March 23, 2023
The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), one of the largest and most active of 120 chapters of UNA-USA, welcomes the passage of B24-0649 - Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Amendment Act of 2022 (EDAW) which became effective on March 10, 2023. EDAW implements the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, known as CEDAW.

First introduced by DC Council Member David Grosso in March 2015, and later by DC Council Member Robert White, the passage of EDAW has been a top priority for UNA-NCA, Cities for CEDAW, and a number of organizations committed to empowering women across all aspects of society.

CEDAW is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations in 1979 and signed by President Carter in 1980. The United States is one of only six countries in the world that has yet to ratify CEDAW.

“Cities and counties throughout the U.S. have taken up the opportunity of CEDAW, passing resolutions or binding legislation, and we are already seeing the benefits of gender equity,” said Karen Mulhauser, past Board Chair of UNA-NCA and member of the DC Human Rights Commission. “Communities are taking a clear leadership role on this issue, speaking to its importance. With our nation’s Capital as the most recent city to support, it is time to ratify this treaty.”

With EDAW now law in Washington, DC, the Mayor’s Office of Women Policy and Initiative will implement CEDAW principles of gender equity enhancement. This includes a requirement for DC government to conduct a gender analysis every four years, starting in October of this year, reporting on intersectional progress, programming, staffing, and budgeting to address sex, race, immigration status, familial status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, age and gender identity. Additionally, it will ensure the provision of training on gender equity and human rights; and require the development of a citywide action plan to eliminate discrimination against women.

“UNA-NCA is committed to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local level, and this passage of EDAW by the city of Washington, DC is a tremendous opportunity for city residents and for human rights,” said UNA-NCA President Paula Boland. “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.”

As the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights notes, “the CEDAW treaty is a tool that helps women around the world to bring about change in their daily life. In countries that have ratified the treaty, CEDAW has proved invaluable in opposing the effects of discrimination, which include violence, poverty, and lack of legal protections, along with the denial of inheritance, property rights, and access to credit.”

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