Burnishing The Mirror of Democracy

On Dec, 10, 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt was the United States representative as the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "It seems to me that America's objective today should be to try to make herself the best possible mirror of democracy that she can," she later said. "The people of the world can see what happens here. They watch us to see what we are going to do and how well we can do it."

This remains true today, especially in the Middle Eastern and North African countries rewriting their constitutions in the wake of the Arab Spring. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads a global drive to support formal recognition in these budding democracies of rights for the women who marched, organized and put their lives on the line beside the men to end entrenched dictatorships. President Obama has spoken out, and led by its women members, the Senate has passed bipartisan resolutions of support.
 
But that is not enough to achieve lasting change. The United States cannot be "the best possible mirror of democracy" in pushing for women's human rights, because we are one of only six countries that have not yet ratified CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
 
Distributed by American Forum. Linda Tarr-Whelan is the co-chair the Advisory Committee for the CEDAW Education Initiative of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights