You can stop laughing, because that’s what one New York Post writer seemingly believes.
In a list of the “5 places women shouldn’t spend their travel dollars,” Jennifer Ceasar writes in making the dubious case.
Ceaser lists four countries that are terrible for women because of the laws that keep women down or, in the case of Turkey, a president who said: “You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature because their nature is different.”
Indonesia, the second country on the list, was added because of a Human Rights Watch report that showed women who wished to join the nation’s police must undergo “virginity tests.” The tests have reportedly included a “two-finger test” to determine if female police applicants’ hymens have been broken. This is not only degrading to women but also shows a profound misunderstanding of female anatomy.
El Salvador also makes list because of the country’s anti-abortion law. We’re not talking about the anti-abortion laws in America that outlaw late-term or partial birth abortions, we’re talking about abortion laws that are illegal under all circumstances — even rape, incest and the life of the mother.
Next on the list is Saudi Arabia, a country that prohibits women from driving, voting or even leaving their house without a male guardian.
So, that's four countries with laws and people in charge who have serious issues with women — some of whom don’t seem believe women are human beings, let alone equal to men.
And then there's Utah. Somehow, Utah ends up in the same category as Saudi Arabia.
The reason? Women in the Beehive State earn less than men by a wider gap than the other 49 U.S. states. Citing the Global Gender Gap Index — which lists the U.S. as 20th out of 142 countries in terms of gender parity — the Post piece makes its case that Utah is horrible for women. Ceaser also cited a lack of women in government as more evidence.
Keep in mind that Utah has no laws dictating that women earn less than men or are not allowed to serve in government. It has no laws that tell women they must be virgins to take state jobs. Women in Utah are free to work if they choose, to drive if they choose, to vote if they choose and to serve in public office if they choose. Nothing is stopping them from doing so.
Further, as for the pay gap, we know (and the White House knows, despite continually saying otherwise) that the overall gender pay gap in the U.S. is almost entirely due to the choices women make in their careers and their lives. Utah has the highest percentage of traditional families in the country (two parents and children), according to 2012 Census data analyzed by the Salt Lake Tribune.
Utahns also have the largest-sized families in America, according to the 2010 Census. So it might not be that women are paid less than men because of discrimination, but perhaps because more women choose to stay home to raise children or take time off to care for children.
There’s no indication in Ceaser's piece or anywhere else that Utah is the Saudi Arabia of the U.S.
Note: The U.S. is 20th out of 142 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index. Turkey is 125th, Indonesia is 97th, El Salvador is 84th and Saudi Arabia is 130th. There are over 100 other countries Ceaser could have chosen to highlight as being bad for women, but they chose Utah. I’ll let you decide what their reason was.