2016 Gender Gap in the United States

The United States was ranked 45th in the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum.

This places the United States far below most European and industrialized countries.

global gender gap 2016

The United States has enacted the following legislation to address issues of gender discrimination: the 1963 federal Equal Pay Act, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the passage of Title VII and IX of the Education Amendments in the early 1970s.

According to data by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.  In the 2009 Congress, women held 90 of the 535 seats; 17 in the Senate and 73 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In the 2016 Presidential Election, women held 104 of the 535 seats; 21 in the Senate and 83 in the House of Representatives (Democrats most of them)

Only a 15.5% increase in seven  years.

USA and CEDAW: Not a believer?

The United States has never ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women , yes you read it right: never ratified.

Opponents have argued that ratification would relinquish too much power to the international community as treaty provisions would supersede United States law and would force the US to legalize prostitution, which is totally wrong, CEDAW defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

The Convention provides the basis legal frame to ensure women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life — including the right to vote and to stand for election — as well as education, health and employment.

It is a commitment to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Bush and Obama administrations stated that ratification is desirable and has received support from relevant government committees; however Senate is still a boy’s playground preventing any action.

Question is, will the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has a chance to be ratified now that 21 Senators are women?


Equality for Women is progress for all

It is well known that entrepreneurship accelerates economic development, and economic development brings healthier societies, better education models, and peace. Unfortunately, social barriers, discrimination practices, and economic abuse hinder women’s ability to perform under the same circumstances than male entrepreneurs, restraining survival skills, taking away income-earning options; diminishing their role in the economy and social change.

What happens when the elders make girls and young women feel unsafe if they leave the house, go to school or try to find a job? When patriarchal protagonists constantly blame female “liberal conduct and female exposure” for sexual harassment at school or work?

The consequence of such social behavior is that women see themselves not suited for participating in economic activities, they feel undervalued and unsafe, afraid of becoming the next victim; restricting their possibility to contribute to the household economy and community development.

Economic inequality opens the possibility for women to become victims of domestic violence, exploitation, and trafficking;[1] because it establishes an imbalanced relation between spouses and family members (domestic violence is not solely related to spouses it is also among parents/children, siblings, elders etc.); and generates “patterns of coercive control”[2] against women, better known as economic abuse, a non-physical manifestation of domestic violence.

Equality is the cornerstone of progress, studies show that there is a link between economic empowerment and violence against women (VAW), noticing that the more consolidated economic independence is among women the lesser risk of VAW exists. What is more, when household decisions and economic independence is shared equality the risk of VAW is almost non-existent[3] supporting the thesis that gender equality deters violence against women.

Did you know?

  • Women continue to earn less pay for work of equal value.
  • Approximately 128 countries have laws that prevent women from participating fully in society.
  • Around 800 women die every day due to childbirth and pregnancy related situations.
  • 1 in 3 girls and women are victims of violence every day.
  • Over the next decade, 100 million girls will become child brides.

The fact is that when women and girls live their lives in an equal, peaceful, violence-free environment, they build better skills to actively participate in the economy and contribute to local development and progress.

That is why “Equality for Women is Progress for All”.

Want to know more?

“Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the MDG for Women and Girls” -UN Secretary General’s Commission on the Status of Women- 12/2013.


[1] Press Release WOM/1390 05/03/2003 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/wom1390.doc.htm

[2] UK Study on DV costs.

[3] GSDRC helpdesk research report: VAW and political empowerment 2011 htto://www.grsdrc.org/docs/open/HD746.pdf