Women's Status Examined

The United States ranks third in a report assessing the level of equality of women in 99 countries around the world. The report showed that nowhere in the world have women achieved full equality with men.

Published by the Population Crisis Council, an organization promoting inter-national family planning programs, the report assessed women's status in the areas of health, control over childbearing, education, employment, and legal protec-tion. Out of a possible 100 points, Sweden ranked first with a score of 87. The United States scored 82.5, and Bangladesh came in last with 21.5 points.

Women living in North America and Europe generally have more equality than women living in Africa, the Middle East, or South Asia, according to the report. Common factors that affect women in both rich and poor countries are teen-age marriage and pregnancy, job bias, and lit-tle opportunity for higher education, said Sharon L. Camp, editor of the report.

In a separate study, two out of five female employees of the U.S. government report having been sexually harassed on the job. The State Department has the worst problem among all federal agencies surveyed. Forty-two percent of women and 14 percent of men employees surveyed reported experiencing some form of sex-ual harassment between May 1985 and May 1987.

Anthony A. Parker was on the editorial staff of Sojourners when this article appeared.

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