[Senate Hearing 111-1143]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


                                                       S. Hrg. 111-1143

 
WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS: U.S. RATIFICATION OF THE CONVENTION ON 
  THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW)

=======================================================================

                                HEARING

                               before the

                SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE LAW

                                 of the

                       COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                     ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS

                             SECOND SESSION

                               ----------                              

                           NOVEMBER 18, 2010

                               ----------                              

                          Serial No. J-111-114

                               ----------                              

         Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary

WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS: U.S. RATIFICATION OF THE CONVENTION ON 
  THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW)




                                                       S. Hrg. 111-1143

WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS: U.S. RATIFICATION OF THE CONVENTION ON 
  THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW)

=======================================================================

                                HEARING

                               before the

                SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE LAW

                                 of the

                       COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                     ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS

                             SECOND SESSION

                               __________

                           NOVEMBER 18, 2010

                               __________

                          Serial No. J-111-114

                               __________

         Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



                  U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
71-956                    WASHINGTON : 2012
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                       COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

                  PATRICK J. LEAHY, Vermont, Chairman
HERB KOHL, Wisconsin                 JEFF SESSIONS, Alabama
DIANNE FEINSTEIN, California         ORRIN G. HATCH, Utah
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin       CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, Iowa
ARLEN SPECTER, Pennsylvania          JON KYL, Arizona
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York         LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois          JOHN CORNYN, Texas
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         TOM COBURN, Oklahoma
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, Rhode Island
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
EDWARD E. KAUFMAN, Delaware
AL FRANKEN, Minnesota
            Bruce A. Cohen, Chief Counsel and Staff Director
                  Matt Miner, Republican Chief Counsel

                Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law

                 RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois, Chairman
RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois          TOM COBURN, Oklahoma
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin       LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JOHN CORNYN, Texas
EDWARD E. KAUFMAN, Delaware
ARLEN SPECTER, Pennsylvania
                      Joseph Zogby, Chief Counsel
                 Brooke Bacak, Republican Chief Counsel


                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              

                    STATEMENTS OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS

                                                                   Page

Cardin, Hon. Benjamin, a U.S. Senator from the State of Maryland, 
  prepared statement.............................................   109
Coburn, Hon. Tom, a U.S. Senator from the State of Oklahoma, 
  prepared statement.............................................   151
Durbin, Hon. Richard J., a U.S. Senator from the State of 
  Illinois.......................................................     1
    prepared statement...........................................   162
Feinstein, Hon. Dianne, a U.S. Senator from the State of 
  California, prepared statement.................................   183
Leahy, Hon. Patrick J., a U.S. Senator from the State of Vermont, 
  prepared statement.............................................   234
Specter, Hon. Arlen, a U.S. Senator from the State of 
  Pennsylvania...................................................     3

                               WITNESSES

Bagenstos, Samuel R., Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney 
  General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 
  Washington, DC.................................................     6
Davis, Geena, Actor and Founder, The Geena Davis Institute on 
  Gender in Media, Marina Del Ray, California....................    14
Frogh, Wazhma, Women's Rights Activist, Afghan Women's Network, 
  and Recipient of U.S. Department of State's International Women 
  of Courage Award, Afghanistan..................................    12
Greenberger, Marcia D., Co-President, National Women's Law 
  Center, Washington, DC.........................................    17
Groves, Steven, Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow, Margaret 
  Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation, 
  Washington, DC.................................................    16
Verveer, Ambassador Melanne, Ambassador-at-Large, Office of 
  Global Women's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Washington, 
  D.C............................................................     5

                         QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Responses of Samuel R. Bagenstos to questions submitted by 
  Senator Coburn.................................................    27
Responses of Geena Davis to questions submitted by Senator Coburn    33
Responses of Marcia D. Greenberger to questions submitted by 
  Senator Coburn.................................................    35
Responses of Steven Groves to questions submitted by Senator 
  Coburn.........................................................    38
Responses of Melanne Verveer to questions submitted by Senators 
  Cardin and Coburn..............................................    45

                       SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD

Abou-Habib, Lina, Executive Director of the Collective for 
  Research and Training on Development, Toronto Ontario, Canada, 
  statement......................................................    70
Afkhami, Mahnaz, Founder and President, Women's Learning 
  Partnership, and Former Minister for Women's Affairs, Iran, 
  Bethesda, Maryland, statement..................................    72
Advocates for Youth, James Wagoner, President, Washington, DC, 
  statement......................................................    74
American Association of University Women, Washington, DC, 
  statement......................................................    76
AAUW Massachusetts, Catherine Schindewolf, Public Policy Chair, 
  and Elizabeth Fragola, President, Massachusetts, letter........    78
American Bar Association, Stephen N. Zack, President, Washington, 
  DC, statement..................................................    79
American Civil Liberties Union, Laura W. Murphy, Director, 
  Washington, DC, statement......................................    82
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 
  Christina Hoff Sommers, Resident Scholar, Washington, DC, 
  statement......................................................    87
American Jewish Committee, E. Robert Goodkind, President Emeritus 
  and Chair, and Richard T. Foltin, Director, Washington, DC, 
  November 16, 2010, joint letter................................    92
American Psychological Association, Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, 
  Executive Director, Public Interest Directorate, Washington, 
  DC, statement..................................................    93
Americans United for Life, William L. Sanders, Senior Vice 
  President and Senior Counsel, Washington, statement............    97
Amnesty International USA, New York, New York, statement.........    99
Amnesty International USA, Alice Dahle, Coordinator for Iowa, 
  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, November 14, 2010, letter..................   103
Aurat Foundation, Naeem Ahmed Mirza, Chief Operating Officer, 
  Islamabad, Pakistan, letter....................................   104
Boxer, Hon. Barbara, a U.S. Senator from the State of California, 
  prepared statement.............................................   105
Break the Cycle, Juley Fulcher, Director of Policy Programs, 
  Washington, DC, November 16, 2010, letter......................   107
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), Tara 
  Shabazz, Executive Director, Sacraments, California, letter....   108
Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), Susan 
  Yoshihara, Vice President and Director of Research, New York, 
  New York, statement............................................   111
Catholics for Choice, Jon O'Brien, President, Washington, DC, 
  November 18, 2010, letter......................................   117
Center for International Human Rights at John Jay College of 
  Criminal Justice, Rebecca Landy, Assistant Director, New York, 
  New York, November 15, 2010, letter............................   118
Center for International Law and Policy, Boston, Massachusetts, 
  statement......................................................   119
Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, New York, statement....   131
Center for Women's Global Leadership, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 
  joint statement................................................   136
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Serra Sippel, 
  President, Washington, DC, November 15, 2010, letter...........   140
Church Women United (CWU), Margurite Carter, National President, 
  Washington, DC, resolution.....................................   142
City and County of San Francisco, Emily M. Murase, Executive 
  Director, San Francisco, California, November 16, 2010, letter.   143
Citizens for Global Solutions, Washington, DC, statement.........   145
Coalition of Labor Union Women, Karen J. See, President, 
  Washington, DC, November 16, 2010, letter......................   149
Davis, Geena, Actor and Founder, The Geena Davis Institute on 
  Gender in Media, Marina Del Ray, California, statement.........   153
Demos, Linda Tarr-Whelan, Distinguished Senior Fellow, New York, 
  New York, statement............................................   155
de Langis, Theresa, Hooksett, New Hampshire, November 18, 2010, 
  letter.........................................................   158
de Montis, Malena, Founder and Board Member, Fodem-Cenzontle, 
  Managua, Nicaragua, statement..................................   159
DeMuro, Karen Herman, President, Zonta Club of Oak Park, Oak 
  Park, Illinois, letter.........................................   161
Else, Sue, President, National Network to End Domestic Violence, 
  Washington, DC:
    statement....................................................   164
    November 17, 2010, Letter....................................   175
Equal Justice Society (EJS), Eva Paterson, President, San 
  Francisco, California, November 17, 2010, letter...............   176
Family Care International, New York, New York, statement.........   178
Family Watch International, Gilbert, Arizona, statement..........   179
Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO), Kathleen 
  Simon, President, statement....................................   182
Fonte, John, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Washington, DC, 
  statement......................................................   188
Fraser, Arvonne, former U.S. Ambassador, United Nations 
  Commission on the Status of Women, New York, New York, 
  statement......................................................   199
General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist 
  Church, James E. Winkler, General Secretary, Washington, DC, 
  November 15, 2010, letter......................................   200
Global Justice Ministry, Metroplitan Community Churches, Rev. Pat 
  Bumgardner, Chair, New York, New York, November 12, 2010, 
  letter.........................................................   201
Global Summit of Women, Irene Natividad, President, Washington, 
  DC, November 12, 2010, letter..................................   202
Greenberger, Marcia D., Co-President, National Women's Law 
  Center, Washington, DC.........................................   203
Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization, Inc., Nancy Falchuk, 
  National President, New York, New York, statement and 
  attachments....................................................   207
Henderson, Wade, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on 
  Civil and Human Rights, Washington, DC, statement..............   210
Human Rights First, Tad Stahnke, Director of Policy and Programs, 
  Washington, DC, statement......................................   213
Human Rights Watch, Washington, DC, statement....................   215
Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV), Paul Kurtz, 
  Chairman; Stu Jordan, President; and Jesse Christopherson, 
  Communications, Amherst, New York, November 17, 2010, letter...   219
International Center for Research on Women, (ICRW), Sarah Degnan 
  Kambou, President, Washington, DC, November 18, 2010, letter...   220
International Convocation Unitarian Universalist Women, Christine 
  Nielson, Vice President, Houston, Texas, November 18, 2010, 
  letter.........................................................   222
International Women's Health Coalition, New York, New York, 
  letter.........................................................   223
Iowa United Nations Association, Yashar Vasef, Executive 
  Director, Iowa City, Iowa, letter..............................   224
IWRAW Asia Pacific, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, statement............   225
JBI, Felice Gaer, Director, New York, New York, statement........   227
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), Josh Protas, Vice 
  President and Washington Director, Washington, DC, November 15, 
  2010, letter...................................................   230
Just Associates (JASS), Lisa VeneKlasen, Executive Director, 
  Washington, DC, November 15, 2010, letter......................   231
Justice Now, Robin S. Levi, Human Rights Director, Statement.....   232
Legal Momentum, Rachael Pine, Acting President; Lisalyn R. 
  Jacobs, Vice President for Government Relations, Washington, 
  DC, November 16, 2010, letter..................................   236
Liebowitz, Debra, Associate Professor of Political Science and 
  Women's Studies, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, 
  statement......................................................   237
Maloney, Carolyn B., a Representative in Congress from the State 
  of New York, statement.........................................   241
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Washington DC, letter......   243
Melissa, statement...............................................   244
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), 
  Washington, DC, statement......................................   246
National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Washington, DC, 
  statement......................................................   250
National Committee on UN CEDAW, New York, New York, statement....   251
National Congress of American Indians, Washington, DC, statement.   254
National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc., (NACOPRW), 
  Washington, DC, statement......................................   261
National Education Association, Washington, DC, November 18, 
  2010, letter...................................................   262
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, Washington, DC, 
  statement......................................................   263
National Lawyers Guild, David Gespass, President, New York, New 
  York, November 16, 2010, letter................................   269
National Organization for Women, Phoenix-Scottsdale Chapter, 
  Scottsdale, Arizona, November 16, 2010, letter.................   271
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the U.S., Anthony 
  Vance, Director of External Affairs, Washington, DC, November 
  16, 2010, letter...............................................   272
9to5, National Association of Working Women, Linda Meric, 
  Executive Director, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 16, 2010, 
  letter.........................................................   273
Northeastern University School of Law, Dan Daielsen; Martha 
  Davis; Lucy Williams; Margaret Woo, Faculty Co-Directors, 
  Boston, Massachusetts, November 16, 2010, letter...............   274
O'Connor, Justice Sandra Day, Supreme Court of the U.S., 
  Washington, DC, November 17, 2010, letter......................   276
O'Neill, Terry, President, National Organization for Women and 
  NOW Foundation, Washington, DC, statement and attachment.......   277
Pathfinder International, Executive Team, Daniel Pellegrom, 
  President; Caroline Crosbie, Senior Vice President; Demet 
  Gural, Vice President, Programs; Erin Majernik, Vice President, 
  Resource Development; and Thomas Downing, Chief Financial 
  Officer, Field Office Heads, Susan White, Acting Country 
  Representative, Angola; Shabnam Shahnaz, Country 
  Representative, Bangledesh; Carlos Laudari, Director, 
  Pathfinder do Brasil; Carmen Pereira, Executive Coordinator, 
  Pathfinder do Brasil; Tanou Diallo, Country Representative, 
  Burundi; Alpha Mahmoud Barry, Chief of Party, Conakry Guinea; 
  Mohamed Abou Nar, Country Representative, Egypt; Tilahun Giday, 
  Country Representative, Ethiopia; Mengistu Asnake, Deputy 
  Country Representative, India; Darshana Vyas, Director, 
  Programs, India; Peter Eerens, Country Representative, Kenya; 
  Rita Badiani, Country Representative, Mozambique; Regina 
  Benevides, Chief of Party, Mozambique; Mohammad Murtala Mai, 
  Country Representative, Nigeria and Ghana; Jelilah Unia, 
  Project Director, Papua New Guinea; Mustafa Kudrati, Country 
  Representative, Tanzania; Ton Van Der Velden, Country 
  Representative, Vietnam; Linda Casey, Project Director, 
  Washington, DC; Waterford, Ireland, November 15, 2010, joint 
  statement......................................................   287
Pennsylvania NOW, Inc., Joanne L. Tosti-Vasey, President, 
  Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, statement and attachments............   289
Pitanguy, Jacqueline, Founder and Executive Director, CEPIA, 
  CidADANIA Estudo Pequisa, Brazil, statement....................   315
Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Rev. W. Mark Koenig, 
  Director, New York, New York, November 16, 2010, letter........   316
Public Health Institute, Suzanne Petroni, Vice President, 
  Washington, DC, November 12, 2010, letter......................   317
Rabkin, Jeremy, Professor of Law, George Mason University, School 
  of Law, Arlington, Virginia, statement.........................   318
Rachel Coalition, Suzanne Groisser, Esq., Coordinator of Legal 
  Services, Montclair, New Jersey, letter........................   325
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Mark J. Pelavin, 
  Associate Director, Washington, DC, statement..................   326
Roosevelt Institute, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Chair, New York, New 
  York, statement................................................   328
Sakhi for South Asian Women, New York, New York, statement.......   330
Same Sky, Francine LeFrak, President and Founder, New York, New 
  York, letter...................................................   331
Sanctuary for Families, Dorchen Leidholdt, Center for Battered 
  Women's Legal Service, New York, New York, statement...........   332
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Mary Kay Henry, 
  President, Washington, DC, statement...........................   334
Sheffield, Jill, Founder and President, Women Deliver, New York, 
  New York, statement............................................   336
Smeal, Eleanor, President, Feminist Majority Foundation, 
  Arlington, Virginia, statement.................................   338
United Church of Christ, (Justice and Witness Ministries), Rev. 
  Lois M. Powell, Executive for Administration and Women's 
  Justice, Cleveland, Ohio, November 15, 2010, letter............   340
United Nations Association of the United States of America, Ellen 
  J. Fisher, President, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, statement............   342
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Arlington, 
  Virginia:
    Carol M. Poteat-Buchanan, November 17, 2010, letter..........   343
    Southern California Chapter; CeCe Sloan, President; Kim 
      Salter, Vice President; Lucy V. Parker, Board Member; 
      Patricia Bracho, Board Member; and Maggie Forster Schmitz, 
      National Board Member, November 17, 2010, joint letter.....   344
Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, Betty McGarvie 
  Crowley, Chair; Christine Nielsen; and Phyllis Marsh, 
  Annapolis, Maryland, November 18, 2010, joint letter...........   345
Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, Bruce Knotts, 
  Executive Director, New York, New York, statement..............   347
United Families International, Gilbert, Arizona, statement.......   349
U.S. International Council on Disabilities, Marca Bristo, 
  President, Washington, DC, November 18, 2010, letter...........   363
U.S. Women Connect, Alice Dahle, Iowa State Coordinator, 
  statement......................................................   365
U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration, womenandcuba.org, statement...   368
Van Buren, Jane A., Executive Director, Women Helping Battered 
  Women, Inc., Burlington, Vermont, statement....................   369
Women Donors Network, Donna P. Hall, President and Chief 
  Executive Officer, San Francisco, California, statement........   374
WomenNC, Beth Dehahan, Executive Director, Chapel Hill, North 
  Carolina, November 14, 2010, letter............................   376
Women Thrive Worldwide, Ritu Sharma, President, Washington, DC, 
  November 15, 2010, letter......................................   377
Women's City Club of New York, Ruth E. Acker, President, and 
  Marjorie Ives, Chair, Women's Issues Committee, New York, New 
  York, November 15, 2010, letter................................   378
Women's Intercultural Network, Julianne Cartwright Traylor, 
  Member, Global Adivsory Council, San Francisco, California, 
  statement......................................................   379
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Jane Addams, 
  First International President, Boston, Massachusetts, statement   381
Women's Media Center, New York, New York, statement..............   382
Women's Missionary Society, African Methodist Episcopal Church, 
  Shirley Hopkins Davis, President, Washington, DC, statement....   383
Woman's National Democratic Club, Washington, DC, statement......   385
Wright, Wendy, President, Concerned Women for America, 
  Washington, DC, statement......................................   386
Yacoobi, Sakena, Founder and Executive Director, Afghan Institute 
  of Learning, statement.........................................   393
Zonta Club of LaSalle-Peru Area, Ann Maxwell-Weisbrod, President, 
  LaSalle, Illinois, statement...................................   396
Zonta Club of Madison Wisconsin, Tamara Hagen, President, 
  Madison, Wisconsin, statement..................................   397
Zonta Club of Oak Park, Susan Barton, Stickney, Illinois, 
  November 15, 2010, letter......................................   399
Zonta International, Dianne K. Curtis, President, Oak Brook, 
  Illinois, statement............................................   400
Zonta International, District 6, Yvonne Vollman Chalfant, 
  Governor, Kankakee, Illinois, statement........................   402


WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS: U.S. RATIFICATION OF THE CONVENTION ON 
  THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW)

                              ----------                              


                      THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2010

                                       U.S. Senate,
                  Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law,
                                        Committee on the Judiciary,
        Washington, DC.
    The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:34 p.m., in 
room SD-226, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Richard J. 
Durbin, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
    Present: Senators Durbin and Specter.

  OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD J. DURBIN, A U.S. SENATOR 
                   FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

    Chairman Durbin. I want to apologize to those that have to 
wait in the hallway. We are checking on the availability of 
another room to see if we can accommodate this amazing turnout. 
And I do apologize in advance if we are unable to do that.
    I also know that Senator Boxer was at a Democratic Caucus 
meeting, which I just left, and so she may not be here.
    My name is Senator Dick Durbin--it is not actually 
``Senator.'' It is just Dick Durbin. And I am from Illinois, 
and I am the Chair of the Human Rights and the Law 
Subcommittee, which will please come to order.
    The title of today's hearing is ``Women's Rights Are Human 
Rights: U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination 
of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,'' known as CEDAW. 
I am going to make a brief opening statement. Senator Coburn 
will make an opening statement if and when he is here. And then 
I am going to recognize Senator Boxer if she has arrived at 
that moment.
    Last December, this Subcommittee held the first-ever 
Congressional hearing on U.S. compliance with our human rights 
treaty obligations. Today we focus on a treaty that the United 
States has not yet ratified--CEDAW. This is the first Senate 
hearing on CEDAW in 8 years, and this is the first time the 
Judiciary Committee has ever held a hearing on whether to 
ratify a human rights treaty. This is usually the province of 
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I would like to say 
on the record that I have spoken to Senator Kerry, who is 
totally supportive of our efforts.
    CEDAW is the only treaty to focus primarily on the human 
rights of women. It addresses issues like violence against 
women, sex trafficking, the right to vote, and access to 
education. Why do we need it? Because human rights of women and 
girls are violated at an alarming rate all over the world. One 
example: Violence against women is at epidemic levels. In South 
Asia, countless women and girls have been burned with acid, 
including Afghan girls attacked by the Taliban for the simple 
act of attending elementary school. And literally hundreds of 
thousands of women have been raped in the Democratic Republic 
of Congo and other conflict situations.
    I might say that I have personally visited the Democratic 
Republic of Congo twice. I returned to Goma after several 
years. They were shocked to see me come a second time. They 
said, ``no one ever comes back.'' And I went back to see an 
amazing effort at hospitals to serve women who are the victims 
of the cruelest abuses imaginable. It is a strange, awful 
situation in that country and many others in the developing 
world.
    This Subcommittee explored this horrible phenomenon in 2008 
with a hearing on rape as a weapon of war. CEDAW is not a cure-
all for these atrocities, but it has had a real impact in 
improving the lives of women and girls around the world.
    Some examples: CEDAW led to the passage of laws prohibiting 
violence against women in Afghanistan, Ghana, Mexico, and 
Sierra Leone. It led to women being granted the right to vote 
in Kuwait. And it helped give women the right to inherit 
property in Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. CEDAW has been 
ratified by 186 of 193 countries. Sadly, the United States is 
one of only seven countries in the world that has failed to 
ratify CEDAW, along with Iran, Somalia, and Sudan.
    CEDAW was transmitted to the Senate 30 years ago. Twice, in 
1994 and 2002, a bipartisan majority in the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee reported the treaty to the Senate floor, 
but the Senate has never voted on this treaty. Under Presidents 
Reagan, Bush--George H.W. Bush--and Clinton, the United States 
ratified similar agreements on genocide, torture, and race. It 
is time, I believe, to renew this proud bipartisan tradition 
and join the rest of the world in demonstrating our commitment 
to women's rights.
    Let us be clear. The United States does not need to ratify 
CEDAW to protect our own women and girls. Women have fought a 
long and difficult struggle for equal rights in America, with 
many victories along the way, and just to name a few: The 19th 
Amendment giving women the right to vote in 1920; Title IX 
prohibiting discrimination in education in 1972; the Pregnancy 
Discrimination Act of 1978; the Violence Against Women Act in 
1994; the election of the first woman as speaker of the House 
in 2007; and the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, 
the first bill signed into law by President Obama.
    Of course, the struggle for women's rights continues, and 
every year millions of American women and girls are subjected 
to domestic violence, rape, and human trafficking. And women 
who work full-time still only earn 77 cents for every dollar 
that a man is paid. That is why it is unfortunate that 
yesterday we failed to muster the 60 votes needed to proceed to 
the Paycheck Fairness Act.
    But the robust women's rights protections in U.S. law in 
many ways exceed the requirements of CEDAW. Even opponents of 
CEDAW acknowledge that ratifying CEDAW would not change U.S. 
law in any way. So why should we worry about it? Why even have 
a hearing on it?
    Throughout history, we have tried to be a leader in the 
world to advance human rights. But many times we have lost our 
credibility when other countries have challenged us. Retired 
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor sent us a letter 
yesterday, and I would like to quote it. She said: ``The 
Senate's failure to ratify CEDAW gives other countries a retort 
when U.S. officials raise issues about the treatment of women, 
and thus our non-ratification may hamper the effectiveness of 
the United States in achieving increased protection for women 
worldwide.''
    Justice O'Connor is right. We need to ratify CEDAW so that 
we can more effectively lead the fight for women's rights in 
corners of the globe where women and girls are subjected to the 
most extreme forms of violence and degradation simply for 
exercising their fundamental human rights.
    CEDAW is about giving women all over the world the chance 
to enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that American 
women have struggled long and hard to achieve. Women have been 
waiting for 30 years. The United States Senate should ratify 
this treaty without further delay.
    [Applause.]
    Chairman Durbin. I would like to invite those who do not 
have seats to take any empty chairs, including those at the 
podium. I do not want people standing. So many are waiting 
outside, and I know it is a hardship and a great sacrifice. So 
anyone who would like to take a seat, please be my guest.
    We are going to put in the record Senator Boxer's statement 
and Senator Feinstein's statement, as well as Senator Leahy's, 
the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Congresswoman 
Carolyn Maloney's statement.
    [The statements appears as a submission for the record.]
    Chairman Durbin. Senator Specter, would you like to make an 
opening statement?

STATEMENT OF HON. ARLEN SPECTER, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE 
                        OF PENNSYLVANIA

    Senator Specter. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I begin by 
thanking you for convening this very important hearing. This 
Convention has been ratified by 186 of the 193 countries 
involved, and it is a very important statement of international 
policy to respect the rights of women and to advance the cause 
of women.
    I note from the briefing materials that countries as 
diverse as Bangladesh, Mexico, Kenya, Kuwait, and Afghanistan 
have expanded rights and protection for women in education, 
voting, legal protections against violence, and property 
rights, all by leveraging the Convention on the Elimination of 
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
    We have taken steps to consider the Convention twice by the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which passed it in 1994 and 
the year 2002, but it has not been brought to the floor. And it 
is my hope that this hearing and other public attention will 
put some pressure to bring the matter to the floor.
    We passed the Lilly Ledbetter legislation during this 
session of Congress. Regrettably, we did not move ahead on the 
Paycheck Fairness Act yesterday. We have a requirement, as you 
may know, for 60 Senators to be in agreement before a bill is 
taken up, and some people--we were two votes short, and among 
those who voted no were some pretty big surprises, at least to 
me, and that has been caused by the gridlock which we have in 
Congress, which is well known worldwide, where there is a 
tremendous amount of obstructionism going on in the U.S. Senate 
today. Regrettably, this Convention is not at the top of the 
list. At the top of the list at the moment is the START Treaty, 
which is a serious matter of national defense. But that stopped 
the legislation on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and we have to 
persevere and move ahead.
    This is a very busy time for the Senate, regrettably, and I 
wanted to come by to lend my voice in support. Regrettably, I 
cannot stay long myself. But I thank you and I thank our 
distinguished array of witnesses for coming in today.
    Chairman Durbin. Senator Specter, thank you, not only for 
today but for your service to Pennsylvania and to America. You 
have been an extraordinarily strong voice on so many issues, 
and it is always great to be on your team. So thank you very 
much for being here.
    I also want to give personal thanks to Senator Patrick 
Leahy. As I mentioned, this is the first hearing on CEDAW in 
eight years, and I asked if the Judiciary Committee could hold 
it, and he said he would be more than happy to accommodate me, 
as did Senator Kerry.
    I also note that Senator Boxer is not here at this moment, 
but for the record, Senator Boxer chairs a critically important 
subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, the 
subcommittee on International Operations, Human Rights, 
Democracy, and Global Women's Issues. This is a subcommittee of 
her own creation and it reflects her important priorities.
    I am going to invite our first witness to the table here, 
Melanne Verveer. I will not tell you when Melanne and I first 
met, but it was in college so it goes back a few years. 
Ambassador Verveer serves as the first-ever ambassador-at-large 
for global women's issues at the State Department. President 
Obama created this position, which speaks volumes about the 
Administration's commitment to women's rights. Melanne is one 
of our nation's most prominent leaders on women's rights. She 
previously served as Chair and co-CEO of Vital Voices Global 
Partnership, which she co-founded. And prior to this, 
Ambassador Verveer served as an assistant to the President and 
chief of staff to the First Lady in the Clinton administration. 
Ambassador Verveer received her B.A. and M.A. from the highly 
regarded Georgetown University where, I am pleased to say, we 
were classmates.
    Ambassador Verveer, thank you for being here today, and the 
floor is yours.

 STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR MELANNE VERVEER, AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE, 
  OFFICE OF GLOBAL WOMEN'S ISSUES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 
                         WASHINGTON, DC

    Ambassador Verveer. Thank you so much, Chairman Durbin. 
Thank you for your leadership and for your extremely powerful 
statement just minutes ago and for this opportunity for all of 
us to come and talk about the importance of the Women's Treaty.
    I am very pleased to be here today with my colleague from 
the Department of Justice, Sam Bagenstos, and I also want to 
mention the heroic work of one of the witnesses who will follow 
us: Wazhma Frogh, who is here from Afghanistan. I know 
firsthand of her courage, and there is no one in this room who 
knows more personally what this treaty represents and the good 
that it has done in her own country.
    I want to talk today about the Women's Treaty and what is 
represents and why U.S. ratification is critical to our efforts 
to promote and defend the rights of women across the globe. And 
I hope that my full statement can be put in the record.
    Chairman Durbin. Without objection.
    Ambassador Verveer. Women's equality has rightly been 
called the ``moral imperative of the 21st century.'' Gender 
inequality and violations of women's human rights--including 
the use of rape as a tool of war, acid attacks, female 
infanticide, female genital mutilation, so-called honor 
killings, the trafficking of women and girls into modern-day 
slavery, and so much more--is nothing short of a humanitarian 
tragedy of enormous proportions around the globe. In far too 
many places, women are still prevented from participating fully 
in parliaments, village councils, peace negotiations. Their 
work is circumscribed or prevented altogether. The majority of 
the world's illiterate are women, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic has 
a woman's face, and the number of infections that grow are 
often those among adolescent girls who are victims of sexual 
violence.
    Where women cannot participate fully and equally in their 
societies, democracy is a contradiction in terms, economic 
prosperity is hampered, and stability is at risk. Standing up 
against this inequality and oppression and standing with the 
women of the world is what ratifying the Women's Treaty is 
about.
    In my time in the State Department, I have been privileged 
to visit many countries and meet with women from all walks of 
life. And one question I am asked wherever I go anywhere in the 
world is: Why has not the United States of America ratified 
CEDAW?
    The U.S. ratification of this treaty matters because the 
moral leadership of our country on human rights matters. The 
United States has long stood for the principles of equal 
justice, the rule of law, respect for women, the defense of 
human dignity, and women around the world look to us as a moral 
leader on human rights. And yet, when it comes to this treaty, 
we are one of a handful, as you said, among Iran, Somalia, and 
Sudan--states with some of the worst human rights records in 
the world. We are the only industrialized democracy in the 
world that has not ratified the Women's Treaty, and some 
governments, in fact, use that fact that we have not done so as 
a pretext for not living up to their own obligations under it. 
Importantly, ratification will also advance U.S. foreign policy 
and national security interests.
    President Obama's National Security Strategy recognizes 
that ``countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women 
are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity.'' And as 
Secretary Clinton has said, ``the subjugation of women is a 
threat to the national security of the United States. It is...a 
threat to the common security of our world, because the 
suffering and denial of the rights of women and the instability 
of nations go hand in hand.'' Ratification of this treaty is 
not only in the interest of oppressed women around the world; 
it is in our interest as well.
    Around the world, as you said, women are using the Women's 
Treaty as an instrument for empowerment and progress, and there 
are many accounts--there are a few in my testimony, examples of 
how countries are holding--how rights advocates for women's 
rights are holding their countries' commitments to the treaty 
to bring constitutions, laws, and policies in line with its 
principles of non-discrimination. And I have seen firsthand its 
positive influence.
    U.S. ratification will send a powerful and unequivocal 
message about our commitment to equality for women across the 
globe. It will lend much-needed validation and support to 
advocates fighting the brutal oppression of women and girls 
everywhere who seek to replicate in their own countries the 
strong protections against discrimination that you have listed 
earlier that we have here in the United States. And it will 
signal that the United States stands with the women of the 
world in their struggle for human rights.
    So for all of these reasons, we urge the Senate to move 
forward with ratification at the earliest possible opportunity.
    [The prepared statement of Ambassador Verveer appears as a 
submission for the record.]
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you, Madam Ambassador.
    Our next witness, Samuel Bagenstos, serves as the Principal 
Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division 
of the Justice Department. He is currently on leave as a 
professor from the University of Michigan Law School. He 
previously taught at Harvard, Washington University in St. 
Louis, and UCLA, and served as law clerk to Supreme Court 
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He is a graduate of the University 
of North Carolina with a law degree from Harvard. This is his 
second appearance before the Subcommittee. Mr. Bagenstos 
testified last year at our hearing on mental illness in U.S. 
prisons and jails.
    Thank you again for joining us and please proceed.

 STATEMENT OF SAMUEL R. BAGENSTOS, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT 
  ATTORNEY GENERAL, CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 
                    JUSTICE, WASHINGTON, DC

    Mr. Bagenstos. Thank you, Chairman Durbin. It is a 
privilege and pleasure to be here today to testify in support 
of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of 
Discrimination Against Women, or the Women's Treaty. The United 
States ratification of that treaty, as Ambassador Verveer said, 
would ensure that our nation's unequivocal commitment to 
advancing the rights of women around the world is communicated 
forcefully. We know that when women are denied access to their 
basic rights, families, communities, and entire nations suffer. 
The Women's Treaty will provide an important framework through 
which the United States can work with other governments, the 
international community, and individuals around the world to 
advance and promote the rights of women.
    Our Nation is already a global leader in the field of 
women's rights, and our existing laws and practices are broadly 
consistent with the requirements of the Women's Treaty. The 
Constitution itself prohibits sex-based classifications unless 
they have an ``exceedingly persuasive justification,'' the 
Court has said, a standard that the courts have applied to 
ensure that governmental classifications based on sex are not 
predicated on stereotypical or archaic ideas about the role 
women should play in our society. And numerous statutes that 
are discussed in my written testimony protect women against sex 
discrimination and violence.
    The Department of Justice is the primary enforcement agency 
for many of these statutes. In our enforcement, we have 
achieved significant gains for women and girls at home, at 
school, and in the workplace.
    One of the key goals of the Women's Treaty is to end 
violence against women. Congress and the Administration and 
this Committee have shared that goal. Since the enactment of 
the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, the Justice Department 
has prosecuted 2,600 cases typically involving the most 
aggressive and violent abusers who cross state lines to pursue 
their victims. The Department has also used stronger cyber 
stalking laws and the latest technology to prosecute cases that 
would be difficult for states to pursue. And we have awarded 
over $4 billion in grants to law enforcement and victim 
services for victims of domestic violence.
    Article 6 of the Women's Treaty specifically addresses the 
evils of human trafficking--evils that are well known by this 
Subcommittee. In 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 
established new penalties for perpetrators of sex trafficking; 
it provides for immigration and other benefits for victims, and 
it penalizes foreign countries that fail to address 
trafficking. In each of the past two fiscal years, the Civil 
Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. 
Attorneys' Offices have brought record numbers of human 
trafficking prosecutions. We have secured significant sentences 
against traffickers who have held victims, the overwhelming 
majority of whom are female, in servitude for forced labor or 
commercial sex.
    Article 10 of the treaty addresses discrimination on the 
basis of sex in education, and it emphasizes the importance of 
access by girls and women to equal educational opportunities. 
The Justice Department, together with the Department of 
Education, enforces a number of laws that seek to ensure that 
women and girls have an equal opportunity at every level of 
education and are free from harassment at school. These laws 
include Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the 
basis for a successful challenge to the male-only admissions 
policy at the Virginia Military Institute. It includes Title IX 
of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits 
discrimination in federally funded education programs on the 
basis of sex and which we have applied in numerous lawsuits 
involving the denial of equal opportunities for female students 
to participate in athletics, in cases involving sexual 
harassment in school, and others.
    Just last month, the Department of Education released new 
guidance advising schools across the country of their 
responsibilities under Title IX to protect every student 
against harassment.
    Our employment discrimination laws also are broadly 
consistent with Article 11 of the Women's Treaty. Title VII of 
the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits sex discrimination, 
including pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. In 
the Department of Justice, we recently filed a lawsuit against 
Massachusetts to challenge its use of a physical fitness test 
that disproportionately excluded female applicants for entry-
level correctional officer jobs without effectively predicting 
job performance.
    The Department also enforces the Fair Housing Act and the 
Equal Credit Opportunity Act which prohibits sex discrimination 
in housing and lending, and we have brought numerous cases 
alleging sexual harassment in housing. These cases have 
resulted in the payment of millions of dollars in damages to 
female tenants as well as orders permanently barring sexual 
harassers from managing rental properties.
    President Obama has made a commitment to promoting the 
rights of women and girls, and the first bill he signed upon 
taking office, as you pointed out, Chairman, was the Lilly 
Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which I had the privilege of testifying 
in support of in a different capacity. That law restored basic 
protections against pay discrimination for women.
    To further address the wage gap, the President established 
a National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force; he established the 
White House Council on Women and Girls, which advises the 
administration on issues such as equal pay, family leave, child 
care, violence against women, and women's health care.
    In all of these ways, the United States has an extensive 
system of legal protections that protect women from 
discrimination and violence, and we are strongly committed to 
the vigorous enforcement and implementation of these laws at 
home, which are broadly consistent with the Women's Treaty.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to speak with 
you today, and I look forward to answering your questions.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Bagenstos appears as a 
submission for the record.]
    Chairman Durbin. Let me ask this panel a couple of 
questions, which are likely to be raised by my colleagues who 
may not be here today and some critics of this endeavor.
    The first is: Do the protections under the laws of the 
Constitution and the statutes of the United States exceed any 
protections included in CEDAW?
    Mr. Bagenstos. I think there are significant respects in 
which they do. The United States laws, as I have described to 
some extent here, and to a much greater extent in our written 
testimony, protect women and girls against discrimination and 
violence in a wide variety of settings which touch on many 
issues that are not addressed specifically in the Convention, 
in the Women's Treaty that we are talking about today. So, 
absolutely, our laws prohibiting sex discrimination are 
something we can be very proud of and something that should 
give us great confidence in ratifying this treaty.
    Chairman Durbin. As I understand it, there is a CEDAW 
Committee which comes forward with recommendations, and I 
assume in the course of debate there will be those who say, 
well, why should we allow this Committee to stand in judgment 
of the United States if our laws are already adequate? Why do 
we need to have some other panel, maybe not even composed of 
American citizens, standing in judgment of our conduct?
    Mr. Bagenstos. Well, I think there are a couple of 
important points there. First of all, the CEDAW Committee is a 
committee that has purely advisory responsibilities. It can 
make suggestions and recommendations that are not binding on 
states. So it does not have the authority to issue binding 
pronouncements on the United States.
    I will say the process of having acceded to a treaty like 
the Women's Treaty will be a very positive process. It will 
give us an opportunity in fora like the CEDAW Committee to tell 
the story of America and the great protections that we provide 
against discrimination for all people, and it will be a 
platform for the United States to exercise and show its moral 
leadership and not something that we should be afraid of.
    Chairman Durbin. Ambassador, go ahead.
    Ambassador Verveer. Senator, if I might, it is often raised 
by some who oppose the treaty that the work of the Committee is 
going to present us with a host of obstacles that we do not 
want to accede to. And I just want to reiterate that the 
committee's power only has the power that we cede to it. It 
merely is in the position to make suggestions and 
recommendations.
    If you look at what the Committee has done in some 
instances, we may not have agreed with much of it. But it does 
not bind us, and I think that is a very important point to 
underscore.
    Chairman Durbin. Can you think of any other treaties 
through which we are subjected to this sort of review of our 
conduct against our promise and what impact it has had on 
American laws?
    Ambassador Verveer. You know, we have had an experience 
that has been a very positive experience with the treaties that 
we have ratified, certainly the human rights treaties, and 
America has stood tall in all of those instances, and we have 
not been overburdened by them. And this seems to be held to a 
different standard for reasons that we all sit here some 30 
years later.
    Chairman Durbin. So let me ask you this question. You say 
that you have traveled around the world and met with other 
representatives, and that you have often been asked why CEDAW 
has spent 30 years sitting in the Senate, which I guess is just 
a short period of time by Senate standards but not by most 
human standards.
    [Laughter.]
    Chairman Durbin. Is it not true that most countries of the 
world, including even those that have failed to ratify this 
treaty, women in those countries would gladly welcome an 
opportunity to immigrate and live under our standards and laws? 
So do they think less of the way we treat women and girls? Or 
does it eliminate our authority or reduce our authority in 
addressing issues overseas?
    Ambassador Verveer. I think it takes a powerful tool away 
from us that we could hold onto. When most of the world 
ratifies a treaty that is about the elimination of 
discrimination, that is a powerful statement. And it is true 
many countries do not live up to that treaty, but we know how 
effectively that lever is for rights advocates to seize and to 
use effectively to bring about the kind of consistent 
application of the principles of the treaty to their own lives. 
We cannot say that we stand with them in terms of the treaty 
itself because we do not have that tool.
    You know, I have been thinking about this in terms of the 
Helsinki Accords and how many of the countries that adopted 
that those many years ago who did not comply with its 
provisions, and it was used very effectively by the dissidents, 
by the community who cared about freedom and all of the things 
associated with those accords to be a constant prod, to be in 
the bully pulpit, to make a difference on those strong human 
rights issues at the time.
    We cannot do that with this treaty because we have not 
signed on to it even though you are right. Our laws are in 
compliance in ways that are a shining beacon for the world, but 
that shine is somehow not as bright as it could be because for 
some reason we do not stand with most of the world on this 
treaty.
    Chairman Durbin. Mr. Bagenstos, would ratifying CEDAW force 
us to change any existing laws or create any new ones in the 
United States?
    Mr. Bagenstos. No. The treaty itself is not self--
executing. We would rely on our existing domestic laws to carry 
out the treaty, and it would not be judicially enforceable. And 
so the answer to that would be no.
    Chairman Durbin. You have undoubtedly followed the 
questioning of Supreme Court nominees. At least the last four 
that I can recall usually faced some question from the other 
side of the aisle about the impact of international law on 
America's decisions in our courts. To take it from the critics' 
point of view, does this subject us to being held to an 
international law standard different than our own?
    Mr. Bagenstos. In the United States courts, it would not do 
that because it is not self-executing. So it would not be 
enforceable by the judiciary.
    Chairman Durbin. Could you explain that term, ``self-
executing? ''
    Mr. Bagenstos. Yes, and I am sure that the Department of 
State would also probably be happy to discuss this, but the 
concept of a non-self-executing treaty means that, as a matter 
of domestic law, it is not enforceable in the United States 
courts. It is not something that would require a change in our 
domestic law. Our existing domestic law would be sufficient to 
carry out this treaty.
    Chairman Durbin. I am going to ask you a delicate question 
but an important one that will be a part of this political 
debate. Is there anything in the CEDAW treaty which would 
require us to change any laws, existing laws, relative to women 
when it comes to their reproductive rights or rights to 
marriage?
    Mr. Bagenstos. Well, certainly when the Foreign Relations 
Committee, as you know, in 2002 reported this treaty out 
favorably, it included a proposed package of reservations, 
understandings, and declarations, which the Committee 
determined were necessary in order to ensure that no American 
law would have to be changed.
    We are currently in the administration in a review process, 
an interagency review process of those 2002 reservations, 
understandings, and declarations, which is approaching its 
final stages, and we are trying to assess whether those are 
needed. We are happy to work with the Senate to develop an 
appropriate package of the reservations, understandings, and 
declarations that would enable the United States to sign on to 
this treaty and ensure that we would not need to change any 
existing law in order to do it.
    Chairman Durbin. My last question. Ambassador Verveer, have 
you seen in other countries situations where CEDAW or its 
impact has really changed the lives of women and young girls?
    Ambassador Verveer. Absolutely, Senator. It is utilized 
over and over. My formal testimony goes into several examples. 
You have alluded to some yourself. I know that Wazhma, I am 
sure, will talk about the experience in Afghanistan where it 
was used effectively to help pass the law to eliminate violence 
against women. It is true of anti-trafficking laws. It has been 
true of family law reforms. And it has been true of domestic 
violence laws.
    It is a powerful tool, and I hope that the United States 
can finally put it in our human rights arsenal as well.
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you very much for your testimony, 
Ambassador Verveer and Mr. Bagenstos. We appreciate your return 
to this Committee. You are always welcome.
    Mr. Bagenstos. Thank you.
    Chairman Durbin. We thank you for being here.
    We are now going to call before us the second panel. We are 
honored to welcome this distinguished panel. Each witness will 
have five minutes for an opening statement, and complete 
statements will be included in the record.
    If I could ask the witnesses on this panel to please remain 
at their seats and stand if they would, please, for the 
customary swearing-in of our public witnesses. If the witnesses 
would please raise their right hands? Do you solemnly swear 
that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
    Ms. Davis. I do.
    Ms. Frogh. I do.
    Ms. Greenberger. I do.
    Mr. Groves. I do.
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you. Let the record indicate that 
all four witnesses answered in the affirmative.
    I might say that the oath that I just administered was the 
sum and substance of my appearance in a movie last week, so I 
have trained for this job.
    [Laughter.]
    Chairman Durbin. Our first witness is Wazhma Frogh, one of 
the leading women's rights activists in Afghanistan. Ms. Frogh 
is the recipient of the State Department's International Women 
of Courage Award. She began advocating for women's rights at 
the age of 17 in Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan, 
and she never stopped. Ms. Frogh currently serves as the policy 
and advocacy specialist for the Afghan Women's Network, a 
coalition of 65 Afghan women's organizations. Previously, she 
was Afghanistan's country director for global rights. Ms. Frogh 
has a master's in law from the University of Warwick in 
international development and human rights.
    We are very honored to have you with us today, as we are 
with all of our panel witnesses. We thank you for traveling all 
the way from Afghanistan. Please proceed with your testimony. 
As I mentioned before, your entire written testimony will be 
made part of the record, so please proceed.

  STATEMENT OF WAZHMA FROGH, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST, AFGHAN 
 WOMEN'S NETWORK, AND RECIPIENT OF U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S 
       INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE AWARD, AFGHANISTAN

    Ms. Frogh. Thank you. Chairman Durbin and other members of 
the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify before you 
today on CEDAW and to describe Afghan women's experiences using 
the Convention to enhance women's rights. I need to say that my 
statements are only the struggles of civil society and women's 
rights organizations and do not represent the position of the 
Afghan Government.
    Growing up in Afghanistan, I noticed when I was around 10 
years old that my brothers were allowed to eat meat, but the 
girls were not. My grandmother believed that eating meat would 
make girls strong and they would question and disobey the 
family's men. She advised my mother that the only way to guard 
the family's honor was to keep the girls under control.
    Similarly, girls were not allowed to play in the family's 
garden. They had only to clean it. But I broke that rule to 
play with my male cousins. Then my grandfather broke my toys 
into pieces as an illustration of my own fate if I should break 
family rules again. Those early experiences made me determined 
to improve the situation for girls and women in my country.
    The story of Afghan women is the story of survival. During 
the Taliban, women were not allowed to work or get out of their 
homes. The Taliban burned down girls' schools, assaulted with 
acid burnings, and even cut women's parts of bodies.
    Yet we survived that era, most of us vanishing into our 
homes, leaving our jobs and education, others living in poverty 
as refugees in neighboring countries. Emerging from those dark 
days, we have fought hard to get back our basic rights.
    Essential to that struggle has been the international 
women's treaty known as CEDAW, the Convention on the 
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The 
rights we yearn for in my country are taken for granted by most 
American women and girls, and for them CEDAW might be an 
abstract thing. But the U.S. Senate is about to consider 
whether to ratify CEDAW, and I would like to assure you that 
the U.S. ratification of this treaty would be an enormous help 
and a great triumph for the women of Afghanistan. Let me tell 
you why.
    CEDAW has been a banner, a torch we have held high, as we 
have made our journey toward basic rights. Afghan women have 
been mobilized under Afghan Women's Network which is the 
organization I represent here. It is a network of over 65 
women's organizations and over 3,000 members throughout the 
country.
    In 2004, while Afghanistan was developing its constitution, 
we in the network looked up to CEDAW's materials and framework 
as the world's consensus of what women's equality looks like in 
policy and the law. We used its terms to advocate for the 
adoption of Article 22 in our constitution, which for the first 
time states that Afghan women and men are equal before the law.
    Another major success of our network was the adoption of 
the first-ever elimination of violence against women law 
(EVAW). In a country where violence against women is everyday 
reality, this enactment was not easy. The law made rape a crime 
for the first time in Afghanistan and nullified forced 
marriages and early marriages without the consent of girls, 
punishing the perpetrators with imprisonment. This approach was 
guided by CEDAW's Article 16, which makes the state responsible 
for eliminating discrimination around issues of marriage and 
family matters.
    Women in Afghanistan have been deprived of the right to own 
land and other assets, but this law of elimination of violence 
against women is changing that fact. An example is Hamida. 
After her husband was killed, her in-laws threw her out of her 
home, with her eight children. Our network gave Hamida shelter 
and discovered that she owned her husband's home as part of her 
informal marriage contract. Our lawyers used the EVAW law, the 
elimination of violence against women law, to successfully go 
to court, and today Hamida lives with her children in her own 
home and has a job as a cook. Ten years ago, I could not even 
imagine that we could use our laws to help Afghan women.
    These are only a few of our many achievements using the 
terms of CEDAW. They have created a foundation and a base for 
women's rights that we have never had before. More than 48 
countries are present in Afghanistan, with obvious and hidden 
political motives, so only an international instrument with a 
universal and common agenda for women's rights could work for 
us. We believe that women's rights enshrined in CEDAW are 
universal and should be defended for all women around the 
world. Therefore, we always expected the United States as a 
bastion of freedom and a global leader on women's rights to 
ratify CEDAW as a further demonstration of its commitment to 
women's rights.
    U.S. ratification of CEDAW is of huge international 
significance. Even in Afghanistan, thousands of miles away, 
conservative elements use this fact that America has not 
ratified CEDAW to attack us. They ask us, ``why hasn't the 
United States ratified CEDAW? '' Today we do not have an 
answer. Perhaps one day soon, if the Senate ratifies CEDAW, we 
can answer them back.
    Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Frogh appears as a 
submission for the record.]
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you so much, not only for being here 
and your testimony, but also for the fact that you have 
dedicated your life to this struggle. And for many of us, it is 
almost unimaginable what you have gone through, and I thank you 
for being here today to tell us that story. It means a lot.
    Our next witness is Geena Davis, originally from 
Massachusetts, which she told me today, an Academy Award-and 
Golden Globe-winning actress. I think it says ``actor.'' I am 
never quite sure when I watch the Oscars----
    Ms. Davis. Well, you know, the definition in the 
dictionary----
    Chairman Durbin. You want to put the microphone on.
    Ms. Davis. Sorry. This is just a little side discussion, 
but----
    Chairman Durbin. This is a gender discussion.
    Ms. Davis. A gender discussion, yes. The dictionary 
definition of ``actor'' is a person who acts. So we do not 
actually need ``actress.'' It is going to sound soon as quaint 
as ``doctoress'' or ``poetess'' or ``authoress.''
    Chairman Durbin. ``Senatress,'' yes.
    [Laughter.]
    Chairman Durbin. Well, thank you very much.
    Ms. Davis is well known for her ground-breaking portrayals 
of women in movies and television shows including ``Thelma and 
Louise,'' where she should not be held responsible for reckless 
driving; ``A League of Their Own,'' where she played a woman 
baseball star; and ``Commander In Chief,'' where she played our 
nation's first woman president. Ms. Davis is a long-time 
advocate for women. She founded the Geena Davis Institute on 
Gender in Media, which aims to reduce gender stereotyping in 
media. Ms. Davis has also partnered with UNIFEM to change the 
way media portrays women and girls. She has also worked with 
the Women's Sports Foundation for more than a decade, 
supporting Title IX and girls' participation in sports.
    I thank you for being here today and coming earlier for a 
little press conference. Please proceed with your testimony.

 STATEMENT OF GEENA DAVIS, ACTOR AND FOUNDER, THE GEENA DAVIS 
    INSTITUTE ON GENDER IN MEDIA, MARINA DEL RAY, CALIFORNIA

    Ms. Davis. My pleasure. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am 
honored for this opportunity to testify today on the Convention 
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against 
Women. The United States was instrumental in formulating this 
treaty, as with so many other human rights treaties. The 
Women's Treaty is at once symbolic and practical, reflecting 
fundamental American values about human rights and freedom from 
discrimination.
    I came by my passion for this issue as a mother and through 
my work with some very inspiring organizations, as the Chairman 
said. I have spent most of my adult life advocating for women 
and girls on the board of the White House Project, for 10 years 
as a trustee of the Women's Sports Foundation. I have also been 
appointed a commissioner on the California Commission on the 
Status of Women. Six years ago, I founded my research institute 
on gender in children's media and, finally, as I need hardly 
point out, I was the first woman President of the United 
States.
    [Laughter.]
    Ms. Davis. So I have some authority on this issue.
    My partnership with U.N. Women, formerly UNIFEM, is very 
important to me to help the voices of women to be heard and to 
encourage more coverage of and focus on issues important to 
women across the globe.
    Now, I was amazed when I first learned that the United 
States is one of only seven countries that have not ratified 
CEDAW, putting us in the company, as you have heard, of Iran, 
Somalia, and Sudan. America is a longstanding global leader in 
human rights. It is critically urgent now for the United States 
to stand with the 186 countries that have ratified the treaty 
rather than with the company we are currently keeping. That is 
an image of America we cannot allow to continue for one more 
day.
    Because I am privileged enough to live in this country, I 
can encourage my three young children to engage in any type of 
interests or activities or sports that they may want to pursue. 
What I need is for my two sons and my daughter to see a world 
where the same possibilities and opportunities our children 
enjoy in the United States are available in the rest of the 
world--a world where women and girls are valued equally to men 
and boys and have the freedom to pursue and achieve their 
dreams.
    The Women's Treaty has forwarded this vision to many 
countries throughout the world. It is fundamentally about the 
importance of freedom from violence and discrimination for 
women around the world. It is about making sure girls are just 
as valued as boys.
    What is the urgency of ratifying CEDAW now, right now, this 
year? It is urgent because, as Nobel Prize-winning economist 
Amartya Sen tells us, there are more than 100 million missing 
women in developing countries who die of cumulative neglect 
because they are continually treated differently than men, 
especially in health care, medical attention, access to food, 
et cetera. It is urgent because every year at least another 2 
million girls die worldwide because of inequality and neglect. 
It is urgent because the lives of so many women and girls are 
at stake. It is urgent because the United States cannot stand 
with Iran, Somalia, and Sudan any longer. Let us instead stand 
as leader, example, and inspiration to the rest of the world.
    Mr. Chairman, thank you once again for this opportunity to 
testify.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Davis appears as a 
submission for the record.]
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you. I will have a few questions 
after all the witnesses have testified.
    Our next witness is Steven Groves. He is the Bernard and 
Barbara Lomas Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center for 
Freedom at the Heritage Foundation. Prior to joining the 
Heritage Foundation, Mr. Groves was senior counsel to the U.S. 
Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Earlier he was 
an associate with the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner and an 
assistant attorney general for the State of Florida. He 
received his B.A. from Florida State University and his law 
degree from Ohio Northern University.
    Mr. Groves, thank you for being here and please proceed 
with your testimony.

 STATEMENT OF STEVEN GROVES, BERNARD AND BARBARA LOMAS FELLOW, 
MARGARET THATCHER CENTER FOR FREEDOM, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION, 
                         WASHINGTON, DC

    Mr. Groves. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for allowing 
me to come and testify about this treaty today, and although I 
do feel just a slight bit outnumbered here, I do appreciate the 
opportunity to come and play devil's advocate.
    Last week, on November 9, State Department legal adviser 
Harold Koh explained to the U.N. Human Rights Council why the 
United States was not yet a party to CEDAW and other human 
rights treaties. Mr. Koh said, ``Under our Constitution, treaty 
ratification requires not just executive approval, but also the 
consent of our Senate, which requires a super majority two-
thirds vote. That is why the United States has often pursued a 
practice of `compliance before ratification' in contrast to the 
practice of `ratification before compliance' that some other 
nations may pursue.'' And that, I submit today, is indeed the 
main obstacle to U.S. membership in CEDAW. The United States 
will never be in full compliance with CEDAW and, therefore, 
would be making a mistake if it ever ratified the treaty.
    The reason why the United States will never be in full 
compliance with CEDAW is not due to our nation's record on 
women's rights, which I submit compares very well to the 
records of other nations. The reason why the U.S. will never be 
in full compliance is because our laws and our social, 
political, and cultural norms will never conform to the views 
of the committee that has been empowered to determine whether 
member states are in compliance.
    The CEDAW committee, rather than performing the technical 
advisory function for which it was designed, has transformed 
itself over time into a quasi-judicial entity that hands down 
definitive rulings, or at least rulings that it deems to be 
definitive, on compliance with the provisions of the treaty. 
The result of this transformation is a committee that regularly 
instructs CEDAW members to engage in social engineering on a 
grand scale.
    For instance, Article 5 of CEDAW compels members of the 
treaty to ``modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct 
of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of . 
. . all . . . practices which are based on . . . stereotyped 
roles for men and women.'' The CEDAW Committee has cited this 
article over the years to oblige member states to seek the 
modification of the roles of men and women as husbands and 
wives, as mothers and fathers, and as caregivers and 
breadwinners.
    The committee appears to have particular contempt for the 
role of women as mothers--a role that is, of course, common 
normative behavior in the United States. In 1999, for example, 
the committee criticized Ireland for ``the persistence of the 
emphasis on the role of women as mothers and caregivers that 
tends to perpetuate sex role stereotypes and constitutes a 
serious impediment to the full implementation of the 
Convention.''
    In 2000, as you may know, the committee issued its now 
famous admonition to Belarus in which it referred to Mothers' 
Day as a stereotypical symbol that encouraged traditional 
roles.
    Other issues, like prostitution, have been treated by the 
committee not as a crime that should be discouraged but, 
rather, as a reality that must be tolerated. In 2001, for 
example, a Guinean representative told the committee that 
prostitution was a ``social scourge'' in Guinea that had been 
rejected and condemned by its society. Undaunted, the committee 
ignored Guinea's views and instead urged the government not to 
``penaliz[e] women who provide sexual services.''
    In 1999, the Committee told the Chinese delegation that it 
was ``concerned that prostitution...is illegal in China'' and 
directed China to decriminalize it.
    The CEDAW Committee has rendered opinions on several other 
controversial legal and moral issues that fall outside of 
existing U.S. law and practice, including the use of gender 
quotas to achieve de facto equality and directing governments 
to ease their restrictions on abortion. These actions by the 
CEDAW committee beg the question, Mr. Chairman: Why would the 
United States join a treaty in which it would be consistently 
held to be in violation? The United States should only ratify 
those treaties that advance U.S. national interests, and it 
does not advance our interests, I submit, to submit ourselves 
to scrutiny by a committee of so-called gender experts that has 
repeatedly demonstrated its divergence with American legal, 
social, and cultural norms.
    Instead of seeking membership in CEDAW, the U.S. would be 
better served by continually reviewing its implementation of 
existing laws barring gender discrimination in all spheres of 
American life. I submit that Congress and American civil 
society are far better positioned than the CEDAW committee to 
conduct those reviews.
    Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward to 
answering any questions you may have.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Groves appears as a 
submission for the record.]
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you very much. I will have a few.
    Our final witness, Marcia Greenberger, is in my written 
testimony here--and I would agree with it--an icon--how about 
that?--of the women's rights movement. How about that? Ms. 
Greenberger is founder and co-president of the National Women's 
Law Center. When she started the center over 35 years ago, she 
became the first full-time women's rights advocate in 
Washington, D.C., right out of high school. Ms. Greenberger is 
widely recognized as an expert on women and the law. For 
decades she has been involved with landmark legislation and 
litigation establishing legal protections for women. She has 
received too many awards for me to list. There is not an 
important hearing relative to human rights or civil rights that 
Marcia Greenberger is not in the room for or sitting at the 
table for.
    That says a lot about you, Marcia.
    Ms. Greenberger received her B.A. and J.D. from the 
University of Pennsylvania, and I now give you the floor.

  STATEMENT OF MARCIA D. GREENBERGER, CO-PRESIDENT, NATIONAL 
              WOMEN'S LAW CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.

    Ms. Greenberger. Thank you very much for this opportunity 
to testify and for that overly generous introduction, which I 
must admit my mother would love and probably I could count on 
her, at least, as taking as accurate.
    It is a great privilege to be able to testify at this 
important hearing about CEDAW, the Women's Treaty, which 
affirms principles of equality for women and, as has been 
discussed, those are the principles that embody American law 
and values. The National Women's Law Center is proud to be a 
part of the over 160-member CEDAW Task Force, working under the 
auspices of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human 
Rights, which strongly urges the Senate to ratify CEDAW. And it 
is a sign of the importance of the Women's Treaty that so many 
leaders of this extraordinary coalition are in this room today. 
The Leadership Conference testimony that it has submitted, I 
believe, describes the breadth and the impressive nature of 
this coalition.
    By ratifying CEDAW, almost every other country in the world 
has affirmed the importance of progress for women and girls, 
and that the United States has not is deeply unfortunate. It 
fails to reflect our country's proud tradition of leadership on 
women's rights, and it pained me enormously to hear Ambassador 
Verveer, who is such an icon herself on behalf of women's 
rights around the world, to be asked repeatedly, as she does 
her important work, why the United States has not ratified 
CEDAW. Our failure to ratify has denied women and girls around 
the world U.S. leadership on the implementation of CEDAW, and 
it has denied women and girls in our own country the benefits 
of important lessons about effective strategies used in other 
countries. Simply put, U.S. ratification of the Women's Treaty 
will strengthen our longstanding role as a global leader 
standing up for women's rights and human rights.
    And our leadership is sorely needed. Of the 1.3 billion 
people living in poverty around the world, 70 percent are 
women. An estimated 5,000 women a year are killed in the name 
of honor for being a victim of rape or for talking to a man who 
is not a relative. Rape is used as a routine weapon of war in 
too many conflicts. Women and girls are crying out for the 
United States' assistance in the context of CEDAW and through 
the mechanism that CEDAW creates. This is not the time for the 
United States to be absent from such an important forum.
    CEDAW calls upon ratifying nations to take ``all 
appropriate measures,'' and that is something that is 
determined by each country for itself, to end discrimination 
against women and girls in education, employment, to prevent 
violence against women and trafficking, to promote women's 
health, to support parents seeking to balance work and family, 
to lift women out of poverty. These values are strongly 
supported by the American public, and U.S. law, as I believe 
all have said, is consistent with the principles set out in 
CEDAW.
    Of course, in the United States improvement is always 
needed. No one would disagree. But even though we have much to 
be proud of and room for improvement, we, like every other 
nation in the world, therefore, will be in a position because 
of that very fact for the women and girls in our country to 
benefit from the ratification of CEDAW.
    It will be a demonstration to our own women and girls that 
the United States officially stands behind their advancement at 
home, and at the same time, we have extraordinary successes in 
opening up opportunities for women and girls that can provide 
valuable lessons for other countries, and we will be able to 
bring those lessons to this forum.
    I want to say one other quick word about the issue that the 
United States somehow would be giving up its ability to decide 
what is appropriate and what are those appropriate measures and 
somehow lose any of our own sovereignty. With ratification, our 
officials would be the ones responsible for deciding what is 
appropriate to advance CEDAW's goals. The Supreme Court has 
made clear no treaty can override our Constitution. No 
decisions of any international court or body would be binding 
on the United States as a result of CEDAW. There are 10,000 
treaties currently in force in the United States, including 
multiple human rights treaties. They have not compromised 
United States' status as a sovereign nation. Neither would 
CEDAW.
    In closing, CEDAW stands for the fundamental proposition 
that women's rights are human rights. It is long overdue for 
the United States to bring its vision to this crucial effort to 
secure equality and justice for women and girls around the 
world and here at home.
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to testify.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Greenberger appears as a 
submission for the record.]
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you, Marcia Greenberger.
    Let me ask a few questions. First, to Ms. Frogh, it was 
about 15 years ago when Hillary Clinton, as First Lady, 
returned from a trip to Asia and spoke at a dinner in Chicago. 
And she said something that stuck with me to this day. She 
said: ``As you travel around the world and you see many nations 
confronted with terrible challenges--poverty and ignorance and 
discrimination,'' she said, ``if I could only ask one question 
to determine whether that nation had a chance to solve its 
problems, it would be this: How do you treat your women? ''
    And I thought about that as I traveled all over Asia and 
primarily in Africa and found it to be a very important seminal 
question, because if women are educated and part of the society 
and part of the leadership and have opportunity, it is always a 
much different story than those countries where that is not the 
case.
    Your testimony, Ms. Frogh, tells me you have not only lived 
this, but you could probably even better ask or answer that 
question. So tell me how you view it in terms of your life 
experience and what you have witnessed around the world about 
the role of women.
    Ms. Frogh. Thank you. I definitely agree with that question 
because for us especially in Afghanistan, what we see is that 
the way women are treated, the way women have challenges, or if 
their challenges are addressed, it actually addresses the 
societal level issues. So women's rights is a societal welfare 
issue as well.
    For example, in a country, if girls' faces are burned while 
going to school, what does it tell about the kind of government 
it is? For example, if in a country a woman's nose is cut off, 
what does it tell you about the kind of government that it has?
    So women's rights is a determining factor of the social 
stability and the way governments work, which starts from the 
law enforcement and justice. And we have seen that changing as 
well in Afghanistan. Particularly in the last nine years, we 
have struggled to use these international obligations--the 
terms, the frameworks--because we did not have any other back-
up before. So we use these international human rights treaties, 
we use CEDAW's terms, for example, to advocate for rights. When 
we were developing our first elimination of violence against 
women law, we took a lot of lessons.
    Of course, understanding that every country has its own 
context; every country has its own social structures. You 
cannot take it all for granted. But what we did is that we 
tried to understand what are the basic and very crucial aspects 
of CEDAW that could help the women of Afghanistan. There might 
be things that might be much more different in the United 
States and many other parts of the world. It was different for 
us as well.
    So the context has to be understood, but then CEDAW 
provided us with sort of a framework that we could use to lobby 
for women's rights.
    Chairman Durbin. Mr. Groves, have you had an opportunity to 
travel around the world?
    Mr. Groves. Not to Afghanistan, Mr. Chairman, but to China, 
Japan, and Europe, South America, Central America, but not in 
those conditions.
    Chairman Durbin. Would you agree with the premise of First 
Lady Clinton, now Secretary of State, that the status and 
opportunity and rights of women in a country are a good 
indicator of that country's chances to advance socially?
    Mr. Groves. Although I do not often agree with Secretary 
Clinton, I fully agree with that sentiment and that statement. 
America has experienced its greatest years since women's 
suffrage and the women's rights movement during the 1960s, and 
I am surrounded by strong women. So I agree with her.
    Chairman Durbin. I promise not to tell the Heritage 
Foundation what you said.
    [Laughter.]
    Mr. Groves. We have very strong women there as well, 
Senator.
    Chairman Durbin. But when you listen to Ms. Frogh tell the 
story about how this particular treaty really had an impact on 
her life and the life of women around her and still conclude 
that the United States should not ratify this treaty, do you 
feel conflicted?
    Mr. Groves. On the surface, yes, but more importantly, I am 
not conflicted when I see what really has to be done on the 
ground is what Ms. Frogh does, and that is what needs to be 
supported, women's civil society, funding micro finance, 
supporting the civil and political rights of women in 
Afghanistan, where true empowerment comes from. U.S. membership 
in it is only a commitment to the rest of the world of how our 
government will treat women within the United States. It does 
not have much to do or anything to do with how women are 
treated in Afghanistan, though CEDAW can provide a great 
framework for developing countries and countries where there is 
not a tradition of respecting women's rights.
    So I am not saying that this cannot be an important tool in 
many countries around the world. I just do not know in the 
balance of things and the cost/benefit analysis and when you 
are gauging the advancement of American interests whether U.S. 
membership is the right step.
    Chairman Durbin. Are you troubled or embarrassed by the 
company we are keeping with your point of view?
    Mr. Groves. Again, I know at first blush it is an 
interesting argument that we are somehow standing with Iran, 
Sudan, and Somalia by not being a party to the treaty. But I 
have never understood the argument, to be honest, Senator, 
because I thought that if we were joining with the treaty, are 
we then standing with Saudi Arabia, China, and Egypt, who, 
respectively, do not allow women to drive, engage in female 
infanticide, and engage in widespread or allow female genital 
mutilation. So to be honest, I have never understood the 
argument that we are standing with those bad guys if we are not 
a party and somehow not standing with some very disreputable 
countries if we were.
    Chairman Durbin. I guess the response is at least those 
countries which have fallen far short of the mark are willing 
to be judged on the international stage and the United States 
is not.
    I would like to ask you, Ms. Davis, you talked about the 
issue of stereotypes in movies and media of women. And Mr. 
Groves raised the question about the role of the committee 
here, the CEDAW committee, critical of some nations, Ireland in 
particular in his reference, for stereotyping certain women in 
negative roles as mothers and the like.
    What is your thought on that as you kind of reflect on what 
you have done?
    Ms. Davis. Right, well, as I said, what I mainly focus on 
is gender images in the first media that children consume, the 
reflection of society that we are showing to children, and for 
the most part our research shows that it is a world bereft of 
female presence, and the few female characters that are there 
are, as you said, often stereotyped in a very negative way, 
being hyper-sexualized, having no occupations or aspirations, 
and very one-dimensional characters.
    There is nothing to say that female characters that are 
playing what we would call traditional roles, like mothers or 
wives, are in any way negative. When we are talking about 
stereotyping, we are talking about negative stereotyping, 
images that send a bad message to women and girls.
    For example, we know that the more hours of television a 
girl watches, the more limited she believes her options are in 
life. So there is definitely a message coming through--and the 
more hours that a boy watches, the more sexist his views 
become. So there is definitely a message that is coming through 
very strongly that is negative toward women, which has nothing 
to do with their maternal role in society.
    Chairman Durbin. Which you have been able to combine with 
your professional role.
    Ms. Davis. Right, which I do, and so many women do. My 
concern about all of these issues is primarily based on being a 
mother and wanting my daughter and my sons to see boys and 
girls sharing the sandbox equally.
    Chairman Durbin. Mr. Groves, you have spent many more years 
practicing law than I ever did and undoubtedly know more about 
it. But I want to go into one particular point that you made 
here. When you referred to the CEDAW committee as a quasi-
judicial committee, if I express an opinion here as a senator, 
or on the floor, about the conduct of someone or some 
organization, whether it is an organization I belong to or one 
I do not belong to, it certainly does not have the force of 
law. I cannot say that I am upset about the recruiting 
practices of a certain organization on the floor and expect 
tomorrow to have the U.S. Marshals show up and arrest somebody. 
I am entitled to my point of view, but it carries with it no 
authority to exercise any jurisdiction or rights over that 
organization. So I am hardly a judge and jury. I express my 
point of view.
    Not true when it comes to a court. If a court issues an 
order, particularly in a criminal setting, it is going to be 
enforced by our government.
    So do you believe that the CEDAW committee is closer to 
Durbin expressing his point of view on the Senate floor or 
closer to a court of law that expresses an opinion to be 
enforced by a government?
    Mr. Groves. Well, Mr. Chairman, I would put them somewhere 
in between. When you sign on to a human rights treaty like 
CEDAW, you are making an international political commitment to 
enforce the commitments within that treaty, to pass laws and to 
enforce those laws, and then every four years you are called to 
account for whether you are complying with your commitment. And 
the judges and juries, but not the U.S. Marshals, but the 
judges and juries are sitting in Geneva and New York, and they 
decide by making recommendations and statements whether you are 
in compliance with the treaty. And the main point of my oral 
testimony was they are so often of an opinion that is outside 
of the American mainstream, and so the question would be: Why 
do we become part of such a treaty if we know ahead of time 
that we are going to be in violation of it every four years?
    Chairman Durbin. So let us use one of your examples: 
Belarus, the alleged condemnation by the CEDAW committee of 
Mothers' Day as a stereotype. So after that alleged 
condemnation, or recommendation, by the CEDAW committee, of the 
186 nations in the world, how many eliminated and banned 
Mothers' Day?
    Mr. Groves. I doubt any of them did, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Durbin. Right. So----
    Mr. Groves. Well, they are in violation of their treaty 
obligations, I suppose.
    Chairman Durbin. Really? It strikes me that there are only 
recommendations and observations to be followed. They do not 
have the force of law in any country that has ratified the 
treaty, because clearly in this case, even when they allegedly 
took exception to Belarus' position, Belarus did not change the 
practice. And I assume Belarus is still a signatory to the 
treaty.
    So in what way do the recommendations of the CEDAW 
committee change the laws of any country that signs the treaty?
    Mr. Groves. Well, of course, they have no force. They do 
not have----
    Chairman Durbin. That is the point. That is the point. That 
is why it is not a court. That is why it is not judicial. And 
to say otherwise, you have got to give me some evidence.
    Mr. Groves. That is why I said ``quasi-judicial,'' Mr. 
Chairman.
    Chairman Durbin. Well, I think it is quasi-true, what you 
have said.
    [Laughter.]
    Chairman Durbin. Ms. Greenberger, you have addressed----
    Mr. Groves. I quasi-agree with you.
    [Laughter.]
    Chairman Durbin. In your opening testimony--comment on this 
question about the force of law or power that the CEDAW 
committee has over signatory nations.
    Ms. Greenberger. When Mr. Groves used the word 
``recommendation,'' I do not think anybody thinks a 
recommendation is close to a force of law. I have made plenty 
of recommendations as a mother myself over the years, and I 
think any mother or father sees the difference between a rule 
and a recommendation. And, in fact, the CEDAW committee itself 
does not even talk about compliance. It makes suggestions. And 
what we have to go back to also is this key phrase of ``all 
appropriate measures.'' ``Appropriate measures'' is an 
important phrase which tailors what a country decides it will 
do based on its own facts and circumstances.
    I have to say, in looking at the extraordinary testimony of 
Ms. Frogh sitting next to me, how important it is for the 
United States to be a force. They are working with CEDAW to 
assist women in Afghanistan, and women in other parts of the 
world are using that very tool. The U.S. must not withhold our 
support for that useful tool. But also in looking at what has 
happened with CEDAW and with the CEDAW committee, there is 
example after example of support and respect for mothers. 
Support for mothers who should be able to inherit property from 
their husbands so that they can stay in the family house with 
their children. That is the essence of supporting mothers. 
Support for mothers who need to earn a living for their 
children. That is the essence of respecting mothers. Support 
for mothers' ability to have custody of their children. 
Especially that, I know. I myself have traveled not in 
Afghanistan, but in other parts of the world where widows have 
come and talked to me about how terrible their situation is 
when they lose custody of their own children if their husband 
dies.
    These are extraordinary and heart-wrenching situations that 
CEDAW addresses explicitly on behalf of mothers.
    Chairman Durbin. I might ask Mr. Groves this question. You 
cited a number of U.S. laws and treaties that the United States 
has ratified as reason that it is not necessary to join CEDAW. 
And you testified that you are concerned that ratifying CEDAW 
would have unforeseen or negative domestic ramifications. Let 
me ask you, from the viewpoint of your organization, the 
Heritage Foundation, isn't it true that you opposed the Lilly 
Ledbetter law?
    Mr. Groves. I do not know, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Durbin. You did. The foundation did.
    Mr. Groves. If we did, then I think we should take that up 
with whoever our employment person is.
    Chairman Durbin. Yes, I think so, too. You personally 
opposed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with 
Disabilities, did you not?
    Mr. Groves. Do I personally oppose it?
    Chairman Durbin. Yes.
    Mr. Groves. I have written a paper regarding the 
ratification of that treaty.
    Chairman Durbin. That was in April of 2010.
    Mr. Groves. Yes, sir.
    Chairman Durbin. And you opposed the Convention on the 
Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
    Mr. Groves. I wrote a paper about how the committee for 
that treaty has been using that improperly, making 
recommendations that are well outside of anything to do with 
racial discrimination in the United States. And, again, these 
are treaties that we did enter into. They are treaties that I 
think have a dubious impact on our domestic life.
    Chairman Durbin. That was in April of 2008. You have also 
opposed the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
    Mr. Groves. I have not written about that treaty.
    Chairman Durbin. This was quoted by Joseph Abrams, ``Boxer 
seeks to ratify U.N. treaty that may erode U.S. rights,'' 
FoxNews.com, February 25, 2009. Does that ring a bell?
    Mr. Groves. I speak to a lot of reporters, but I am sure it 
is accurate.
    Chairman Durbin. So the point I am getting to is that you 
have consistently opposed the treaties that expand the rights 
of individuals discriminated against: those who are disabled, 
victims of racial discrimination, and children. And you are 
telling us we should not ratify this treaty because it might 
violate some of the rights existing in the United States for 
each of these groups. I am finding it hard to follow your 
logic. Also, in many of these cases--and you just cited one--
these treaties have non-judicial committees making 
recommendations regularly. If I remember, President Reagan 
signed treaties that had such committees making recommendations 
and felt the United States was strong enough to weather 
recommendations that we might not agree with.
    So there is an inconsistency here. You are consistently 
against treaties that expand the rights of those who are 
disadvantaged and discriminated against. And you seem to favor 
those treaties if they have committees and recommendations that 
do not go to a social agenda or social issue. I do not want to 
put words in your mouth, but is that basically where you come 
down?
    Mr. Groves. No, Mr. Chairman. I believe you have put words 
in my mouth. I consistently oppose treaties mainly because I do 
not think that those treaties will have any impact in advancing 
the cause of racial minorities, women, children, in the United 
States.
    Chairman Durbin. But Ms. Frogh just testified about the 
impact of this treaty in her country of----
    Mr. Groves. I am talking about the United States, Mr. 
Chairman.
    Chairman Durbin. But if we have a good set of laws and a 
good Constitution for the rights of women finally and it does 
not hurt us, they cannot change our laws, why would we not want 
to establish at least a minimal standard for human rights as it 
relates to women in other countries around the world?
    Mr. Groves. I think the analysis you have to do, Mr. 
Chairman, is the analysis you do for every treaty, whether it 
is a human rights treaty or arms control treaty: whether the 
treaty advances U.S. national interests. You may believe that 
this treaty does. I would disagree with you.
    When you are getting into that analysis, you do a cost/
benefit analysis. These are not costless treaties to be part 
of. We are obligated politically, internationally, to implement 
their provisions.
    Chairman Durbin. Do you believe that if in developing 
countries around the world young girls are forced into marriage 
at an early age, are denied an opportunity for education, that 
that has anything to do with the national interests of the 
United States and our national security?
    Mr. Groves. Of course, the plight of women in countries 
around the world is something that all Americans care a great 
deal about, and the ratification of CEDAW in those countries 
may indeed have an impact. I am testifying only about whether 
the United States needs to be a party of it, and in our 
analysis, whether it advances U.S. interests.
    Chairman Durbin. Well, we clearly disagree because I think 
if we are going to show leadership in the world and encourage 
other countries to live up to our standards--standards which 
often we do not live up to, but standards to which we aspire--
it is hypocritical for us to be standing back on the sidelines 
and saying that this does not help the United States, we are 
not for it. It does help the United States. It helps us to be a 
leader in human rights and to encourage good conduct around the 
world to give women and children, those with disabilities, and 
people who are victims of racial discrimination good treatment. 
I think that is good not just for them, it is good for us. And 
I think that is where we may disagree.
    Anyone on the panel have a closing statement or a comment 
that you would like to make? I do not want to close out without 
giving you that chance, because many of you made a great 
sacrifice to be here. Ms. Davis.
    Ms. Davis. Well, I was just going to say that another 
aspect of a benefit for the United States and a reason that it 
is of national interest is that countries where women are 
empowered are more stable, more prosperous, and more peaceful. 
And all of those elements in foreign countries is of tremendous 
benefit to the United States. When countries are more peaceful 
and stable and prosperous, it certainly helps America.
    Chairman Durbin. Ms. Frogh.
    [No response.]
    Chairman Durbin. Ms. Greenberger.
    Ms. Greenberger. I would only add that I think it is in the 
national interest, our national interest, to ratify CEDAW 
certainly for all the reasons that have been described so that 
we can give our leadership in this important forum in order to 
empower women who so sorely need our help in every forum where 
we can operate. But also the kind of self-examination that 
CEDAW envisions has helped and is so much allied with the 
tradition of the United States and how we operate here at home, 
and it has benefited men as well as women, girls and boys, 
families. We know in situations where there have been problems 
about violence and with attention to problems of women feeling 
as if they could not be on the streets because of a well-
founded fear of violence, the simple fact of putting enhanced 
street lights to make a situation more safe for women has made 
it more safe for everyone. We know if there is a lack of equal 
pay what a cost that has on the woman, of course, but also on 
her children, on her spouse, on all of the family members who 
more and more we know need to depend upon the wages of both 
male and female wage earners.
    This is a situation that cries out for U.S. ratification. 
It is a win-win for us in strengthening our own country, both 
because of the good we can do abroad and also because it is in 
our proud tradition to keep striving to do better and better 
here at home.
    Chairman Durbin. Mr. Groves.
    Mr. Groves. Only to thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for 
allowing me to testify today, and from what it sounds like, the 
administration may be pushing forward on both this treaty and 
the Disabilities Convention next year. So I hope to continue 
this debate in 2011.
    Chairman Durbin. And I genuinely thank you for being here 
because it is not fun to be the only one in a room or one of 
the few holding a certain position, and it took some political 
courage on your part to come. I thank you very much for your 
testimony. I hope my questions were not too harsh.
    Mr. Groves. They were great, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
    Chairman Durbin. Thank you. Thank you very much. And thanks 
to all the members of the panel. And we are going to hold the 
record open for other Members who might have questions for the 
members of the panel.
    I do want to tell you that I think we have broken a record 
in the Judiciary Committee, certainly in this Subcommittee. We 
received more than 100 written statements from members and 
organizations supporting CEDAW, which will all be made part of 
the record. It is an indication that this is an issue that will 
not go away until we address it honestly and squarely. And I 
hope we do it soon. I apologize that more Colleagues were not 
here. This is a tough week, with the new Congress and 
organization, but I did not want the year to be finished 
without bringing this issue forward so that all of the interest 
shown today can be channeled into more energy and effort to do 
something to ratify this treaty as soon as possible.
    This Subcommittee will stand adjourned.
    [Applause.]
    [Whereupon, at 3:56 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
    [Questions and answers and submission for the record 
follow.]

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