Women’s Rights and Equality – Why More Needs to Be Done

women rights

Women make up half the world’s population, so gender equality directly benefits women and girls, but it’s also good for everyone. Studies have shown that advancing the status of women improves health, education, income, and even peace. The first step is to recognize that gender rights are human rights, and that women deserve equal opportunities as men do.

Then, it’s important to take action. The United Nations has made a commitment to do just that by adopting the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which includes a sweeping agenda for national action aimed at empowering women. This treaty, which was adopted in 1979, is often referred to as an international bill of rights for women.

As a result of this movement, there are now more women than ever before in government and business, and more women are serving as judges and police officers. However, there is still much work to be done. Globally, over 2.7 billion women don’t have the same economic rights as men. This includes the right to work, decent wages and pay, adequate social security, access to credit and savings, and to inherit property. In addition, women spend twice as long on unpaid care and household work.

Despite this progress, substantial shares in many countries believe more needs to be done to give women equal rights with men. This is especially true in developing countries, where about three-quarters of people who see more work to be done say this is the case. In these countries, high levels of educational attainment are a strong predictor of whether or not people think that more needs to be done to give women equal chances with men.

These statistics show how widespread the problem of discrimination against women is, and the magnitude of the need to continue to fight for women’s rights and equality. These changes have not just happened, but are the results of seven generations of women working very deliberately to effect change in family life, religion, politics, and culture — through meetings, petition drives, protests, lobbying, public speaking, and nonviolent resistance.

Many Americans, across demographic and partisan lines, feel that more needs to be done to give women the same rights as men. Two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic leaners say this is very or somewhat important, while most Republicans and Republican leaners say it’s not too or not at all important. When asked to name things that are holding back progress, a higher share of Democrats than Republicans point to not enough women in leadership positions (72% vs. 41%), different societal expectations (69% vs. 57%), and sexual harassment (85% vs. 66%) as major obstacles to equality.