The delegates were appalled by the lack of gender equality in America. They found the U.S. to be lagging far behind international human rights standards in a number of areas, including its 23 percent gender pay gap, maternity leave, affordable child care and the treatment of female migrants in detention centers.
The most telling moment of the trip, the women told reporters on Friday, was when they visited an abortion clinic in Alabama and experienced the hostile political climate around women’s reproductive rights.
The women discovered during their visit that women in the United States have “missing rights” compared to the rest of the world. For instance, the U.S. is one of three countries in the world that does not guarantee women paid maternity leave, according to the U.N. International Labour Organization. The U.N. suggests that countries guarantee at least 14 weeks of paid parental leave. Some countries go further — Iceland requires five months paid leave for each parent, and an additional two months to be shared between them.
“The lack of accommodation in the workplace to women’s pregnancy, birth and post-natal needs is shocking,” Raday said. “Unthinkable in any society, and certainly one of the richest societies in the world.”