ASSIGNMENTS FOR ACTION: Next Steps For Americans
Americans and the organizations to which they belong
can play an important role in seeing that the Plan of
Action adopted at Mexico City is effectively carried out.
The suggestions which follow are readily adaptable for
action at the national, state and local levels. Governments can make the difference; be sure to communicate
your views to your elected representatives.
■ Support priority allocation of funds for women's development programs in US bilateral and multilateral
foreign aid appropriations. Monitor implementation of
the Percy Amendment to the US Foreign Assistance
Act which requires "particular attention" to be paid
to "programs, projects and activities which tend to
integrate women into national economies."
■ Urge US ratification of UN treaties on the status of
women (see box).
■ Support the Equal Rights Amendment if your state
has not yet ratified it.
■ Encourage women to run for elective office.
■ Encourage appointment of qualified women of high
office in the US, the UN and as delegates to major
■ Promote legislation to implement the provisions of
the IWY Action Plan, e.g., liberalized maternity benefits, adequate child-care facilities, access to health
and family planning services.
■ Work to eliminate property and divorce laws which
discriminate against women. Support legal services
by and for women.
■ Contact the media and insist on standards of programming and advertising which will create a positive
image of women. Watch for the unconscious put-down
■ Call the attention of the news media to significant
instances of discrimination against women by employers, credit institutions, government practices and
■ Monitor the media (and other employers) for signs of
tokenism in hiring women (i.e., are all female TV
news reporters young and pretty? Is there a woman
producer or director?)
■ Review school curricula and teaching materials to
encourage elimination of sex stereotyping (i.e., little
boy a doctor, little girl a nurse).
■ Work on eliminating discrimination in education systems where there are few women in policy-making
and administrative positions.
Within Your Organization:
■ Support affirmative action programs and the US National Women's Agenda (for information write to the
Women's Action Alliance, 370 Lexington Avenue, New
York, N.Y. 10017). doin with UNA-USA Chapters and
Divisions and other organizations in ad hoc coalitions for action on one or more of the recommendations in the Plan.
■ Adopt a work program on women's issues. This goes
for all voluntary associations—women's, men's, educational, religious, labor, etc. Focus on those sections
of the Action Plan which are most relevant to your
■ doin with your organization's international affiliates in
selecting women for scholarship and job training exchange programs.
■ Get directly involved in women's projects in the developing countries, doin with other groups to raise
funds for UNESCO Gift Coupons. For information,
write to UNESCO, United Nation, New York, 10017.
Many groups are also active in raising funds for
UNICEF. For specific information on UNICEF's work
for women, write to US Committee for UNICEF, 331
East 38th Street, New York, N.Y. 10016.
UN CONVENTION ON WOMEN'S RIGHTS*
NOT YET RATIFIED BY THE US
Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952)
Convention on the Nationality of Married Women (1957)
Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for
Marriage and Registration of Marriages (1962)
ILO Convention on Discrimination in Employment and
ILO Convention on Equal Remuneration (1951)
Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of
UNESCO Convention Against Discrimination in Education (1962)
Convention on Recovery Abroad of Maintenance (1957)
•For description of these Conventions, see Selected Bibliography, Human Rights.
Some Points for Discussion
■ Statistics show that birth rates are highest where the
standards of living are lowest. Should development
assistance be made conditional on including comprehensive family planning programs?
■ Many women contribute to their countries' economies
without pay, particularly homemakers and farm women. How does this affect development in the Third
World? In the industrialized countries, should this be
recognized through tax credits, special subsidies or
other monetary devices?
■ Women comprise more than one third of the world's
labor force; but in general their positions and salaries
are not equal to that of men and they are limited to
traditional women's jobs. What is the best way to
overcome these inequities? For example, in the industrialized countries, would "quota" hiring be desirable or is it a form of reverse discrimination?
■ Can women effect any real changes in their status
without becoming part of the political power structure
at both the local and national levels? If active participation in the governmental process is essential, to
what extent is a militant or "radical" position necessary to achieve even moderate progress?
■ Should governments set standards for the portrayals
of women in the media? Would this constitute censorship and an infringement on the rights of freedom of
speech and the press?
■ How will improvement in the status of women on a
worldwide basis help men? How can the changing
of traditional roles minimize psychological and social
inequities and dislocations in the family and community structure?
A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women, 1967, Office of Public Information, United Nations, New York 10017.
Equality of Opportunity and Treatment for Women Workers, 1975, ILO Report, ILO, 1750 New York Avenue,
Washington, D.C. 20006, $6.95.
Human Rights, A Compilation of International Instruments of the United Nations, 1973, United Nations, New
York 10017, $3.00.
Many Sisters: Women in Cross-Cultural Perspectives,
1974, Carol J. Matthiasson, editor, The Free Press, 866
Third Ave., New York 10003, $15.00.
Integration of Women in Development, 1975, Ester
Boserup, Christina Liljencrantz, UNDP, United Nations,
New York 10017.
Mothers Too Soon, 1975, Population Crisis Committee,
1835 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.
The Story of Mexico, 1975, Center for Economic and
Social Information, United Nations, New York 10017.
The Status of Women and Family Planning, 1975, United
Nations, New York 10017.
Turning Point for Women, August-September, 1975,
UNESCO Courier, UNIPUB, Box 433, Murray Hill Station, New York 10016, 90(4 ea.
Women and the UN, 1975, UNITAR News, UNITAR, 801
UN Plaza, New York 10017, $1.00.
Women of the World, Jennifer S. Whitaker, Foreign
Affairs, October 1975.
Women and Work in Developing Societies, 1974, Nadia
Youssef, Population Monograph Series, #15, Institute of International Studies, University of California,
Berkeley, California 94720.
Women in World Terms: Facts and Trends, Center for
Integrative Studies, State University of New York at
Binghamton, New York 13901.
COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION PROGRAMS
Community Survey on the Status of Women, The Population Institute, 110 Maryland Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002.
Model IWY Conference, UNA-USA.
Listings available from UNA-USA.
ONLY THE BEGINNING:
A Blueprint for Equality
United Nations Association of the U.S.A.
345 East 46th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017
U.S. National Commission for UNESCO
American Association of University Women
American Baptist Women
American Baptist Churches, USA/National Ministries
American Ethical Union
B'nai B'rith Women
Church Women United
Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO
Institute for World Order, Inc.
League of Women Voters of the United States
National Association of Colored Women's Clubs
National Conference of Christians and Jews
NCCJ—Women's Task Force
National Council of Negro Women, Inc.
National Council of Women of the United States, Inc.
National Education Association of the United States
National Federation of Business and Professional
Women's Clubs, Inc.
Population Crisis Committee
Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc.
United Church Board for World Ministries
United Methodist Office for the United Nations
United Presbyterian Women, The United Presbyterian
Church in the U.S.A.
Women United for United Nations
YWCA of the U.S.A., National Board
Written by: Ellie King
Information on U.S. programs for women:
National Commission on the Observance of
International Women's Year
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Mexico City, 1975