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100 Cities for CEDAW

100 Cities for CEDAW launches at CSW 58

With encouragement from Soon Young Yoon, Chair of the CSW-NGO, American women took up the challenge of bringing 100 U.S. cities into compliance with the U.N. Treaty on Women’s Human Rights (CEDAW) by the end of 2015. The effort was launched at the Church Center in New York City at two side events held concurrent with the meetings of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this past March.

Over forty municipalities, two dozen counties and twenty state legislatures passed resolutions supporting CEDAW ratification between 1995 and 2004. But these resolutions did not require these bodies to actually change governance structures to eliminate discrimination. The 100 Cities for CEDAW campaign asks them to do just that: to use gender analysis to review the performance of governmental units and to make changes to eliminate discrimination where it is ongoing in hiring and promotion, in service delivery, and in budget allocations.

A handful of cities currently have ordinances implementing CEDAW within their jurisdictions and these ordinances do make a difference in closing the wage gap, enhancing the physical safety and health of women and other vulnerable populations, and promoting sustainable urban environments. Because gender inequality is a cornerstone upon which so many other inequalities flourish, CEDAW implementation benefits everyone in the community.

The national campaign to bring CEDAW to 100 cities and towns will be realized through the leadership of women like you—women connected to their communities and to the hundreds of membership organizations, professional associations, labor unions, and civic groups who have gone on record as supporting U.S. ratification of the women’s human rights treaty. While you and I are building local political will for CEDAW implementation, the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women will outreach directly to mayors across the country urging them to become advocates for CEDAW legislation in their hometowns. As a result of these efforts, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution endorsing Cities for CEDAW at their national convention in June.

If you are ready to become involved in making your city a CEDAW city, go to and sign up to get involved. Once you sign up, you’ll receive information about campaign developments in other cities and towns, get connected to others in your area that have also joined the campaign, have access to toolkits and materials, and receive invitations to training opportunities and campaign webinars.

President Jimmy Carter signed CEDAW in 1979; CEDAW entered into force as a United Nations Treaty in 1981. Women around the world have waited too long for the U.S. to ratify CEDAW. It is time for the women of the U.S. to take the lead in making CEDAW a reality in U.S. law and culture. With 100 CEDAW cities flourishing, we’re certain the U.S. Senate’s ratification of this important treaty will promptly follow.