With the steadfast leadership of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), the committee’s current chair, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the committee’s sole female member, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning passed the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), also known as the Women’s Treaty, by a vote of 12-7. “I am optimistic that when CEDAW reaches the Senate floor before the elections, it will be ratified,” said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. This historic vote marks the first time in 22 years that the treaty has made it out of committee in time for a vote by the full Senate. Supporters packed the room during the committee vote, with virtually no opposition visible. Supporters present included the Feminist Majority and its president, Eleanor Smeal; the National Council of Women’s Organizations and its president, Martha Burk; the Business and Professional Women/USA and its CEO, Jane Smith; and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote Thursday on the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, funding for reconstruction, and humanitarian aid.