V. On Conditions of Women, Children and Elderly People
Little can be spoken of the human rights record in the U.S. in view of protecting the rights of women, children, elderly people and other special disadvantageous social groups.
American women cannot enjoy the equal rights with men to take part in government and political affairs. Statistics from the Center for American Women in Politics indicated that in 2003, women hold 59, or 13.6 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives, and 14, or 14 percent of the seats in the Senate.Despite an increase in the number of women seated in state legislatures in 2003, they made up only 22.3 percent of the total 7,382 state legislators in the U.S. (Women in Elected Office 2003 Fact Sheet Summaries, www.cawp.rutgers.edu/Facts/Officeholds/cawpfs.html).
Women are not entitled to equal treatment with regard to employment and income. American women are still largely pigeonholed in "pink collar"jobs, such as secretaries, saleswomenand restaurant attendants, according to a report released by the American Association of University of Women in May, 2003 (www.aauw.org/about/newspress_releases/230505.cfm).
Statistics from the US Department of Labor indicated that in 2002, the average weekly income for women aged 16 and above were 530 US dollars, or 77.9 percent of the 680 dollars for their male counterparts. Analysis by the department noted that there were twice as many as women whose earnings were below the Federal minimum wage, compared with men. Among the whites and Hispanics, women are more likely than men to become low income earners (Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, www.bls.gov)
There has been serious domestic and sexual violence against women. According to figures released by the White House in October2003, a total of 700,000 incidents of domestic violence were reported in the U.S. in 2001. One-third of women murdered each year are murdered by their current or former husbands or partners (National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2003, by George W. Bush, www.whitehouse.gov)
According to a survey conducted by the US National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 92 percent of American women cite domestic and sexual violence as one of their top worries. One out of every three women experiences at least one physical assault during adulthood, and only one out of every seven cases of domestic violence, however, drew the attention of the police. A report by the US military on sexual harassment scandals in the US Air Force Academy showed that 109 out of the 579 female cadets, oralmost 20 percent, that were interviewed said they had been sexually harassed and assaulted in different ways and to varying extent.
The protection of children provided in the U.S. is far below the international standards. The United States is one of the only two countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 1980s, all the states in the U.S.have lowered the age of criminal culpability against juvenile offenders, and in some states, juvenile offenders aged 10 even stood on trial in courts for adults.