The global ERA

Senate | Boxer tries to revive a feminist treaty

Issue: "Global shame," June 15, 2002

A 20-year old United Nations treaty lauded by feminists is scheduled to receive a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 13. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has taken the lead in pushing for U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Treaty. The Family Research Council is urging the White House to register its opposition to the treaty at the hearing.

President Carter submitted CEDAW to the Senate in 1980, but the upper chamber has never brought it up for a floor vote. It passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1994, just before the GOP recaptured control. The Clinton administration vowed to ratify it by 2000, but GOP control of the Senate thwarted that goal.

Feminists have suggested the treaty has languished because it sounds like a "global Equal Rights Amendment." Conservatives cite the cultural radicalism of CEDAW's overseers, especially their hostility to mothers who stay at home. In its 2000 review of Belarus, UN officials even complained that Mother's Day encourages traditional roles.

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