Senate Hearing Reignites Hope For CEDAW and I-VAWA
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), surveying the chamber before her, a room packed with senators, diplomats, feminist leaders, scholars and activists, proudly proclaimed, “I’m looking at an iconic picture here.”
At last week’s U.S. Senate Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues hearing on Combating Violence and Discrimination Against Women: A Global Call to Action, a sense of urgency and hope prevailed amid calls for increased U.S. diplomatic action and participation in international legislation. The hearing marked the beginning of a new campaign to finally pass the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).
As the final speaker, the director of the Institute for Inclusive Security, Jacqueline O’Neill, addressed two major issues: the lack of women in peace talks and the lack of women in security forces, such as police departments. One major dimension of women’s value in these groups is their ability to adequately address issues like sexual assault that disproportionately affect women. Beyond this, women play an important role in legitimizing these forces, helping to build credibility while increasing integrity and reporting.
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