Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Womenun-cedaw logo

CEDAWCEDAW was introduced adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979 and is often described as an International Bill of Rights for Women, providing the basis for realizing equality between women and men. Read the full text of the Convention here.

The UN Women explain that the Convention defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”


CEDAW was introduced to the U.S. Congress in 1982 and has been ratified by 186 out of 193 countries. Only seven countries have not ratified it: Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Nauru, Palau, Tonga and the United States. The U.S. is the only democratic nation that has not ratified CEDAW.

Zonta International take a strong stand in support of the ratification of CEDAW. If you would like to take a position on behalf of human rights visit our ZI web site for sample letters that advocate for the US ratification of the Convention

Colorado Zonta Clubs took the lead in working with Rep. Alice Borodkin to draft and pass a joint resolution in support of CEDAW on March 10, 2008, which puts Colorado on record urging the US Senate to ratify the women’s treaty. Zontians worked with other organizations and within their own clubs to move this pro-women agenda through the legislature. Zonta continues to push the U.S. Senate to ratify this treaty.

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