“You just made history!” Louisville passes resolution supporting women, girls

November 14, 2014

Louisville, KY—Louisville, Kentucky, has taken the lead nationally and approved a resolution that will use the principles of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as a framework for local policy aimed at ending discrimination and other forms of violence against women and girls. Only one other city in the nation has done so: San Francisco.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, who introduced the resolution, said “Local leaders have acted on what we know is true—that we have not achieved equality in Louisville Metro Government or our larger community.” Louisville is a Compassionate City and this resolution is seen as consistent with that designation.

The resolution, which is the first step toward making Louisville a Cities for CEDAW city, was approved Thursday, November 6, by a 20–3–3 vote. The resolution states that Louisville Metro Government is committed to eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, to promoting the health and safety of women and girls, and to affording  them equal academic, economic and business opportunities in Louisville, Kentucky.

Marilyn Fowler, with the Women’s Intercultural Network, congratulated the Louisville Coalition for CEDAW, saying “You just made history!” The Women’s Intercultural Network and San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women launched the Cities for CEDAW campaign at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2014.

Cities for CEDAW promotes the adoption of CEDAW principles in cities large and small as a framework for improving the status of women and girls. Supported at the June 2014 US Conference of Mayors, Cities for CEDAW focuses on the adoption of an ordinance in each community that fulfills three requirements—a gender analysis of city operations (workforce, programs, budget), an oversight body and funding to support the implementation of the principles of CEDAW.

Mary Sue Barnett, director of the Women's Center at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and leader of the Louisville coallition, expressed deep gratitude to coalition members in Louisville and to supporters around the country “who were there in spirit.”

Coalition members include :

  • American Jewish Committee
  • Center for Women and Families
  • Church Women United USA
  • League of Women Voters
  • Louisville Girls Leadership
  • Louisville Human Relations Commission
  • National Association of Women Business Owners
  • Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA), Inc.
  • Social Responsibility Committee, Epiphany Catholic Church
  • United Nations Association, KY Division
  • Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church
  • Zonta International • and others 

CEDAW is the only international human rights treaty to focus exclusively on the rights of women.

  • It assumes the equality of men and women in legal systems, and calls for abolishing all discriminatory laws and adopting appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women
  • calls for protection of women against discrimination and violence;
  • mandates the elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises; and
  • aims to ensure women's equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life, education, health and employment.

Implementation of CEDAW principles at the local level improves the status of women/girls in many areas:

  • employment and compensation policies
  • enforcement of assault and domestic violence laws
  • childcare policies and services
  • partnerships with nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to women
  • and much more

For additional information, contact Mary Sue Barnett

Louisville Coalition for CEDAW

1044 Alta Vista Road • Louisville, KY 40205