CEDAW by the Numbers


May 11, 2015




:  Where the CEDAW stands today

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world.

  • 187 - The number of countries that have ratified the treaty.
  • 7 - The number of countries that have NOT ratified CEDAW, including the United States, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and two small Pacific island nations (Palau, and Tonga).
  • 2/3s - The number of Senators present and voting needed to ratify a treaty.
  • 189 and growing - The number of US based organizations -- representing millions of Americans -- that support the US ratification of CEDAW.

CEDAW Works: Invest in Women, It Pays

Providing opportunities for women and girls to learn, earn and participate in public decision making helps reduce violence, alleviate poverty, build democracies and strengthen economies. In countries that have ratified CEDAW, women have partnered with their governments to engage in a national dialogue about the status of women and girls, and as a result have changed laws and policies to create greater safety and opportunity for women and their families. For example:

  • Kuwait's Parliament voted to extend voting rights to women following a recommendation by the CEDAW Committee to eliminate discriminatory provisions in its electoral law.
  • All 32 Mexican states had adopted a General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free from Violence, as a response to an epidemic of violence against women.
  • Kenya used CEDAW to eliminate discrimination against widows and daughters regarding inheritance rights.

The United States and CEDAW

  • 1979 - The United Nations adopted CEDAW.
  • 1980 - The Carter administration signed the CEDAW on July 17 and submitted it to the Senate in November of that year.
  • 1994 - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted favorably, with a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5, to ratify CEDAW.
  • 2002 - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted favorably, with a bipartisan vote of 12 to 7, to ratify CEDAW.
  • 2010 - The Obama administration strongly supports ratification, and has included CEDAW as one of the multilateral treaties it has identified as a priority.