By Mu Lu Source:Global Times
Thirty-seven Asia-Pacific countries on Friday voted to adopt the Asia-Pacific Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+25 Review, an outcome that was hoped to be a consensus document but received last minute objections from the US.
A self-proclaimed human rights defender, the US has flaunted its efforts in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment but has finally stood against the world by refusing to vote in favor.
“The US wanted to remove any reference to sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly abortion, which it said it does not recognize as a form of family planning,” the Philippine-based ABS-CBN reported.
The US move surprised many, including its allies Australia and New Zealand, which expressed their disappointment publicly. However, if we thoroughly look back to what the US has done in allegedly promoting women’s rights, we find the move in line with the country’s real values.
In the past year, lawmakers in states across the US hypocritically legislated to protect fetal rights and restrictively banned abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with the only exception for a serious threat to the health of the woman. Just as the author of a New York Times article headlined “A woman’s rights,” wrote: “More and more laws are treating a fetus as a person, and a woman as less of one…”
The absurdity reflects how conservative US forces represented by the Republicans have torn off their disguise of neoliberalism and showed what they really are: a group of evangelical elites who want to achieve moral satisfaction.
The result is that US women are subject to long-term, systematic, extensive and systematic discrimination, which is quite shocking.
As the world’s largest economy, the US has failed to protect the rights of women in the economic sphere. They face seriously discrimination in terms of employment, wages and careers. As nearly half of labor in the country, US women suffer higher unemployment than men: Between October 2016 and October 2017, US women lost more than 160,000 jobs while some 106,000 new jobs were added for men.
The income gap between the two genders is huge, and due to the problem of social welfare, retired women are more likely to fall into poverty than retired men.
In addition to economic inequality, US women have suffered from sexual harassment and violence in the workplace, school and at home – with black women the biggest victim, 45 percent of whom were physically or sexually abused. In the meantime, African-American women and children face a higher death rate than white Americans.
Gender discrimination is deeply rooted in US society, and patriarchy and a flawed social system have made it hard to be effectively uprooted. US women have struggled for equality for dozens of years but couldn’t even get the right to vote until 1920 – over 100 years after the foundation of the self-professed “most free and democratic” country.
Women’s human rights are indispensable for universal human rights. How women enjoy their rights is an important criterion to measure a country’s human rights situation. A serious violation of women’s rights has not only intensified US society’s inequality but also hindered the cause of international human rights from developing.
The US has been adopting a double standard on human rights. It acts like a clown that swings human rights as a stick to beat other countries, repeatedly revealing its ill-intentioned political motive.