A delegation of human rights experts from Poland, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica spent 10 days this month touring the United States so they can prepare a report on the nation's overall treatment of women. The three women, who lead a United Nations working group on discrimination against women, visited Alabama, Texas and Oregon to evaluate a wide range of U.S. policies and attitudes, as well as school, health and prison systems.
The delegates were appalled by the lack of gender equality in America. They found the U.S. to be lagging far behind international human rights standards in a number of areas, including its 23 percent gender pay gap, maternity leave, affordable child care and the treatment of female migrants in detention centers.
The most telling moment of the trip, the women told reporters on Friday, was when they visited an abortion clinic in Alabama and experienced the hostile political climate around women's reproductive rights.
"We were harassed. There were two vigilante men waiting to insult us," said Frances Raday, the delegate from the U.K. The men repeatedly shouted, "You're murdering children!" at them as soon as they neared the clinic, even though Raday said they are clearly past childbearing age.
"It's a kind of terrorism," added Eleonora Zielinska, the delegate from Poland. "To us, it was shocking."
This is an older article, but it was new to me so I thought it might be new to most of you as well.
Besides the attacks on reproductive rights the three women were appalled to learn that America does not guarantee maternity leave, and that a woman was eleven times more likely to be killed by gun violence than in other high income countries.
In short they did not find "American exceptionalism," but instead found a country that treats its women like second class citizens. If they're lucky.
If there is no "war on women" that would only be because women felt they had lost and were no longer fighting back.
But somehow I doubt that is true.