Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), surveying the chamber before her, a room packed with senators, diplomats, feminist leaders, scholars and activists, proudly proclaimed, “I’m looking at an iconic picture here.”
At last week’s U.S. SenateSubcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues hearing on Combating Violence and Discrimination Against Women: A Global Call to Action, a sense of urgency and hope prevailed amid calls for increased U.S. diplomatic action and participation in international legislation. The hearing marked the beginning of a new campaign to finally pass the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).
Boxer, as chair of the subcommittee, set a pressing tone by using her opening comments to declare that the global position of women is now, more than ever, a “precarious” one. The United States has to use its immense capacity for international influence to help solve what Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) called the “global epidemic” of violence and discrimination against women.