U.S. still needs to work toward gender equality

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.

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Mike Evans
1 year 11 months ago
The church itself leaves the impression that women are somehow 2nd class people, unworthy to offer sacrifice, preside or lead congregations in any capacity, and suited to simply stay at home and wash dishes, cook, change diapers and clean. This attitude spills over into employment, commerce, politics, sexual law enforcement and most other secular situations. We continue to denigrate the role of women as the mainstays of child-rearing, educators, nursing and health, religious practice, and economic stability. The U.S. has not had a saintly record towards women (Mr. Trump seems to personify the ridicule of women) and U.S. voters certainly do not strongly support the election of women to strong leadership positions. None of the current men vying for presidential nomination seem to be advocates for any women's issues. And women themselves are often cajoled into supporting anti-feminine policies and attitudes.
Luis Gutierrez
1 year 11 months ago
As long as women are excluded from the hierarchy, the Church is part of the problem, not part of the solution. But this is not just a matter of "working for women." It is a matter of working for Christ, the entire body of Christ, the men of the Church being the ones who are most harmed by the absence of women in the ministerial priesthood. May I share these meditations on man and woman, humanity and nature: http://pelicanweb.org/CCC.TOB.html In this Year of Mercy, it would be an act of mercy to start ordaining some nuns!
Lisa Weber
1 year 11 months ago
Men have never needed the consent or cooperation of women in order to govern. The Catholic Church and most societies reflect that reality. Women bear much of the workload and cost involved in raising children. Subsidized child care and universal coverage for healthcare are ways that society can help promote the well-being of the next generation. The problem of women being underrepresented in leadership and the pay gap between men and women is more complex than simple discrimination. Groups of women tend to remain in a clan (mother-child) culture. A clan culture allows a significant degree of aggression among women and it is not the culture that is suited to the workplace. Women who hope to succeed in the workplace have to learn a second culture, so while young men are working to move up the career ladder, women are working to learn the culture of the workplace. This puts women at a disadvantage. The aggression among women means that women face greater obstacles to success than men plus it contributes to the pay gap. In 2015, the American Nurses Association published a draft paper on incivility, bullying and workplace violence that gave a dollar figure of the cost of bullying - $11,581 per nurse per year. It did not state this dollar figure as a percentage of pay, but it seems that it would account for a significant part of the pay gap between men and women. The lesson that the men in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church need to take away is that aggression among women also negatively affects the church. Much of the reason to develop the role of women in the church is to contain that aggression as well as provide women with leadership that inspires them. The Gospels provide important clues about how women's leadership might be developed, but the first step is to acknowledge that something needs to be done.

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