United Nations Study Finds U.S. Way Behind In Women's Rights

According to a new study by the United Nations, being a woman in the U.S. is a less than subpar experience. On December 11th, The UN Working Group finished a 10-day tour of the U.S. and found that the U.S. falls way behind the international community on everything from wage gap to reproductive rights.

“We acknowledge the United States’ commitment to liberty, so well represented by the Statue of Liberty which symbolizes both womanhood and freedom. Nevertheless, in global context, US women do not take their rightful place as citizens of the world’s leading economy, which has one of the highest rates of per capita income,” the experts said. “In the US, women fall behind international standards as regards their public and political representation, their economic and social rights and their health and safety protections.”

The experts noted that the The U.S. is just one of seven nations that hasn’t yet ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Iran, Somalia and Sudan are some of the other countries on the list.

Given the recent war waged against reproductive rights in the nation, it’s no surprise that the study called out the limited amount of access to healthcare and reproductive services available to the average American women, specifically in places like Texas and Alabama. “In addition, many of the clinics work in conditions of constant threats, harassment and vandalizing, too often without any kind of protection measures by law enforcement officials, as we observed during our visits to Texas and Alabama.” The U.N experts also called out the history of violence against abortion providers in Alabama, including the murder of Dr. David Gunn in 1993 and the recent massacre at the Colorado family planning center.

The report addressed the wage gap between men and women, which is currently at 21 percent . “Despite the existence of the 1963 Equal Pay Act and Title VII, federal law does not require equal pay for work of equal value,” the experts noted. The disparity in women’s wages are even worse for minority women. The U.N Working group encouraged raising the minimum wage.

The report also covers the rampant discrimination against women in political positions. Despite currently having “the highest level of legislative representation ever achieved by women” in the country, the U.S. is 72nd in the world when it comes to the percentage of female lawmakers — only 19.4 percent of women hold congressional seats, with Rwanda, Mexico, Uganda, and Pakistan surpassing that number.

Other issues the report addressed included maternal mortality rate which increased by 136 percent from 1990 to 2013, and the rise in women living in poverty from 12.1 to 14.5 percent over the last decade.

The full report will be available in June 2016.

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