Status of Women

The psychological repercussions of women’s continuing struggle for justice affect everyone profoundly. From isolated homes to the halls of international policy forums, women and men from many circumstances have made notable progress in recent years in achieving greater gender equity and civil rights. When women’s status improves, the well-being of their families and societies also improves; a mother’s education level is the best predictor of her children’s achievement.

The struggle for social equity, economic justice, and respect for half of humanity continues worldwide. Whether the issue involves child brides, restrictions on women’s movement and activities, access to educational and job opportunities, or rape in conflict zones, women and girls experience specifically gender-related human rights abuses. In the United States, gender inequities include significant income differentials–women continue to earn on average only 77 cents for every $1 earned by men.

PsySR recognizes as well the psychological dimensions of gender-equity issues such as self-concept, life tasks, cognitive development, emotional health, and self-actualization. We are working to develop public education and advocacy efforts that apply psychology to transform the lives of women and girls.

Support Ratification of the UN Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

PsySR urges the immediate ratification by the U.S. Senate of the UN Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. A simple statement that women should be treated equally, however, does not give guidance to officials. Under the leadership of member Julie Carvalho, PsySR has developed several further important considerations for decision makers.Read More »

A PsySR Member Perspective: Melissa Farley on Human Trafficking and Prostitution

Prostitution is widely socially tolerated, with the buyers socially invisible. Even today, many mistakenly assume that prostitution is sex, rather than sexual violence, and a vocational choice, rather than a human rights abuse. Although clinicians are beginning to recognize the overwhelming physical violence in prostitution, its internal ravages are still not well understood. There has been far more clinical attention paid to sexually transmitted diseases among those prostituted than to their depressions, lethal suicidality, mood disorders, anxiety disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder) dissociative disorders, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury. Regardless of its legal status or its physical location, prostitution is extremely dangerous for women. Homicide is a frequent cause of death. Read More »

Links and Resources to Learn More and Take Action

Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda
The well-being of adolescent girls in developing countries shapes global economic and social prospects. Yet girls’ needs often are at the margins of development policies and programs. A 2008 report describes why and how to provide adolescent girls in developing countries a chance to approach their potential. The report was written by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), the Center for Global Development, the Population Council, and economist Caren Grown.

International Center for Research on Women
ICRW’s mission is to empower women, advance gender equality, and fight poverty in the developing world. With its partners, ICRW conducts empirical research, builds capacity, and advocates for evidence-based, practical ways to change policies and programs.

MADRE is an international women’s human rights organization that works towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights. MADRE partners with women in communities worldwide to meet urgent, local needs and create long-term solutions to the problems that women face.

National Organization for Women
NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; it works to secure abortion, birth control, and reproductive rights for all women; it aims to end all forms of violence against women, eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia, and promote equality and justice in U.S. society. Since its founding in 1966, NOW’s goal has been to bring about equality for all women. NOW remains the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States.

Toolkit to End Violence Against Women
To provide concrete guidance to those engaged in activities to end violence against women, the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women developed a Toolkit. Recommendations in the Toolkit, reviewed by experts in the fields of sexual assault, domestic vioilence, and stalking, are useful to communities, political leaders, and indivduals.

What Happened to the Women? Gender and Reparations for Human Rights Violations (2006) by Ruth Rubio-Marin (Ed.) (NY: The Social Science Research Council). Reparations programs are rarely designed to address the needs of women whose rights have been abused in violent conflicts. From the International Center for Transitional Justice, this book examines the gender gap in reparations for human rights abuses. Gender and reparations policies are described for Guatemala, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Timor-Leste.

Women for Women International
With a holistic approach, participants in Women for Women’s one-year program travel from victim to survivor to active citizen, helping lead the reconstruction of their post-conflict communities. Women in war-torn regions transform their lives through financial and emotional support, rights awareness training, jobs skills, and small business assistance.

Women Thrive Worldwide
Women in poor countries face barriers that keep them from lifting their families out of poverty. This non-profit fosters economic opportunity for women living in poverty around the world. WTW advocates for policies that give women opportunties to overcome these barriers–fair wages and working conditions, access to credit, property rights, and protection against violence.