UN experts declared last week that discrimination against women in the US is “worse than in most developed nations,” summarizing a preliminary report to the UN Human Rights Council. The report is scheduled for release in full sometime next year.
UN monitors announced these conclusions after a 10-day visit to Oregon, Alabama, Texas and Washington, D.C.
The report examines US women’s rights in social, economic and political life, including reproductive rights, health and safety.
Experts stated that while all US women lag behind their male counterparts, “women who are poor, belong to Native American, Afro-American and Hispanic ethnic minorities, migrant women, LBTQ women, women with disabilities and older women are disparately vulnerable.”
They also declared themselves “shocked by the lack of mandatory standards for workplace accommodation for pregnant women, post-natal mothers and persons with care responsibilities, which are required in international human rights law.”
Other issues raised include an alleged 20% wage gap, maternity leave and a distressing 136% increase in maternal mortality rates from 1990 to 2013. Experts reported that African-American women are almost 400% more likely than average to die in childbirth.
The often-divisive political debate surrounding these issues was also strongly emphasized. The US ranks 72nd in the world in legislative and elective representation for women.
Public examination of data and sources will likely have to wait until the whole report is released, although this did not stop expert Dr. Stefan Grobe from publicizing the report’s conclusions earlier this month.
Though outside of its stated ambit, the report fails to mention the ways in which US women are doing better than US men or the ways in which men are discriminated against. Currently, American men suffer disproportionately from suicide, incarceration, lower academic achievement, workplace death and injury, homelessness, alcoholism and drug addiction.
Men also face serious institutional discrimination in family court, and lack most kinds of reproductive rights that women take for granted. Perhaps the most glaring example of institutional bias favoring women, however, is in the judicial system, where women serve roughly 60% as much time as men do for the same offense–if they’re even arrested, let alone tried and convicted.
Recent findings that explain the so-called wage gap as being the result of women’s collective career choices are likewise unmentioned. Currently, unmarried men under 30 earn less on average than their female counterparts.
As with feminism, the UN has seemingly become selective in its definition of “equality,” repurposing the term in a familiar gynocentric, male-erasing fashion.
In comparing US women’s status to the status of women in other developed nations without examining how men fare, the UN is not examining sex discrimination with this report but rather exemplifying it.
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