Human rights experts Eleonora Zielinska, Alda Facio and Frances Raday visited the United States to assess discrimination against women. They found the US. far behind international human rights standards in the following areas…..
    -23% gender pay gap
    -maternity leave
    -affordable child care
    -treatment of female migrants in detention centers
    -health care around reproductive rights
    When visiting an abortion clinic in Alabama the women were shocked to find vigilante men harassing and insulting them and described the experience as a “kind of terrorism.”  It was shocking to them because in most european countries, abortions are performed at general doctors’ offices and hospitals that offer all other health services.
    Further exploration revealed that the U.S. is one of THREE COUNTRIES in the world that does not guarantee women paid maternity leave. The U.N. suggests guaranteeing at least 14 weeks of paid parental leave and some countries go further.  Iceland requires five months paid leave for EACH parent, and an additional two months to be shared between them.  I knew we were lacking, lagging far behind, but to be one of only three countries this far behind is shocking.
    Reflecting on my own reaction, I think it simply means that regardless of how many years I’ve been involved in working toward equality for women, championing the need for women to embrace their personal and positional power, it’s still possible to do less than I’m able about the backward behavior in our policies.  That feels like a dangerous position and I’m happy to be jolted back into awareness of the severity of the discrimination in our country.
    Violence against women here also shocked these delegates.  For example women are 11 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the U.S.  And most of these murders are perpetrated by an intimate partner.  Recently, Gloria Steinem pointed out that because of violence against women around the world, there are now more men than women!
    Additional recommendations from the delegation include the following…
    -campaign finance reform that would allow more women to be elected into office
    -raising the minimum wage because it disproportionately affects women
    -passing a federal law to stop the new abortion restrictions in the states that shut down women’s health clinics
    They were quite surprised to learn that people believe women in the U.S have more rights than any women in the world.  Clearly it’s not true!
    The full report on their findings will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council in June of 2016.
    And until then, if each of us cares about what’s going on with the rights of women, it’s time to pick a way to get involved, become active, make a difference.
    And for  more details, the source of this information is the Huffington Post.

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