. It recommends reforms at the national level to create a better system of accountability around the United States ' domestic and international human rights obligations and enhanced coordination and support for state and local efforts. San Francisco 's CEDAW Ordinance and related efforts by the Department on the Status of Women have been featured in a case study in this exciting report.
Ms. Magazine put a spotlight on San Francisco's local Women's Human Rights Ordinance in the January 2009 edition. Read the article now (external link). Also, the International Museum of Women documents the power of the CEDAW Ordinance in its online exhibition, Women, Power and Politics, in the article, CEDAW in San Francisco: From International Human Rights to Local Policies for Women (external links).
American City and County, an online resource, recently profiled Fulton County, GA (which includes Atlanta), for its Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative. In 2008, the Department trained Fulton County officials on this valuable tool, and the article highlights the benefits this work has had since the Department began providing technical assistance.