8 Unbelievable Things That Women In The U.S. Still Lack In 2015

Progress should be faster than this.

When you hear of the dire struggles of women around the world, you wouldn't think of the U.S. as one of those places, but it is. Even in the year 2015, women in the U.S. face incredible economic and social hurdles that seem barbaric and outdated. It is absolutely appalling that women in the U.S. are facing these unique obstacles.

Here are eight very important things that women in the U.S. still do not have in 2015:

1. Paid maternity leave.

There are only three countries that lack a paid maternity leave policy. The United States is one of those three. While four states do allow paid maternity leave, as well as some private companies, it's not enough. Forty-three percent of women with children are forced to voluntarily leave work during their careers.

2. Full reproductive rights.

While abortion is still legal in the U.S. at the federal level, several states (including within the past year) are making it extremely difficult for women to utilize their reproductive rights. Examples of states laws include banning "partial birth" abortions, forcing women to undergo abortions only in hospitals and mandating counseling before the abortion.

3. Paycheck equality.

Women still get paid 78 cents on the dollar for what their male counterparts in the U.S. make. Congress still hasn't passed the Paycheck Fairness Act. As a result, the U.S. is ranked 65th in the world on gender pay equality.

4. Freedom from catcalling.

While we all know that women can be verbally harassed as they walk down the street in the U.S., there have no laws created to protect women. Meanwhile, five other nations enacted laws that protect women against catcalling.

5. Accessible and affordable birth control.

While the birth control pill is legal in the United States, there are still some barriers preventing women from getting it. There is no over-the-counter birth control pill. And some employers are exempt from providing their female employees with free contraceptives.

6. Safe births.

Out of every 100,000 births in the U.S. during 2013, 18.5 women died. In 1990, it was 12.4 women. That means the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world where the maternal death rate is increasing due to a lack of health care and unplanned pregnancies.

7. Being believed when reporting sexual assault.

Women are still sexually assaulted in the U.S., with one in five women sexually assaulted in college. What's even more disturbing is that many sexual assault victims feel that they are being viewed as liars, even though less than just 5 percent of rape accusations contain falsehoods.

8. Equal number of elected female leaders.

When it comes to electing women to federal office, the U.S. is still in the bottom half of the world rankings in this category. How disproportionate is it? Less than 20 percent of current U.S. Congressional representatives are women. And while many countries have elected female heads of state, the US is not one of those nations.

(H/T: CNN)

Cover image via iStock