V. On the rights of women and children
To date, the United States has ratified neither the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, nor the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As the United States neglects the rights of women and children, their situation deteriorates.
Gender discrimination against women widely exists in the United States. According to statistics, women are not fully represented in governments at all levels in the United States, as women hold only 17 percent of the seats in Congress (www.wcffoundation.org).
Women doing the same work as men often get less payment in the United States, and the wage gap has narrowed by only 18 cents in the past half century (www.thedailybeast.com).
According to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union, in 2009, women working full-time, year-round were paid 77 cents on average for every dollar paid to men (www.aclu.org).
Women in the United States widely suffer discrimination in terms of employment, promotion and work. A new study confirms that American tech companies are woefully behind in including women among their board members and highest-paid executives.
On average, fewer than one in 28 of the highest-paid tech executives is woman.
At California's biggest public companies, only about 10 percent of the board members and top executives are women (The New York Times, December 9, 2011).
Poverty rate among American women reached new record high. According to data from the United States Census Bureau,
over 17 million women lived in poverty in 2010, including more than 7.5 million in extreme poverty and
4.7 million single mothers in poverty.
The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years;
the extreme poverty rate among women climbed to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate ever recorded (www.merchantcircle.com).
According to a report of the Associated Press on April 12, 2011, a single mother named Lashanda Armstrong drove her four kids in a minivan into the Hudson river in Newburgh, New York due to the unbearable burden of raising the kids. Only her 10-year-old boy survived.
Women in the United States often experience discrimination, violence and sexual assault. Ethnic minority women face discrimination during pregnancy.
According to a report provided by the LAMB (The Los Angeles Mommy and Baby Project), 32.4 percent of Asian-American mothers felt discriminated against during pregnancy, second only to African-American mothers among whom the ratio amounts to 47.9 percent, while the ratio among Latin American mothers is 31.1 percent (The China Press, June 1, 2011).
According to statistics from the website of the Los Angeles Police Department, more than 2 million American women are victims of domestic violence annually.
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey shows nearly one in five women has been raped in her lifetime, and one in four has experienced serious physical violence from an intimate partner at some point in her life (Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2011).
Throughout the military, sexual assault affects about 19 percent of female troops but most of them choose to keep silent, according to a survey of sexual assault conducted by the US military (www.csmonitor.com).
From March to October in 2011, a string of 20 sexual assaults happened in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Park Slope and the victims were all young women (The New York Times, October 19, 2011).
Reports say many of the 1 million women in prison in the United States experienced harsh treatment and even had their arms and legs chained when they were giving birth (www.globalissues.org).
Poverty rate for children in the United States reached record high. According to the report released by the US Census Bureau, more than 1 million children were added to the poverty population between 2009 and 2010, making the total number of children living below the poverty line reach more than 15 million, the greatest since 2001.
The poverty rate for children in 2010 climbed to 21.6 percent in 2010 from 20 percent in 2009, with 653 counties seeing a significant increase in poverty rate for children aging 5 to 17 and about one third of counties having school-age poverty rates above the national poverty rate (www.census.gov).
The Daily Mail reported on August 17, 2011, that child poverty increased in 38 states from 2000 to 2009 and Mississippi is the state with the highest level of 31 percent.
The U.S. Census Bureau said that children living in poverty, especially small children, are more likely to develop cognitive and behavioral difficulties and may have a shorter education time and a longer time being unemployed when they grow up (The China Press, November 21, 2011).
The number of homeless children has surged. In 2010, 1.6 million children in the United States were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, up 33 percent from that in 2007, according to the National Center on Family
Homelessness (USA Today, December 15, 2011). According to the Education Department of New York, there are 53,503 homeless students and children of 3 to 21 years old in New York, and the Homeless Service Department's count also shows an average of 6,902 children of 6 to 17 years old a month are homeless in the city (The New York Times, November 14, 2011).
Nearly 17,000 children slept in the municipal shelters in New York on the Halloween night in 2011. From May 2011 to November 2011, children in shelters rose 10 percent (The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2011).
Children are severely exposed to violence and pornography. BBC reported on October 17, 2011, that over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children were believed to have been killed by their family members. More than 1 million children are confirmed each year as victims of child abuse (www.preventchildabuse.org), and one of every two families in the U. S. is involved in domestic violence at some time (www. reverepolice.org).
The Wall Street Journal reported on November 14, 2011, that roughly 120,000 calls were made to the state hot line for child abuse calls administrated by the state Department of Public Welfare in Pennsylvania, but only about 24,000 cases were investigated.
A 13-year-old boy named Christian Choate was allegedly beaten to death in 2009 by his father. The report said prosecutors had alleged that the boy endured beating daily and was kept locked in a 3-foot-high dog cage, where he had little to eat and often soiled himself (Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2011).
Campus violence and cyber bullying are growing more malicious in the U. S. According to a report of the US News & World Report on June 3, 2011, at least 40 percent of high school students have been bullied by cyber bullies (www.usnews.com).
The Women's Enews reported on May 23 last year, the sex-trafficking problem is acute in the state of Georgia, with an estimated 250 to 300 underage teens and girls being sexually exploited each month there (womensenews. org).
According to a report published by the Stanford University, the number of reports of sexual assaults received in its campus in 2010 rose by 75 percent over that in 2009 (CBS, September 30, 2011).
Infant mortality rate remains high in the United States. According to a report of The New York Times on October 15, 2011, the infant mortality rate in the United States is 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. The rate among the African-Americans is 13.3 deaths per thousand, while the rates among the whites, Hispanics and Asian-Americans are respectively 5.6, 5.5 and 4.8 per thousand. In Pittsburgh, the infant mortality rate for black residents of Allegheny County was 20.7 per thousand in 2009, while the rate among whites in the county was only 4 per thousand in the same period. Nationally, black babies are more than twice as likely as white babies to die before the age of 1.