On May 4, 2010 I sat in a packed room of women (and a few men) coming together to raise awareness of women and girls efforts in the reconstruction of Haiti after the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake and its aftershocks. While Haiti has subsided from the headlines of most mainstream media, this assembly of women, which included women from all parts of the African Diaspora, proves Haiti is still on our minds and in our hearts. But the major recurring question of the evening was, now what? What does this room, packed to capacity, full of progressively minded individuals do when we leave here? The forum, with its panel and audience sought to answer that.
Like many other Americans, I was unfamiliar with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) until recently. CEDAW (also known as the Women’s Treaty) is an international agreement on basic human rights for women. So how had this escaped my attention? Is it because the US has supported human rights for decades so there is little talk of this particular treaty? No. Is it because it is a new treaty that we have just not heard of yet? No. CEDAW was introduced to the UN back during the Carter Administration and our Senate has been sitting on it ever since! Is it because we have achieved equal rights for women as a nation and help all other nations reach that same goal? Certainly not.
For the first time in 2010, the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report will assess efforts made by governments and others within the United States to address trafficking. Because the Center has led the way to assist state legislators in the 50 states to develop effective laws and policies, we believe that our comments to the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office will be invaluable to this assessment.
On April 20, 2010, the Department of Education issued a new policy document revoking the harmful 2005 Additional Clarification that weakened schools’ obligations under Title IX to provide women and girls with equal athletic opportunities.