Celebrating 30 Years of CEDAW: From San Francisco to Sao Paulo

Feminist Youth in Sao PauloToday, San Francisco celebrates a decade of passing of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW. CEDAW has enabled women’s rights activists to hold their governments accountable since its inception 30 years ago at the UN. As noted in the San Francisco Chronicle, the need for an increased women’s role in creating a world of peace and equality is greater than ever.

To date 186 countries have ratified CEDAW. The U.S., Somalia, Sudan and Iran are among the few that have refused. Since the Beijing forum, CEDAW has served as a benchmark in the push for gendered human rights and advocacy with democratic and communist governments alike. CEDAW assumes additional importance as we approach the Beijing+15 forum in March next year.

For the Global Fund for Women, an organization based in one of those countries that haven’t ratified CEDAW, it is humbling to note that many of the groups we support explicitly work in promoting awareness on this invaluable tool – both among women and governments and transnational networks:

The Hmong Women’s Network of Thailand promotes awareness on CEDAW among the Hmong ethnic group of Chinese women in Chiang Mai. Feminist Youth of Sao Paulo, a young women’s group that we have supported since 2005 enables young women in Sao Paulo to be involved in pushing for CEDAW advocacy in Brazil.

On the 30th anniversary of CEDAW this month, we also heard from our Arab sisters – Karama, a GFW grantee in Egypt that organizes V-Day in Cairo and works to end violence against Egyptian women shared a press release about how they are commemorating CEDAW together with the League of Arab States and UNIFEM.

A way you can support women’s human rights globally is by supporting the Global Fund for Women as a holiday gift. And sign up for our e-bulletin so you can stay tuned of Beijing+15 updates from us in the New Year.


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