Is the United States failing women when it comes to equality? The answer is a resounding YES.
According to a report by a United Nations Working Group, “In the US, women fall behind international standards in regards to their public and political representation, their economic and social rights and their health and safety protections.“
And they are right.
In 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women — or CEDAW — was adopted by the United Nations. Considered as an international bill of rights for women it promises to end discrimination, establish equality and fight against violence. The U.S. is also one of seven who have not ratified it. Other countries that don’t see women’s rights as a point of interest or necessity: Iran, Palau, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Tonga.
“There is a myth that women already enjoy all these rights and protections under U.S. law. However, they are missing rights and protections such as universal paid maternity leave, accessible reproductive health care and equal opportunity in standing for political election.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the U.S. Constitution does not include an explicit gender equality guarantee. The Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923 to Congress, was meant to give women in America explicit protections. Unfortunately, it fell just three states short of ratification.
Ways the United States is failing women:
- 1 of 9 countries in the whole world that do not have guaranteed paid maternity leave
- The U.S. ranks 65th in wage equality for similar work
- No equal political participation
The UN Working Group also had this to say, “As regards to resistance to CEDAW, our visit is particularly timely at a moment when the political rhetoric of some of the candidates for the Presidency in the upcoming elections has included unprecedented hostile stereotyping of women; when there are increasingly restrictive legislative measures in some states and violent attacks to prevent women’s access to exercise of their reproductive rights; and when there is an increase in the rate of women living in poverty, a persistent wage gap and increasingly precarious employment.“
Click here to read the UN Working Group’s statement. The full report will be released June 2016.