Pittsburgh City Council held a public hearing this Tuesday, November 15, on the CEDAW Ordinance. The CEDAW stands for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and is an international treaty promoting gender equality. The United States is among very few countries that failed to ratify the CEDAW.
In fact, only the United States and six other U.N. countries, including Iran, have failed to adopt it, according to the Pittsburgh Citypaper.
The CEDAW Ordinance strives to advance the principles of the convention by incorporating them into local legislation. The central piece of the Ordinance is an inter-disciplinary analysis to be conducted by various departments of the City of Pittsburgh on the issue of gender equity. This analysis will then be used to effectuate public policy change and influence government decision-making. Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak introduced the Ordinance in the City Council on October 25, 2016.
During the hearing, over 20 members of the Pittsburgh community gave testimony encouraging the City Council to pass the Ordinance, including the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, Carlos Torres. Social science scholars and scientists presented horrifying statistics on the persistent wage disparity between men and women, the poverty level among single mothers’ households, and domestic violence affecting women. Representatives of non-profit organizations, including the Women’s Law Project, New Voices Pittsburgh, the American Association of University Women, and Planned Parenthood, emphasized the importance of passing the Ordinance.
At the end of the hearing, Councilwoman Rudiak thanked everyone who showed their support for the Ordinance and noted that she will propose creating a position within the City of Pittsburgh that will oversee the implementation of the Ordinance.
Learn more about the CEDAW Ordinance here.
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The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.
Text: Christina Alam