Women’s Rights in the United States

When women are fully empowered to make their own choices, they can contribute to the prosperity of their families and communities and achieve full human potential. They can also help to sustain the environment, create economic growth and promote peace. Gender equality is fundamental to achieving sustainable development and meeting all of the global goals outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda.

Despite the fact that women represent half of the world’s population, they still face barriers to achieving their full potential and rights. These include unequal access to economic and political opportunities, lower levels of education, greater health risks, poorer quality of life and a lack of representation in government and the economy. Women and girls deserve to be treated equally with men to ensure their safety, freedom and well-being.

Amid the many challenges that confront women around the world, there are encouraging signs of progress in a number of areas. For example, more countries now have laws protecting women’s equality with men. In 2022, a record 143 countries have enshrined equality in their constitutions. Women also earn 20% less than men globally, and they are more likely to be victims of gender-based violence (GBV) than men. Women are also less likely to own or secure tenure rights to agricultural land, and they are more prone to malnutrition than men.

At the same time, significant gaps persist in a number of countries, including many developing ones, and in some cases even in developed ones. A substantial share of people in a number of countries surveyed, such as Nigeria, Japan, Kenya, Turkey and Spain, say that it is unlikely that women will have the same rights as men in their country in the future.

Overall, most people surveyed believe that it is important for women to have the same rights as men in their country. Across 34 countries, majorities of people in all income brackets and among both Democrats and Republicans agree on this point. People with higher levels of education, in particular, are more likely to say that equal rights for women are extremely or very important.

In addition, most Americans believe that suffrage is one of the most important milestones in advancing women’s rights in their country. By a wide margin, more people cite this milestone than the other options listed in the question.

While suffrage is an essential milestone, we have a long way to go before every woman can reach her full potential. The history of women’s rights activism is a remarkable story of determined and dedicated activists overcoming tremendous odds. The stories of the suffragists and other women’s rights activists should be as celebrated as those of leaders like Jefferson, Lincoln and King. They are the reason that today, 72 years after the first convention at Seneca Falls, we celebrate International Women’s Day. And they are the reason that we continue to advocate for the advancement of women’s rights. It’s a goal that must be achieved by all.