Last week, a United Nations working group focused on discrimination against women in the United States published their findings—they are bad, bad findings.

“We acknowledge the United States’ commitment to liberty, so well represented by the Statue of Liberty which symbolizes both womanhood and freedom,” the group’s letter reads. “Nevertheless, in global context, US women do not take their rightful place as citizens of the world’s leading economy... In the U.S., women fall behind international standards as regards [to] their public and political representation, their economic and social rights and their health and safety protections.”

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The letter notes that despite the U.S. government’s commitment to joining the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), it has failed to do so, making it one of only seven countries that hasn’t yet, along with Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

Some fun, fast facts about the state of women in America from the letter:

  • Although female representation in government is the highest it has ever been in this country, we are ranked #72 in the world for government gender equity.
  • Given that women have been crucial to economic growth, the UN’s group is “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.”
  • The U.S. healthcare system severely neglects poor women, particularly of color, and immigrants.
  • According to UN reports, maternal mortality rates increased by 136 percent between 1990 and 2013, with black women being nearly four times more at risk to die during child birth. The letter reports that states with higher poverty rates have a 77 percent higher maternal mortality rate.
  • Restrictions on reproductive health services disproportionately affects poor women. The group encourages the adoption of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would prohibit states from restricting women’s ability to obtain safe and legal abortion services.
  • Despite efforts at reducing violence against women, the working group still has concerns about over-incarceration, sexual violence, the “alarming high rates of violence” against Native American women, the increased homicides of black women by the police, and violence against LBTQ women.

Read the full report here.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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Image via Getty.