Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Additional Departmental Affiliation

Diversity and Community Studies

Document Type



The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted by the United Nations in 1979, has now been ratified by 185 countries, consisting of more than ninety percent of all UN members. The United States, however, has never ratified the Convention. The history of the Convention provides evidence of global support for women’s rights. While there are complex reasons behind the United States’ failure to ratify CEDAW, the United States’ commitment to unilateralism, an attitude of “American exceptionalism” and the long-term inequality and discrimination against women in the U.S. all contribute to the stifling of multilateral initiatives, such as the Convention. President Obama’s support for women’s rights in early 2009 offers hope for ratification of CEDAW under his administration. In conclusion, an international standard on the equal rights of women should be a priority for every nation, especially the United States.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Sam McFarland


International Relations | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration