Adopted in 1979, CEDAW is the most comprehensive international agreement on the basic human rights of women within political, social, cultural, civil, and economic life. As of August 2009, 185 countries have ratified CEDAW. The United States is one of seven countries who still who have not ratified the treaty including Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Nauru, Palau, and Tonga. CEDAW ensures that, regardless of gender, all people are protected from stereotypes and trafficking and prostitution. It also guarantees that women have the right to vote and take part in the decisions of government as well as equal access to education, employment and health care. CEDAW ensures that, regardless of gender, everyone is equal before the law.
As a global leader, not only economically and militarily, but also socially, the United States is often associated with taking a progressive stance on human rights issues. As a model for the world, it is imperative that the United States ratify CEDAW to remain consistent with our commitment to civil rights and equality for all citizens, both domestically and internationally.