Cities for CEDAW

What is Cities for CEDAW?

Cities for CEDAW is a nationwide, grassroots effort to encourage local governments to become more gender equitable. Research shows that inadvertent discrimination is common without a proactive review of city activities. CEDAW ordinances require cities to evaluate their programs and budgets and ensure they affect men and women equitably. It is a process, a fairer way of operating, not a separate program. If there is no discrimination, great! But where it is found, these laws help cities make changes to become more equitable.
But what is CEDAW?  It is the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This is the only international human rights treaty that focuses entirely on ending discrimination against women. It addresses important issues such as:
            ●  Equal pay for women
            ●  Elimination of violence against women
            ●  Support for families and caregivers
CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979, more than 35 years ago, yet the UNITED STATES is one of only six countries - out of 196 nations - that still has not ratified this treaty.* In the meantime, the Cities for CEDAW campaign is bringing these rights to our cities.

Why Sarasota?

Sarasota is a progressive city with a basic law prohibiting discrimination already in place. Yet discrimination against women is often hidden and pervasive. For example, according to 2013 US Census reports, in Sarasota County women make up 55% of the population. Yet:

  • Women in law enforcement earn 76% of what their male counterparts earn
  • Women in health care support jobs earn 80% of what their male counterparts earn
  • Women in firefighting and protective services earn only 62% of what their male counterparts earn
  • Women are more likely to live in poverty
  •  And, according to the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC), it is estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience sexual violence during their lives

A CEDAW Resolution confirms a city's commitment to the principles of CEDAW. A CEDAW Ordinance is a tool to help the city identify and reduce discrimination: CEDAW cities are asked to proactively analyze their operations, policies, and programs to identify any discrimination and then work to become more gender equitable. It will benefit all residents of Sarasota, men, women, and children alike. We want Sarasota to join Tampa/St Pete which has already passed a CEDAW resolution, and Miami-Dade, which has passed a full CEDAW ordinance. 

Who is involved in Cities for CEDAW?

Across the USA, different civic organizations take the lead. The initiative is non-partisan and promotes no specific program. Over 200 civic organizations nationwide have endorsed Cities for CEDAW. In Sarasota, the Gulf Coast Chapter of UN Women/UN Women USA is serving as lead organization.  For more information contact Scott Osborne, Chair, Cities for CEDAW Sarasota, at We are not alone! Cities throughout the USA are working on this program. Seven cities now have ordinances, 18 have passed resolutions, and another 26 are in progress (see list below). The US Conference of Mayors endorsed the principles of CEDAW in June 2014 and many national civic organizations have followed suit. As the Miami-Dade commission aptly noted: “The purpose of the ordinance is to track the status of women and girls comprehensively that the Commission can make sound public policy based on objective data. By tracking these critical indicators, we will have access to objective, empirical data to better evaluate local public policy, particularly as it relates to pay parity and reducing violence against women. CEDAW will help us better understand the challenges facing women and girls, and bring us one step closer to helping all of our residents thrive and prosper, free of discrimination.” 

Join Us - sign up now:

“Yes, I want Sarasota to be gender equitable. I support the local CEDAW initiative. I urge the Sarasota City Commission to adopt a CEDAW resolution or ordinance now.”
Click HERE to send an email and be added to our list of supporters.

Who else is supporting CEDAW?

Nationally, organizations endorsing CEDAW include:

  • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • American Baptist Women’s Ministries
  • American Bar Association
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Jewish Committee
  • American Library Association
  • Business and Professional Women/USA
  • Church Women United
  • Church World Service
  • The Episcopal Church, USA
  • Federation of Women’s Clubs Overseas
  • Feminist Majority
  • Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media
  • Hadassah
  • Heifer Project International
  • The Hunger Project
  • International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women
  • Jewish Council for Public Affairs
  • League of Women Voters of the United States
  • National Association of Commissions for Women
  • National Council of Churches, USA, Women’s Ministries
  • National Council of Jewish Women
  • National Network to End Domestic Violence
  • National Organization for Women (NOW)
  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • Presbyterian Church, USA
  • Refugees International
  • Sisters of Mercy
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  • United Methodist Women
  • United Nations Association, USA
  • US Conference of Mayors (June 2014)
  • Women for Women International
  • Women of Reform Judaism
  • Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • YWCA
  • Zonta International

What are other cities doing?

Cities with a CEDAW ordinance:

San Francisco, CA     Berkeley, CA     Honolulu, HI     Los Angeles, CA     Miami-Dade County, FL     Pittsburgh, PA     Washington, DC

Cities with a CEDAW resolution:
Cincinnati, OH     Daly City, CA     Edina, MN    Eugene, OR     Kansas City, MO    Lafayette, CO    Long Beach, CA    Louisville, KY     Minneapolis, MN     Mount Vernon, NY     New Orleans, LA       Salt Lake City, UT     Santa Monica, CA     St Paul, MN     St Petersburg, FL     Tampa, FL     University City, MO     West Hollywood, CA
CEDAW resolutions or ordinances in progress:
Ashland, OR     Boston, MA     Boulder, CO    Denver, CO   Durhan, NC     Erie, CO     Fairfax, VA     Greeley, CO     Juneau, AK      Laguna Woods, CA     Longmont, CO     Louisville, CO     Monrovia, CA     New York, NY     Orange County, CA     Palo Alto, CA     Philadelphia, PA     Portland, OR     Radford, VA     Raleigh, NC     Rapid City, SD         Richmond, CA        Santa Clara County, CA       Tacoma, WA     Westminster, CO     Ypsilanti, MI
(As of January 2017)
For more information or if you would like to help work on the local Cities for CEDAW campaign, contact Scott Osborne, Chair, Cities for CEDAW Sarasota, at
For general information on Cities for CEDAW, see
For more information about other UN Women/UN Women USA Gulf Coast Florida Chapter activities, contact

UPDATE: Our list of local supporters now includes:

  • Sarasota World Affairs Council (WAC)
  • Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota (UU)
  • NOW - National Organization for Women Sarasota/Manatee
  • Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida
  • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Gulf Coast Florida (RPCV)
  • MoreTooLife 
  • Visible Men Academy
  • Center for Religious Tolerance
  • Women's Interfaith Network
  • Sarasota County Commission on the Status of Women
  • Dr. Lonetta Taylor-Gaines
  • Dr. Sherry Lawrence
  • Dr. Brook Bello
  • Dr. Susan Marcus
  • Dr. Jody L McBride, Professor, USF/Manatee
  • Dr. Sherry Yu, Assistant Professor, New College
  • Elizabeth Weil Bergmann, Retired Director of Dance and Lecturer, Harvard University
  • Joan Libby Hawk, Special Advisor, Women's Empowerment Principles
  • Dr. Barbara Srur, MD
  • Over 50 other community members....and growing