Nine Congresswomen walked into a Foreign Relations Committee meeting yesterday and attempted to present Committee Chair Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) a poster-sized letter, signed by over 100 House members, in support of the U. N. Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This action follows nearly three months of requesting a meeting on CEDAW with Helms, according to Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). “The women of the House will no longer tolerate his delay tactics,” Woolsey said.
In response to the Congresswomen’s actions, Helms insisted they “act like ladies,” then called Capitol Police to escort the Congresswomen from the hearing room. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO), later said that any member of Congress ought to have the right to enter a hearing and be heard.
CEDAW is the most comprehensive and detailed international agreement to date seeking the advancement of women and providing a universal definition of discrimination against women. Over 160 nations have ratified CEDAW since the U.N. General Assembly adopted the treaty in 1979. Although the United States is viewed by many as a world leader for human rights, we have failed to ratify CEDAW. President Clinton submitted CEDAW to the Senate in 1994, but Helms has consistently refused to hold hearings on the treaty or to present it to the Senate for a full vote.
Take Action! Help Ratify the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women