Women Senators Made the CEDAW Connection to Ending Violence Against Women & Girls

Women Senators at Hearing

On Tuesday, June 24th, a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer held a hearing, featuring testimony by an unprecedented number of women Senators, who called for action on CEDAW to stem the tide of violence against women and girls across the globe. Senators and Obama Administration leaders highlighted the need for the U.S. Senate to ratify CEDAW, the global treaty for women's rights, and called it a critical tool for the U.S. to speak out against violence and discrimination against women across the globe.

Senator Barbara BoxerSenator Boxer, who is Chair of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues, presided over the hearing. The long-time champion of CEDAW, Boxer said “It’s ridiculous, it’s embarrassing, it’s inexplicable” that the United States has not yet joined 187 other countries in ratifying CEDAW.

Hauwa Ibrahim, a Nigerian attorney who is engaged in efforts to return the kidnapped girls and defends women sentenced under Sharia law for abuses such as death by stoning, testified that U.S. ratification “would be a huge partnership with our own work and make our work much easier….a collective interest beyond north versus south or Christian versus Muslim.” Defending women’s rights, she said, is “a responsibility of our common humanity,” and the U.S. “is our beacon of hope.”


Senators who attended the hearing: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Members including Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Edward Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and James Risch (D-ID) those who testified including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).


Hauwa Ibrahim

  • Watch the webcast of the Senate hearings
  • Read testimony about women & girls in Nigeria by Hauwa Ibrahim, Senior Partner at Aries Law Firm in Nigeria
  • Click here for the joint statement from 75 NGOs calling for CEDAW ratification
  • Get updated on CEDAW facts
  • Make the CEDAW Connection to Ending Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Sign-up to get CEDAW updates




Updated: June 26, 2014


Secretary of State John Kerry Gives Thumbs Up to CEDAW






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

CEDAW strengthens the United States as a global leader in standing up for the rights of women and girls in countries around the world.

This international treaty offers countries a practical blueprint to achieve progress for women and girls by calling on each ratifying country to overcome barriers of discrimination.

Ratifying the CEDAW treaty would continue America’s proud bipartisan tradition of promoting and protecting human rights.

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