A delegation of UN human rights experts from Poland, the U.K. and Costa Rica spent 10 days touring Alabama, Oregon and Texas, in order to deliver a report evaluating America’s overall treatment of women, in terms of policies and attitudes as well as school, health and prison systems. The results are shocking: they found the US lagging behind international standards on several areas, including pay equality, maternity leave, affordable child care and the treatment of female migrants in detention centers.
They described being shocked at the abuse they faced from protesters at an abortion clinic they visited in Alabama, calling it “a kind of terrorism”, that is completely unheard of in most European countries. They were also baffled at the lack of accommodation for a woman’s pre- and post-natal needs in the workplace, which the U.K. delegate Frances Raday called “unthinkable in any society, and certainly one of the richest societies in the world.” Another area of concern was gun violence, with women in the US 11 times more likely to be killed by a gun than in other high-income countries — often by an intimate partner — prompting a suggestion to institute a national policy to take away gun from perpetrators of domestic violence.
The delegates met with the White House and several government agencies to discuss this, along with other recommendations such as raising the minimum wage and campaign finance reform, so more women could be elected into office. The most surprising thing they noticed, however, was that many American women seem unaware their rights are trampled on: “So many people really believe that U.S. women are way better off with respect to rights than any woman in the world,” Raday told the Huffington Post. “They would say, ‘Prove it! What do you mean other people have paid maternity leave?'”
Read the full story at The Huffington Post.