Women and Literacy
Understand that literacy is a women's issue, in the US and globally, because it affects women out of proportion in relation to men for reasons that are both social and economic. Both girls and boys drop out of school, but girls sometimes have added issues of pregnancy, marriage, and greater impacts of sexual abuse and family violence. In adult literacy programs, women too often have added burdens of unmet childcare needs, complex responsibilities to various family members, and partners who actively object to their interest in literacy and independence. There are obvious links between the obstacles women face as learners and the obstacles they face as they work to lift themselves and their children out of poverty. With literacy, poverty decreases; health and wellness improves; employment, productivity, and income rises; parental involvement with education increases; crime and incarceration rates decrease; and community volunteerism and civic engagement, including voting, improves. Speak out against Head Start cuts affecting 57,000 US children, and support literacy programs.
Ratify CEDAW, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, with no RUDs (restrictive "reservations, understandings, declarations"). In league with a multitude of progressive organizations, the US Women and Cuba Collaboration calls for the long-overdue ratification by the US Senate of CEDAW/The Women's Treaty. Since its adoption by the UN General Assembly in 1979, for the first time the world has an international treaty recognizing discrimination against women as a human rights violation, a treaty that has been signed and ratified by a majority of the world's countries. The US is one of only eight countries that have failed to ratify CEDAW (in the company of Iran, Palau, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tonga). President Carter signed CEDAW in 1980 making the US the only country to have signed, but not ratified, the treaty. Supported by President Obama, CEDAW needs to be sent to him for his signature by a two-thirds vote of the US Senate. Call your senators and take the CEDAW pledge. Join growing efforts by women around the country to advocate for local legislation to implement the principles of CEDAW in their cities by undertaking a gender analysis of government programs, policies and appointments.