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San Jose Embraces Women’s Bill of Rights

The Feminist Majority says a Constitutional amendment is key to prohibiting sex discrimination and guaranteeing equal rights for women and girls. Photo: Eric Davidove

So moved by the arguments of women’s rights advocates was the San Jose City Council at its October 17 Priority Setting Session that it prioritized the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) above all other items under consideration.

“The City of San Jose has already been a pioneer in technology, development, and progressive social and cultural values, but there is one area where San Jose is very behind,” said Cities for CEDAW Task Force San Jose Chapter Chair Ms Rusta. “Women still in the City of San Jose do not have equal pay. Women are subject to poverty, homelessness, discrimination, and violence.”

“I never dreamed that 40 years later, after raising two daughters, and now a grand-daughter, than women in Silicon Valley would still be fighting to be treated with dignity and respect” – resident Bev Strand.

“The time is now for San Jose, the tenth-largest city in the U.S. to publicly address and change the policies of the city to ensure that over 50 percent of our population are fully protected by law,” said American Association of University Women San Jose Branch representative Suzanne Doty. “Women’s Rights are Human Rights!”

“San Jose has been in the forefront,” said New Leaders Council Silicon Valley 2017 Fellow Sita Stukes. “Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco has been a champion. I encourage the rest of the council to support the Women’s Bill of Rights.”

“The incidence of domestic violence has gone up in the past year. We’re well aware of discrimination, gender bias, violence against young girls and women. This is a civil rights issue.” – Magdalena Carrasco

“With domestic violence we’ve seen alarming numbers,” said City Council member Sylvia Arenas. “We’re also seen very alarming numbers of sexual assaults.”

“I don’t know why [the Women’s Bill of Rights] should be on [our] Priority Setting Session,” said Arenas. “This should be a given that we live by.”

The City Council unanimously voted to direct staff to draft a CEDAW ordinance and return it for city council review next month, then proceeded to discuss the remaining top-priority issues facing the city. Go San Jose!