Equal treatment for women: Still controversial in the US

The US (along with just Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga) has still not ratified CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. There is now a push on to try to get it ratified by the Senate. Last time this was tried, various riders were stipulating such things as that CEDAW could not compel U.S. women to serve in military combat units, could not be used to interfere with private conduct, and could not force the United States to provide paid maternity leave, and that nothing in CEDAW should be interpreted as creating a right to abortion. These are likely to be attached again. So there are two disappointments: that we’re still having to fight for ratification; and that ratification, if it comes, is likely to be so watered-down. (Actually, make that three disappointments: the fact that we couldn’t even get it ratified with all of those qualifications is appalling.) For more, see here. Thanks, Jender-Parents.

5 thoughts on “Equal treatment for women: Still controversial in the US

  1. It looks like the prejudice against woman is even worst that the prejudice against race. You got a black president (the woman lost again) but you don’t have a CEDAW aprooved. It’s crazy!

  2. Adilia, I’m very hesitant to make such comparisons. Racism and sexism are very different and difficult to compare. They’re both bad, and they’re both way too powerful. (And really, our samples of women near-presidents and black near-presidents are a bit to small for statistically significant comparisons.)

  3. While it is certainly bad of the States not to ratify it, it’s not clear how unusually bad it is, given the reservations other countries have put in. Some are like the US’s reservations; e.g., Australia says that they aren’t going to put women into combat. Others are pretty global; e.g., a lot of countries don’t take the treaty to supercede Islamic Sharia law. Still others insist that still the nationality of a child will always be that of the father, or that pensions and savings will always go to the father or husband, if living. And so on.

    In short, there’s quite an air of “Yea, well, good idea, no doubt, but we’re doing pretty well and we aren’t going to change.” And when you think of it, really how many countries are going to sign an international treaty that requires significant changes in the gendered social understandings?

    Well, perhaps I’m being pessimistic. Does anyone have any idea if there have been any significant attempts to change due to the signing in any of the countries that have signed?

  4. In order to get equal treatment of men and women in regards to combat, there’s another option in addition to putting women into combat: Don’t put men into combat either!

    Seriously, though, I don’t quite understand the reservation against women in combat. Are there any non-sexist reasons to keep women out of combat? (I think there are some good reasons to avoid combat but that’s another issue).

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