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CIM Promotes Public Debate on the Status of Women in the Americas

The Commission's research on the legal status of women throughout the Americas drew attention to the inequities suffered by women. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Commission amassed data on the status of women in the Americas, relentlessly published these studies, and saw to their widest distribution. In time, as the Commission expanded its membership, it served as the representative of the various women's organizations in the Americas and supported their ongoing efforts by providing a forum through which women from all across the Americas could communicate with one another in their fight to gain legal equality.

Even during World War II, when travel to Washington on involved a dangerous voyage by ship across submarine-infested seas, the Commission continued to meet to promote the ideal of women's equality and the validity of inter-American action to achieve women's rights.

As part of international efforts to advance the course of women, delegates from CIM were instrumental in 1946 in securing the creation at the United Nations of the Commission on the Status of Women, and since its first session in 1947, CIM has unswervingly lent that body its fullest support. As part of the general recognition of the success of the inter-American alliance during the war—in the spirit of the establishment of a stronger framework for inter-American relations and the promotion of representative democracy—the representatives of the American nations at the Ninth International Conference of American States (Bogotá, 1948) adopted the Charter of the Organization of American States. As an essential part of this renewal of the Inter-American System and in recognition of the legitimate demand by women for the equality of rights, the Conference also adopted the Inter-American Conventions on the Granting of Political and Civil Rights to Women, as well as the Organic Statute of CIM and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Once again the Americas were in the vanguard of promoting fundamental rights and liberties. Similar covenants would be adopted by the United Nations in the following decade.


CIM celebrates the ratification by the United States Congress of the Convention on Nationality of Women (1934). From left to right: Carmita Landestay (Dominican Republic); Doris Stevens (United States); Senator Key Pittman (U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee); Adela Seminaro de Goodwin (Ecuador); María Z. de Arias (Panama) ; and Fanny Bunand Sevastos (Executive Secretary, CIM)

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