By Xia Zhao, Lehigh University, USA
What do you think of rural women in the United States? What do you think of poverty? Many people in this world regard U.S. as a paradise. They think everyone in U.S. is rich. Actually, it is not the case. In March 13th, 2015, three U.S. NGO representatives had a presentation at Armenia Convention Center in New York. The panel session titled “Rural women: Beijing 1995+”, which discussed the issue of rural women in U.S. since 1995.
One of the representatives claimed that, “One step forward and two steps back. That’s what I have seen in the last 20 years of the progress of rural women in U.S.” In the past 20 years, while some progress has been made in reducing poverty, poverty rate is still very high for rural women in U.S. In 2014, there is near 18 percent of rural women below the poverty line in U.S. The discrimination against women has not disappeared.
California is one of the richest states in U.S. but it has a lot of people who live in poor. One representative from California told her own life experience during the presentation. She grew up in a migrant family with 12 children. They moved from state to state. Currently, in her community, five to six families still buy a house and live together in order to survive. There are about 2.5 million farmers in U.S. Majority of them are live less than $13,000 per year.
Finally, the NGO representatives pointed out the issue of unequal treatment for raped women in society. If a woman or a girl was raped, maybe she would never be married because it is a shame to be raped. In The past 20 years, NGOs are trying to find ways to empower women. Women themselves should support each other.