Council endorses women's rights initiative


Council endorses women's rights initiative


The Orange County Register reports that "Laguna Woods has become the first city in the OC to adopt a human relations treaty aimed at ending discrimination against women." Includes a photo of the Orange County Cities for CEDAW Task Force with the Laguna Woods City Council members.


California -- Orange County
OC Taskforce for CEDAW
California -- Laguna Woods


Jennifer Karmarkar


The Orange County Register


April 26, 2016




California -- Laguna Woods
California -- Orange County


LAGUNA WOODS – Laguna Woods has become the first city in Orange County to adopt a resolution supporting a human rights treaty aimed at ending discrimination against women.

The U.N.-backed initiative – known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW – is a framework for governments to examine polices and practices in relation to women and girls and to rectify gender discrimination. It was brought before the City Council by a task force that hopes to generate enough support at the local level to bring the initiative to the U.S. Senate.

Orange County Cities for CEDAW Task Force is a combined initiative of United Nations Association of Orange County and U.S. National Committee for Women. Rupsi Burman, task force chair, said Laguna Woods’ support is “priceless.”

“You are showing the way,” Burman told the council, which on April 20 voted unanimously to back the initiative.

The Cities for CEDAW program requires 100 U.S. cities to be on board with the program in order to influence Congress, Burman said. To date, five U.S. cities have adopted ordinances and eight have passed resolutions in support of CEDAW.

“I think it’s important to stand with sister cities across the country and for women to stand with women across the country,” Councilwoman Shari Horne said. She noted that most crimes against women 55 and older are elder abuse and fraud, “which is just as devastating as rape when you’re younger.”

CEDAW was formally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979 as an international bill of rights for women. Its 39 articles address civil rights and the legal status of women, reproductive rights, and the influence of culture and tradition on restricting the fundamental rights of women.

To date, 186 U.N. member nations have agreed to be bound by CEDAW’s provisions. The United States is the only industrialized nation that has not ratified the treaty.

Noting that women make up 60 percent of the city’s population, Mayor Noel Hatch said “women have been making remarkable contributions throughout the world, including here.”

The CEDAW task force aims to bring other cities on board in the coming weeks. The Irvine City Council was set to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

Cities supporting CEDAW

These cities have passed ordinances in support:
San Francisco, enacted 1998
Los Angeles, enacted 2003
Berkeley, enacted 2012
West Hollywood, enacted 2014
Miami, enacted 2014
These cities have passed resolutions in support:
Louisville, Ky., enacted 2014
Kansas City, enacted 2014
Cincinnati, enacted 2015
University City, Mo., enacted 2015
Charlottesville, Va., enacted 2015
Santa Monica, enacted 2015
Long Beach, enacted 2016
Laguna Woods, enacted 2016
Source: Orange County Cities for CEDAW Task Force

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Jennifer Karmarkar, “Council endorses women's rights initiative,” Anti-Racism Digital Library, accessed November 23, 2020,