A report released by the United Nations Working Group on Dec. 11 about discrimination against women in the United States found that despite the country’s commitment to freedom and liberty, American women are not afforded “their rightful place as citizens of the world’s leading economy.” The working group found that in certain careers, like politics, women are staggeringly underrepresented. While women make up nearly half of the country’s workforce, they fill less than 20 percent of the seats in Congress. Women also are overrepresented in positions that earn low-income wages; in most fields, women still face a gender wage gap. Many of these issues have led to an increased percentage of women living in poverty. The report adds that impoverished women face “higher levels of violence and vulnerability.”
The working group report offers suggestions, including raising the minimum wage to help combat rising poverty rates among women in the United States, providing universal health care and ensuring better access to campaign funding. The report also emphasizes the need for universal, affordable child care. Often mothers must opt between working and caring for a child. For this reason, the report states, “Women are…far more likely than men to work only part time for family care reasons.” While the issues addressed in the working group’s report are not new, additional suggestions and an added focus on women’s rights in the United States are, unfortunately, still timely.