85th Anniversary

In 1928, women from all the nations of the Americas gathered at the Sixth International Conference of American States (Havana, Cuba) and set the stage for a historic confrontation in which women forced the inclusion of their rights in the agendas of inter-American meetings.

In addition to institutionalizing the participation of women in these spaces, women also lobbied for the adoption of the Equal Rights Treaty, authored by Alice Paul of the National Women's Party of the United States.

The Treaty was never adopted, but the Conference did decide to create the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) to keep fighting for women's rights in the inter-Amercian sphere. The creation of the CIM was the work of the growing feminist movement throughout the hemisphere and reflected increased cooperation between women of the South and North.

CIM's first task was to extend the right to vote to women. When the CIM was created, women were able to vote only in Canada and the United States. The first feminists of the Americas recognized the advantages of addressing women's rights in an international forum, and the CIM was of vital importance in placing the issue of women's suffrage on the political agenda at the national and international levels. Over the next 30 years, women would gradually win the right to vote and to run for political office in every country of the region.

With the presentation of the draft Equal Rights Treaty in 1928, CIM began its pioneering role in the development and promotion of a legal framework for women's rights, which was established with the adoption of the Convention on the Nationality of Women in 1933, reinforced by the Conventions on Civil and Political Rights in 1948 and solidified with the adoption of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belém do Pará Convention) in 1994 and its Follow-up Mechanism (MESECVI) in 2004.