Could anyone tell me why the United States has not ratified the CEDAW (The Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) yet ?

1 Answer 1


Main opposition has come from conservatives, especially the religious right.

You can read the full text here but some highlights are below, focusing on parts that some conservatives have voiced opposition to:

  • 11.1.c. Lists training, promotion, and job security as "right"s which some object to as being opposed to a free market system
  • 11.1.d. Is essentially a guarantee of equal pay (see above)
  • 11.1.e. Lists social security and unemployment benefits as "right"s, as well as paid leave
  • 11.2.b. Requires paid maternity leave
  • Article 12.1 Specifically lists access to family planning services as something the parties shall "ensure"
  • Article 16.1.e Hints at family planning again

I've seen some mention as well of other concerns but couldn't find any text in the convention to back them up (such as gay marriage). The concerns here seem to stem from the activities of the Committee which regulates and oversees implementation.

Some info can be found on this page from Concerned Women for America.

More generally, there is pretty wide opposition in US politics to signing on to treaties or conventions of this sort, the best known example being the International Criminal Court. The United States generally opposes or at the least is reluctant to make itself subject to the authority of any other organization.

  • 1
    good answer! For another example of the US' reluctance to sign treaties (League of Nations) you can take a look at my answer to this question. Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:19
  • 1
    @MichaelKingsmill I did just after I wrote this one, actually!
    – JNK
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:19

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