|•||Women represent half of the world's population and perform nearly 66 percent of all working hours but receive only one-tenth of the income generated and own less than I percent of the property.|
|•||Only 5 percent of 160 members of the International Labor Organization have ratified the I.L.O. conventions of 1981 and 1982 protecting women with family responsibilities against unfair termination of employment.|
|•||In the United States some 77 percent of poverty is borne by single, divorced, or widowed women. In New York City, zookeepers (usually men) who did not finish high school are paid more than schoolteachers (usually women) with four years of college education.|
|•||In the Soviet Union, Communist ideology is constitutionally wedded to the principle of sexual equality; yet women comprise 88 percent of the ditch- diggers at any typical hydro-electric project while constituting less than 1 percent of the Soviet Academy of Science.|
|•||In Indonesia, a boy aged 15 is considered the legal head of the family, in his father's absence, even though his mother may be a lawyer or the boy's teacher in high school.|
The foregoing are but a few vivid illustrations of the worldwide denial of the rights of women. These examples provided some impetus for this comprehensive analysis of the continuing subordinate status of women. This topic is as important as any in the study of discrimination. Of all deprived groups in the world today, women seem to have suffered the most throughout history. Racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination has produced numerous victims, but women, members of a majority group, have suffered even more than members of these minority groups.
The study of comparative human rights began in a serious fashion only within the past two decades. But the denial of the rights of women around the world has not been seen as a major feature of human rights. A comprehensive and comparative analysis of the rights of women, and of the abuse of those rights, meets as important a need as any in a full consideration of human rights. The time has come to provide a broad-based study of women's rights -- a topic at least as important as discrimination based upon race, religion or ethnicity. In compiling such a study, the author of this book has undertaken a pioneering venture.
Until recently, scholarly attention to women's rights and related subjects has been limited, and generally national (one nation) in scope. The most ambitious undertaking has been Rita Falk Taubenfeld and Howard J.