Women’s Rights Across the Globe

women rights

Achieving women rights requires more than just changing laws and policies — it also means winning hearts and minds. Across the globe, people are more concerned than ever about gender equality and the need to protect women from violence and oppression. They believe that women deserve the same economic opportunities as men and are entitled to full sexual and reproductive freedom.

In the United States, feminism has been one of the driving forces of the progress that we’ve made in advancing women’s rights since the 19th Amendment gave them the right to vote. This movement has led to advancements in pay, childcare, education and sex equality – transforming women’s lives. Today, we mark the anniversary of the March on Washington with renewed calls to action against extreme reproductive politics and attacks on the protections that have helped millions of women and girls achieve their rights.

The global gender gap has been narrowing in recent years, but there is still work to be done. Women and girls continue to face many obstacles, including low earnings, discrimination and violence. Women’s rights are human rights, and protecting women’s rights is fundamental to a free and just society.

Despite the challenges, people are optimistic about women’s rights. A median of 75% across 34 countries think that it is likely or very important for women to have equal rights with men in their country. But despite this widespread optimism, substantial shares of the public in some countries remain pessimistic about the prospects for women to achieve their rights.

This is particularly true in countries where sexist attitudes and practices persist, such as limiting women’s access to education, employment, health services and financial markets. And in places where women are disproportionately vulnerable to harmful patriarchal traditions, such as child marriage, female genital mutilation and forced abortion.

Achieving women’s rights is a critical part of democracy. When governments restrict the ability of half of their population to participate in the political process, they are squandering their potential to improve the lives of everyone in their communities. It is also a sign of authoritarianism.

As the global fight for women’s rights continues, we should look to the lessons of history and remember that progress is often hard-fought, but it is well worth the effort.

When asked to name a specific issue that they would like to see addressed if women had the same legal rights as men, respondents cite gender-based harassment and different expectations for men and women as major barriers. They also cite higher wages, less discrimination in the workplace and more paternity and maternity leave as possible solutions. But, perhaps most importantly, they cite the need to ensure that men and women are on an even playing field. This is the essence of feminism. It’s not just about promoting gender equality, it’s about creating societies in which all citizens are free and have the opportunity to realize their full potential. And that requires the commitment of all of us.