Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: October 28, 1980

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
Announcement of President’s Intention To Transmit the Convention to the Senate.
October 28, 1980

The President has indicated his intention to send the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women to the Senate when it reconvenes on November 12, 1980. This treaty was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 18, 1979, and signed by Sarah Weddington, Assistant to the President, on behalf of the United States, on July 17, 1980, at the World Conference on the U.N. Decade for Women in Copenhagen.

Adoption of the agreement was the culmination of several years of negotiations at the United Nations. The Convention defines discrimination against women as "any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field."

The Convention requires parties to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in political and public life, law, education, employment, health care, commercial transactions, and domestic relations.

The Convention also establishes a committee of 23 nongovernmental experts who will review compliance with the Convention.

The President will recommend that U.S. ratification of the treaty be accompanied by a reservation preserving the prerogative of the State governments, since some of the subjects covered by the Convention are matters currently under State jurisdiction.

Other areas of concern with respect to conformity of U.S. law with the Convention will be addressed through implementing legislation or through reservations and understandings accompanying U.S. ratification of the Convention.