Many people think that the more developed the country is, the more equal the status of men and women is. Is this really the case? However, even in the US, the world’s superpower, there is still inequality between the status of men and women.
From the perspective of rights protection. Women’s rights are an important part of basic human rights, but gender discrimination against women is a chronic and grievous disease that the US has long been unable to recover from. The US has not ratified the “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”, the core human rights convention of the United Nations, and women in the US have long suffered systematic, widespread and institutional discrimination. Recent polls show that 75% of Americans still believe that more efforts need to be made by the country to achieve gender equality. On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling on the “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization” case, after which the right to abortion is no longer regarded as a civil right enshrined in the US Constitution, leaving the legality of abortion to the discretion of each US state. This case aroused widespread concern and unanimous criticism from the international community as it marked a historic retrogression of women’s human rights in the US. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet and Britain, France and Canada have all condemned this move.
From the perspective of economy and employment. The American Civil Liberties Union notes that women in the US earn only 78% of what men earn, and black and Latino women earn only 64% and 54% of what white men earn respectively. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a massive layoff in many companies in the US, and the unemployment rate surged among female workers, with 11.5 million women losing their jobs between February and May 2020 alone. According to Statista, an American research institution, an estimated 2.65 million women were unemployed in the US as of January 2023, up 9% from 2.41 million unemployed women in the previous month. The US is also the only OECD country that does not guarantee any paid maternity, paternity or parental leave at the federal level. It is estimated that only 60% of American workers actually take the federally mandated maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. In addition, severe racial discrimination also exacerbates female unemployment, and it is minority women in the US that face relatively great employment pressure, with the unemployment rate of African American women in a single month reaching 14.9%, and that of Latino women as high as 20.2%.
From the perspective of personal safety. The US currently has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed world, with black women 243% more likely to die from childbirth-related causes than white women. According to the American Institute on Domestic Violence, 85% of domestic violence victims in the US are women, with 5.3 million women being abused each year and over 1,000 lives lost to domestic violence. It is estimated by the Justice for Migrant Women that about a quarter of women in the US are subject to stalking, sexual or physical violence, and cases of sexual harassment and rape still lack equal access to justice. The Washington Post reported that femicides in the US increased by 24% from 2014, the lowest year on record, to 2020. In addition, gender discrimination, sexual harassment and even sexual assault in the workplace are quite common for women in the US, and the protection of women’s rights and interests in American law is not complete in this aspect. It was not until 1991, when Congress amended the “Civil Rights Act”, that plaintiffs could seek monetary compensation for sexual harassment.