Worldwide...The Continuing Struggle for Advancement and Empowerment
As the days count down to the passing of the
millennium, women worldwide continue the long journey of
advancement in all spheres: political, educational, employment,
health care, economic, social, legal, and familial.
In Kavitha's dispatch she writes about how girls aren't
often listened to or thought of when it comes to education.
Then Monica wrote about a topic which has been at the forefront of
the women's rights movement since its origin - women's role in the
economy. All over the globe, including Mali, women struggle to earn
money, recognition and empowerment. The Office du Niger is one
establishment in Mali striving towards this goal.
Not only does it manage the largest irrigation works in West
Africa, the Office du Niger also serves as a tool to increase
women's political activity and elevate their status
in Mali. However, Mali is not alone in the struggle to gain
empowerment for women. It is an issue which reaches all corners of
On an international level, the United Nations will celebrate the
twentieth anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Twenty years ago, in
December 1979, CEDAW was adopted. Two years later, on September 3,
1981, the treaty was established. Currently, more than two-thirds of
the members of the United Nations have ratified the CEDAW. Known as
the international Bill of Rights for Women, the mission
of CEDAW is to advance the status of women by eliminating all forms
of discrimination against women - civil, political,
economic and cultural.
relating to government or community
ratify - to
sign to make a real law
Among the long list of State Parties to
ratify the Convention
(CEDAW), Mali joined the crusade in 1985 along with many others.
What year did the United States ratify the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women? For a
country so proud of its democratic traditions, one might think that
the treaty was ratified at the outset. Unfortunately, this was not
the case. The United States is one of the few remaining countries
that refuses to ratify this important world treaty. Currently 50
Senators have expressed their support for CEDAW, 8 are against it,
and 43 have not made a decision (Text/statistics taken directly from
the National Organization for Women
Senator Diane Feinstein (Democrat -
California) has initiated a
"Dear Colleague" letter which is being circulated through the Senate
offices. She needs your help, the treaty needs your help, and women
throughout the world need your help.
Whether at a national, local, or grass-roots level, the greatest
tool we possess is our voice. Make your voice heard and back
good intentions with action!
How you can help:
- Set up a booth at school to promote awareness of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW). Inform and educate about the necessity of
ratifying this treaty in the United States. No matter where you
live you can do this! You can check out the full text of the Convention at http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw
- If you are American, send a letter to your local Senator and
let them know why they should support the treaty. To contact your
Senators call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, write to
The Honorable (full name)/U.S. Senate/Washington, D.C. 20510 or check for their e-mail
- Encourage those who stop by the booth to send letters to their
- If you aren't American, then choose a prominent member of the
Senate and write them anyway, explaining why the convention is
important for ALL people EVERYWHERE!
Steps to take:
It all begins with the first step...Help shape the
direction of the path!
- Always do your homework - research the topic of women's rights
in the United States to educate not only yourself, but those you
must convince to ratify the treaty.
- Gather information on current issues facing women in your
society today - socially, politically, economically and
culturally. What bothers you the most? What would you like to see
changed? It is sometimes a helpful hint to begin with what is
personal and extend that into the broader context of women in the
- Another research tool is interaction with other students
through discussion groups and/or collective thinking.
- Once you gather your research, plan the booth you would like
to set up. You may want to have helpful information on hand, such
as important web sites, statistics you found, and information that
other students may not be aware of in regards to the topic of
women's advancement and empowerment.
- Another idea is to create a flyer with the essential
information included on it. This can be passed out to visitors of
the booth. Be sure to include addresses, web sites, phone numbers
and anything else you discover in your research and deem
important. Encourage visitors to the booth to send letters and
conduct research of their own.
- Finally, be sure to write your own letter to a Senator. Choose
one or two issues currently facing women in your society to
support your argument. This is your opportunity to voice your
opinions and play an active role in furthering the advancement and
empowerment of women in the United States.
- French Influence Does Not A Paris Make
- Why Have the Gods Deserted Me?!? - The Magic of the Book, Segu
- Keeping Up with the Fulani - Jewelry, Parties, and Romps in the
- Not Just a Desk Job: Women, Rice Cultivation, and the Office du Niger
- From Word of Mouth to Word from the Wise
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