ACLU: 12 Ways Women’s Rights Are Promoted Around the World

In the United States, we’ve come a long way in the fight for gender equality, but we still have a long way to go. This article from the ACLU points to ongoing inequalities—and highlights progress made in other countries to help promote gender equality, empower women, and create a more equal and inclusive society. From gender identity and healthcare to wages and political representation; all countries can draw inspiration from around the world.

By Louise Melling, Deputy Legal Director and Director of Center for Liberty, ACLU

“You’ve come a long way, baby.” That was a slogan of my youth. It was a marketing campaign for Virginia Slims, a cigarette marketed to women. The ads featured sexist images of the past — “Give women the right to vote and, by heavens, next thing you know, she’ll want to smoke like a man” — to mark progress.

Now, nearly two decades into the 21st century, I wonder how far we have really come. More than 20 states explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people; a Black woman is the candidate of a major party to be governor of Georgia; and sex discrimination is banned in employment, education, housing, and federally funded health care.

But in America today, a woman makes on average 80 cents to a man’s dollar. A Black woman makes only 62 cents to a white man’s dollar. Federal law prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation based on race, religion, and other categories, but not based on sex, including sexual orientation or transgender status. There are still police departments in this country that don’t make clear in policies or training materials that on-duty sexual misconduct against civilians is prohibited.

Six of the nation’s 50 governors are women. Five are white. None is transgender or lesbian. Eighty-one percent of women report having been subject to sexual harassment. More than a third have experienced intimate partner violence. Those companies that provide paid family leave — still less than 40 percent — often offer significantly less leave for men, reinforcing the notion that raising children is women’s responsibility. Federal health plans, including Medicaid, ban coverage of abortion unless the pregnancy results from rape or incest or is life-threatening.

Image credit: Kathryn Gamble | ACLU

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Kimberly Hosey