Unfinished Business

Women’s Advocates to Discuss Economic Benefits of CEDAW at World Bank Event

By Isabella Acosta-Rubio, a Spring 2012 intern

On Monday, March 5, honoring International Women’s Day, The Leadership Conference Education Fund will collaborate with the World Bank and The Nordic Trust to host “A Special Event on CEDAW and Women’s Rights.” The program will focus on the critical role that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has played in promoting female empowerment, gender equality and women’s access to justice. The event will take place from 11:00am to 4:30pm at The Preston Auditorium in the World Bank Main Complex (1818 H Street NW Washington, DC)

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“A Special Event on CEDAW and Women’s Rights” aims to underscore the profound impact that different approaches to laws, policies and programs to eliminate sex-based discrimination can have on the lives of women and girls worldwide, their ability to participate in society, and their economic contributions to the development of their countries.

Hosted by the Managing Director of the World Bank, Caroline Anstey, one of the event’s main goals is to increase awareness and understanding of CEDAW. Speakers will include women’s rights activists from Tunisia, Croatia, and Bangladesh, as well as President and CEO of The Leadership Conference Wade Henderson.

What Is CEDAW?

CEDAW is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world. Adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, it is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end it. 187 out of 193 countries have ratified the treaty. The United States of America is one of six nations along with Iran, Sudan, Somalia, and two small Pacific Island nations that have not ratified.

Around the world, CEDAW has been used to reduce sex trafficking, domestic violence, and female genital mutilation; ensure primary education for girls and vocational training for women; ensure the right to vote; end forced marriage and child marriage; improve health care services and save lives during pregnancy and child-birth; allow women to own and inherit property; and ensure the right to work and own a business without discrimination.