Early this January, when I was preparing to be a delegate to the 60th UN Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, CEDAW caught my attention. I learned that an OC Cities for CEDAW task force had recently begun meeting and in Feb. I connected with Rupsi Burman, the chair. On March 18th, during CSW60, Rupsi and I finally met  in my hotel room where I made 6 quick video clips (total running time = 2 mins 5 secs) of her explaining the program. It has two major goals: (1) Safer cities for women and girls – end human trafficking in OC and (2) Increase disposable income for OC households through equal pay for equal work for both men and women. What is CEDAW and why should you care about it?

CEDAW is a UN treaty which stands for the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. CEDAW is a key part of the UN’s global goals to achieve gender equality by the year 2030. In 1998 the City of San Francisco adopted CEDAW and in 2014 they reported a 44 % decrease in domestic violence, homicides and other violent crimes.

OC Cities for CEDAW videos (6 videos – longest is 44 seconds and the shortest is 21 seconds) can be watched by clicking on the link to playlist:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZbi6a__QY2zg6YHav0fAmugoXEyCucHg

Cities for CEDAW Program Taskforce Report, Version 2.2 (pdf, 50 pages) can be downloaded from here: OC Cities For CEDAW PROGRAM 2.2 – http://tinyurl.com/occitiesforcedaw22

The report has been prepared by Rupsi Burman, originally created: 09-24-2015 and last updated: 04-04-2016. Local Contact is Rupsi: hopeinlifefoundation at gmail dot com / 949-284-6730. For more information contact: citiesforcedaw@winaction.org

While CEDAW focuses on the violence against women and girls, one of the things I learned at CSW60 about data collection is the critical need for 1) disaggregated data to help us understand intersectionality, and 2) expanding the age ranges for which data is collected. Most national and international agencies only collect data for ages 15 – 49. Thus, data collection for women in conflict zones stops at 49 but the violence, in multiple forms, continues. Another example is elder abuse, a form of violence that is more prevalent against older women than men of similar age. Similarly, those with dementia are more likely to be abused. The ability to sift each piece of data – gender, age, and mental health individually is needed if we are to understand and stop violence. This is where civil society (you, me, we, faith-based groups and non-profits) has a key role to play in CEDAW. We can  help collect and document statistics and stories and bring multiple forms of violence to light by working with our cities, local police departments and more.

As for faith-based organization, I checked to see if the PC (U.S.A.) is involved with CEDAW and here’s what I have learned. According to Mark Koenig, the Director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the U.N., the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has consistently and repeatedly called upon the United States Senate to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Do check with your local church and get involved in CEDAW.

References (partial):

208th GA, 1996.

219th GA, 2010.

Statement affirms PCUSA’s Historic Support of the UN

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