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An Agenda for the Obama Administration on Gender Equality: Lessons from Abroad

6 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2011  

Adrien K. Wing

University of Iowa - College of Law

Samuel P. Nielson

Crowell & Moring, Associate Attorney


This article focuses on one question, how should President Obama and his new administration affect social justice for women? There are four main overlapping possibilities to tackle gender inequality problems. The first method is to ratify the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”). The second approach, which is increasingly used in newly drafted or amended constitutions, embraces specific language regarding gender equality. The third method, followed in some constitutions, national legislation, or party rules, is the use of quotas reserving fixed numbers of seats for women in national or local legislatures. The final approach, followed by countries in the prior categories, is national legislation implementing gender equality in various spheres.

Adrien Wing and Samuel Nielson advocate that the Obama administration should emphasize national legislation, and should review international approaches in the debate. Subsequently, the administration should reinvigorate a discussion over passage of a gender equality amendment. Finally, the Obama administration should invite new discussion over CEDAW ratification.

Keywords: Women's Rights, Human Rights, Obama Administration, CEDAW, Gender Equality, Recommendations, Policy objectives, discrimination

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Wing, Adrien K. and Nielson, Samuel P., An Agenda for the Obama Administration on Gender Equality: Lessons from Abroad. Michigan Law Review, Vol. 107, p. 124, 2009; U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-16. Available at SSRN:

Adrien Wing (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

410 blb
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States
319-335-9129 (Phone)
319-335-9098 (Fax)

Samuel Nielson

Crowell & Moring, Associate Attorney ( email )

Orange County Office
3 Park Plaza, 20th Floor
Irvine, CA 92614
United States
(949) 263-8400 (Phone)

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