Sunday, December 27, 2015

UN sends three women to assess gender equality in America. They don't find any.

Courtesy of HuffPo:  

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.


  1. Anonymous12:15 PM

    Hard to believe that any woman in eh US would be surprised by these findings. We live them daily. We recognize the discrimination for what it is, IF we have at least two firing neurons. As we know some do not have that many neurons...

  2. Anonymous1:46 PM

    When you have limited or no exposure to any different way of doing things (i.e. universal health care, guaranteed maternity leave, at LEAST 3 weeks annual vacation, high teacher pay and respect)--it's not so much intellect necessarily, as just "possibility blinders"---i.e., "The way things are is the way things are."

    And then they form themselves around that. It's the security of the familiar. These then become the easy marks for the religions, corporations, and the likes of the Koch Brothers.

    I apologize for pontificating. I could be wrong of course.

    1. Maple7:30 PM

      I don't think you're wrong, and the fact that far too many women (let alone men) cannot (or simply will not) entertain the notion of universal healthcare is proof. It's the same with raising the minimum wage to an actual "living wage". Americans have been so indoctrinated into believing that what is good for corporations will also be good for them as individuals that the very idea of anything that might hurt the corporate world ( guaranteed maternity or family leave, a dcent minimum wage, decent wages for teachers etc.) is bad.
      And you're absolutely right that this belief directly benefits the grasping, greedy hands of the corporations, the religious charlatans and the GOP. And that's why the Kochs and the Osteens and their confreres own the American citizenry.

  3. Anonymous1:54 PM

    At least they had the "balls" to call it what it is... terrorism.

  4. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Yeah, duh. Good thing they didn't come to Missouri [Toddakinland] to find out, not only is there no gender equality, there is no equality of any kind except whatever can be purchased from the state legislature.

  5. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Sorry, but those women did not 'get' it! They DID find the American Exceptionalism. Except it is not what they thought it is - it is the way we treat women - and minorities and immigrants and poor people in general!

  6. Anonymous2:03 PM

    Sounds a lot like the point of Michael Moore's new documentary. Granted that nobody's perfect but we, in the States, have a lot to learn from the rest of the civilized world.

    1. Anonymous2:19 PM

      "we...have a lot to learn from the rest of the civilized world."
      --the rest? It doesn't sound like America is civilized to me. Sounds like it's returning to an uncivilized and terrorist mess, this time with an over-armed and undereducated population.

    2. Anonymous2:33 PM

  7. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Do you think Bill will hold up a nude photo of Melanoma? Crude but effective.

  8. Anonymous3:26 PM

    And those women delegates didn't even have to listen to a circle of male co-workers demanding to know whether they were a femi-nazi like I had to.

    They didn't have to listen to a math teacher say "come on, guys, are you going to let a girl give all the answers".

    They didn't have to listen male co-workers man-splain my proposals in order to make seem as if they had come up with the ideas.

    They didn't have to listen to a speaker at a large general meeting say "I was waiting for a question from THE woman".

    They did not have to listen to the men say "would you mind taking the minutes" in every, EVERY meeting I attended for 30 years.

    The terrorism is blatant and pervasive but just careful enough to pass for everyday "good ole boy" humor. And the UN ain't going to make a damn bit of difference.

    The pay gap is nothing compared to the shit you have to take every day in the workplace.

    1. Anonymous4:25 PM

      I'm sorry for you, because many of us, especially us women that own our own companies or work in the tech field we are equitably paid and compensated same as the Y chromosome crew. Not sure where the Poles polled, but where I live we women do just fine.

    2. Anonymous5:19 PM

      I am in tech. And much of what I listed happened in this century.

  9. Anonymous3:44 PM

    The Veterans Administration has undertaken a war against women. And NOBODY seems to care about resolving this. Least of all VA Secretary Bob McDonald who heard several concerns voiced by women veterans at a recent VA Town Hall in Wasilla, AND THEN promptly rejected all of the women's concerns and complaints.

  10. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Once you see gender equality in action, it's pretty difficult to go back. I worked for the same company, owned and run by a progressive woman. We had things like paid family leave, "share time" when two women with children would transition back into full time work sharing one job during the transition. Men got paid family leave, we had a furnished, clean and private room to nurse our kids, and had on site child care. We could telecommute when we wanted to, so if the weather was bad or school was closed, we had the option. Our jobs were guaranteed until we got back. Men and Women were paid the same for the same jobs.
    My boss recently retired and another company took over, you could tell the difference immediately. I'm counting down the days to retirement. Don't get me wrong, I still like my work and title, but seeing how other women have to fight for what I took for granted kind of shocks the conscience, considering how much in profits the company takes in.

  11. I just retired after 37 years of teaching.

    While I may not have earned as much money as I might have in the private sector, I will say that in my profession in my district there was gender equality. Everyone was on the same pay scale and was compensated equally. In fact, it seemed that women and minorities were more likely to gain advancement than white males. The only thing that wasn't equal was ageism. While I was treated equally until I was bout 55, I noticed after that I was treated differently. Not be cause I was a woman but because I was a senior teacher and thus, an expensive teacher. Administrators of both genders started to treat me differently and some downright bordered on harassment trying to get me to either leave their school or resign the district. I know some of my colleagues did resign stating they couldn't take the attacks any more. I think this was an unspoken policy encouraged by the district office in an attempt to save money. In fact, several times I was asked why I hadn't retired yet. This happens in every "company" and as a union member with just cause rights, at least I was protected from simply being fired for being at the top of the pay scale.

    My sister underwent some terrible harassment when she was working for an insurance company and finally after years of trying got pregnant. And she couldn't complain to her boss since he was tight with the men harassing her. Neither could she go over his head. She finally quit. I'm sure she is making less money that the men doing equal work at her current company and that she is being passed over for promotion. But she just turned 55 and I'm sure is simply grateful to have a job and walking on eggshells praying she won't be let go as part of some downsizing. AT 55 she is unlikely to find other work and no company values loyalty these days. She's been with this company for at least 15 years. That probably wouldn't count for squat.

    My Father financed my first home loan as he told me that if I had been a man, I would have been approved immediately. As it is I was strung along for 90 days and the seller was getting impatient. So my Dad financed the home for me, then I refinanced later. He flat out told me what happened was because I was a woman. Had I been a man I would have had the loan much sooner.


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