Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal testified at the Democratic National Platform Hearing in Cleveland, Ohio on Friday. Smeal’s testimony focused on the importance of passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and refocusing efforts to change the current economic situation for women. Nancy Keenan of NARAL Pro-Choice America (NARAL) and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) testified on reproductive rights and women’s health.
Smeal addressed the need for passage of the ERA and ratification of CEDAW by referencing the persistence of both discrimination against women in the United States and legislative attacks on women’s employment and education rights. The US is the only industrialized western country that has not ratified CEDAW, which has been ratified by 185 countries.
Smeal also addressed a number of economic issues that impact women. She spoke in support of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. In addition, she highlighted the importance of supporting affirmative action programs to reduce sex segregation in the workforce, of supporting legislation that would provide a minimum of 10-15 paid sick days, and of protecting and strengthening social security since older women depend more on Social Security than do older men.###