The Durham County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution endorsing the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) unanimously on September 11, 2017 in their general meeting.
What is CEDAW?
The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, is an international mechanism that outlines women’s fundamental human rights. The Counties and Cities for CEDAW campaign is a US national grassroots effort to provide tools and leadership to empower local women’s organizations and interested groups to effectively protect women’s human rights within their city, county, or state.
Why CEDAW in Durham?
In Durham County, the average man earns more than $14,000 each year than the average woman while women, ages 25-34, are the largest population of people in poverty. At least 13% of teenagers in the county have experienced sexual assault. Durham continues to face gender inequity issues related to a lack of affordable housing, rates of unemployment, intimate partner violence, wage inequalities, healthcare and more. “Durham will be the first NC municipality to benefit from the system that Cities For CEDAW puts into place at the local level!” said Gailya Paliga, President of NC NOW.
For the past year, research conducted by university students and led by WomenNC and the North Carolina Coalition for CEDAW member organizations focused on women’s health, economic disparities, childcare, violence against women, employment, education, and leadership in Durham County. The research reports emphasized the lives of African-American and immigrant women. Examination of these research reports by the Durham County Women’s Commission led to the development and presentation of an annual plan to the Durham County Commissioners with recommendations on policy changes and allocation of the budget for women-related programs.
Who Else Uses Cities For CEDAW Principles?
Since 1998, several counties and cities across the nation have adopted such an ordinance reflecting CEDAW principles. They include: Pittsburgh; Louisville; Cincinnati; Kansas City; Miami, Tampa, Salt Lake City, Sarasota, New Orleans, Dale City, Eugene, Los Angeles, Berkley, and San Francisco. These cities and counties have used the CEDAW human rights framework to guide policymaking, developing a number of innovative programs and tools to advance women’s human rights. With passage of the CEDAW Resolution on September 11, Durham County became the first County or city in North Carolina to join the list of CEDAW communities.
Which Organizations are Part of the Cities For CEDAW Coalition?
Members of the coalition will continue working with other communities in North Carolina on CEDAW. This coalition welcomes multiple stakeholders including elected officials, commissions, the media, business, youth, NGOs, faith communities and women leaders. The coalition includes WomenNC, AAUW-NC, NC NOW, ActionNC, LWV-NC, United Nations Association of Wake County, UN WomenNC chapter, the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, Durham NOW, Durham Crisis Response, and the Durham Women’s Commission.