SAMPLE TEMPLATE LETTER TO CONGRESSIONAL LEADER(S) URGING RATFICATION OF CEDAWDate ______________ , 2012The Honorable __________________United States Senate Office______________ Senate Office Bldg.Washington, D.C., 20510Dear Senator _____________:I urge you to support ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms ofDiscrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is a landmark international agreementthat affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around theworld. Ratifying CEDAW would continue America’s proud bipartisan tradition of promotingand protecting human rights and it does not require any additional costs or appropriations.Ratification of CEDAW would strengthen the United States’ position as a global leader onbehalf of Human Rights. This international agreement provides a practical blueprint for eachcountry to achieve progress for women and girls. Around the world, it has been used to reducesex trafficking and domestic violence; provide access to education and vocational training;increase the political participation of women by securing the right to vote and to hold publicoffice; bring an end to forced marriages and ensure the right to inherit property; help mothersand families by providing access to maternal health care; and promote economic participationsuch as the ability to work and own a business without discrimination.President Carter signed CEDAW on 17 July 1980 and submitted it to the SenateForeign Relations Committee, but the bill did not pass under his administration.Under the leadership of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and BillClinton, the United States ratified similar human rights treaties designed toeliminate genocide, torture and race discrimination. Our government’s refusalto ratify CEDAW sends a disturbing message to the world: e.g. that women andgirls do NOT deserve the same protection of their human rights that we haveguaranteed to others.Equally disturbing, CEDAW has now been ratified by 187 out of 193 countries, 90% of the UNmembership. The United States is one of only seven countries that have not ratifiedCEDAW. These include Iran, Somalia, Sudan and three small Pacific Island nations(Palau, Nauru and Tonga). It is truly embarrassing for the United States to be listed amongsome of the nations that are renowned for the violence and discrimination that their femalesubjects experience on a daily basis.Given the horrific statistics of violence against women and girls around the globe, their lack ofaccess to decent health care, education, and opportunities to earn a living, and theunbelievable difficulties they have experienced in war-torn countries and nations that have
suffered natural disasters such as Haiti, it is clearly time for our country, which was aproud champion and signatory of CEDAW to ratify the treaty!By continuing to ignore the treaty, the United States in essence has said to the world that itdoes NOT believe that women are entitled to the same Human Rights that men take forgranted. As a result, other nations that have ratified CEDAW are invited to ignorerecommendations of the Commission on the Status of Women when it suggests reforms tomeet the goals of the treaty. Indeed, women leaders in other countries have urged Americancitizens to get our government to ratify CEDAW so their leaders won’t use US non-ratificationas an excuse to ignore needed and recommended changes in their laws or practices. I urge youto support the ratification of CEDAW, and thereby to restore our standing as a consistentchampion of Human Rights for ALL people!Thank you,Sincerely,___________________________________ __________________Signature Date[Your contact info]Disclaimer note: The template above is courtesy of Zonta International, which provides 5additional templates on their site. The template can be copied and used verbatim or you maychoose to use it as a guide to create your own, more personal correspondence.Additional information about how to reach or send correspondence to your electedcongressional leaders (e.g., mail, email, direct online contact form, etc.) can be found on theU.S. House of Representative or U.S. Senate website.