A report on Women's rights

Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst campaigning for women's suffrage
Ancient Sumerian bas-relief portrait depicting the poetess Enheduanna
Statue of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Women working alongside a man at a dye shop (fullonica), on a wall painting from Pompeii
Bronze statuette of a young woman reading (latter 1st century)
Couple clasping hands in marriage, idealized by Romans as the building block of society and as a partnership of companions who work together to produce and rear children, manage everyday affairs, lead exemplary lives, and enjoy affection
Foot binding, a practice commonly inflicted on Chinese women between the 10th century and the early 20th century. The image shows an X-ray of two bound feet.
Dahomey Amazons were a Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey.
Women performing tasks during the Middle Ages
Royal women's activities in the Middle Ages
Title page of the seventh Cologne edition of the Malleus Maleficarum, 1520 (from the University of Sydney Library), a book endorsing the extermination of witches
An image of suspected witches being hanged in England, published in 1655
The Debutante (1807) by Henry Fuseli; The woman, victim of male social conventions, is tied to the wall, made to sew and guarded by governesses. The picture reflects Mary Wollstonecraft's views in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in 1792.
Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie (c. 1797)
Minna Canth (1844–1897), a Finnish author and social activist, was one of the most significant European feminists and advocates of women's rights.
First page of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen
Australian women's rights were lampooned in this 1887 Melbourne Punch cartoon: A hypothetical female member foists her baby's care on the House Speaker.
A Punch cartoon from 1867 mocking John Stuart Mill's attempt to replace the term 'man' with 'person', i.e. give women the right to vote. Caption: Mill's Logic: Or, Franchise for Females. "Pray clear the way, there, for these – a – persons."
Statue in downtown Calgary of the Famous Five. An identical statue exists on Parliament Hill, Ottawa.
Mother and child, 1872
Australia's first female political candidate, South Australian suffragette Catherine Helen Spence (1825–1910)
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, as well as the first woman on the UK Medical Register.
Women standing in line to vote in Bangladesh
Strategist and activist Alice Paul guided and ran much of the Suffrage movement in the U.S. in the 1910s.
Headquarters of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, United States, early 20th century
1919 election poster, German social democrats. "Frauen! Gleiche Rechte, Gleiche Pflichten" ("Women! The same rights, the same duties")
Woman with bound feet, 1870s
Ladies of Caubul (Kabul, Afghanistan) showing the lifting of purdah in zenana areas – 1848 lithograph by James Rattray, Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library
Global maternal mortality rate per 100 000 live births (2010)
FGM in Africa, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen, as of 2015 (map of Africa).
First group of women who entered university in Iran
"And the villain still pursues her." Satirical Victorian era postcard.
Margaret Sanger
Marie Stopes
Map showing the prevalence of FGM in Africa
Cover of the 1919 Birth Control Review, published by Margaret Sanger. In relation to "How shall we change the law?" Sanger wrote "...women appeal in vain for instruction concerning contraceptives. Physicians are willing to perform abortions where they are pronounced necessary, but they refuse to direct the use of preventives which would make the abortions unnecessary... "I can't do it – the law does not permit it.""
Access to abortion services varies considerably throughout the world, with the status of related rights being an active and major political topic in many nations.
Birth rates per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years, worldwide
Finland's first female ministers were brought to Finnish Parliament shortly after the turn of the 20th century. From left to right: Hedvig Gebhard (1867–1961), member of parliament, and Miina Sillanpää (1866–1952), Minister of Social Affairs, in 1910.
Iraqi-American writer and activist Zainab Salbi, the founder of Women for Women International
Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was arrested in May 2018, along with 10 other women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia.
Participation in the CEDAW
A young ethnic Chinese woman who was in one of the Imperial Japanese Army's "comfort battalions" is interviewed by an Allied officer (see Comfort women).
Belém do Pará Convention, Maputo Protocol and Istanbul Convention participation combined.
Signed and ratified
Acceded or succeeded
Only signed
Not signed
Not a member state of the AU, CoE or OAS

Women's rights are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls worldwide.

- Women's rights
Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst campaigning for women's suffrage

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A generic symbol for gender equality

Gender equality

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State of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations and needs equally, regardless of gender.

State of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations and needs equally, regardless of gender.

A generic symbol for gender equality
Gender equality
From the documentary Ukraine Is Not a Brothel. Radical group Femen protest against the increase in sex tourism into Ukraine.
There is controversy with regard to ideologies according to which Western culture and Western feminism should be considered the international standard to be followed by the developing world.
An example of a Western European ideology responsible for persecution of women: Malleus Maleficarum, a book endorsing the extermination of witches. The book was written by the German Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer.
Map showing prevalence of FGM, only in Africa
Maternal mortality ratio (with Sustainable Development Goal target) as of 2015
Map of countries by fertility rate (2020), according to the Population Reference Bureau
A map of the world showing murders per 100,000 population committed against women, 2019
Anti-FGM road sign, Bakau, Gambia, 2005
An X-ray of two bound feet. Foot binding was practiced for centuries in China.
Global maternal mortality rate per 100 000 live births (2010)
In 2010, Sierra Leone launched free healthcare for pregnant and breastfeeding women
A wall along a residential lane in Guangzhou, China, with family planning posters stressing the importance of balanced sex-ratios, in order to prevent sex-selective abortion
Placard showing negative effects of lack of family planning and having too many children and infants (Ethiopia)
A family planning facility in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Anti-dowry poster in Bangalore, India
FGM in Africa, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen, as of 2015 (map of Africa).
Road sign near Kapchorwa, Uganda, 2004
Poster against child and forced marriage
Gender pay gap in average gross hourly earnings in the EU member states, according to Eurostat 2014
Women in Afghanistan wearing burqas. Some clothes that women are required to wear, by law or custom, can restrict their movements.
School girls in Gaza Strip
Headquarters of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, United States, early 20th century
A world map showing countries governmental participation by women, 2010
1952 portrayal of stereotypes about women drivers, based on the stereotype that women cannot drive well. Features Bettie Page.
Map showing countries which since independence have had (counting Governors-General as heads of state, but excluding monarchs):
Female head of government
Female head of state
Female head of state/government (combined)
Female head of state and female head of government
Three former sovereign states (East Germany, Tannu Tuva, and Yugoslavia) have also had a female Head of State or Head of Government

Gender equality is more than just equal representation, it is strongly tied to women's rights, and often requires policy changes.

The 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington, D.C., was initiated and organized by suffrage leader Alice Paul.

Women's suffrage

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The 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington, D.C., was initiated and organized by suffrage leader Alice Paul.
Anna II, Abbess of Quedlinburg. In the pre-modern era in some parts of Europe, abbesses were permitted to participate and vote in various European national assemblies by virtue of their rank within the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
South Australian suffragist Catherine Helen Spence stood for office in 1897. In a first for the modern world, South Australia granted women the right to stand for Parliament in 1895.
Marie Stritt (1855–1928), German suffragist, co-founder of the International Alliance of Women
French pro-suffrage poster, 1934
After selling her home, British activist Emmeline Pankhurst travelled constantly, giving speeches throughout Britain and the United States. One of her most famous speeches, Freedom or death, was delivered in Connecticut in 1913.
Women voting in Kabul at the first presidential election (October 2004) in Afghan history
1963 Iranian legislative election
Women's Rights meeting in Tokyo, to push for women's suffrage
Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon signing the Women's Suffrage Bill following the 1937 plebiscite
Savka Dabčević-Kučar, Croatian Spring participant; Europe's first female prime minister
Jane Brigode, Belgian suffragist, around 1910
Line luplau seen in the foreground on her daughter Marie Luplau's large group portrait painting From the Early Days of the Fight for Women's Suffrage (1897).
13 of the total of 19 female MPs, who were the first female MPs in the world, elected in Finland's parliamentary elections in 1907
Wilhelmina Drucker, a Dutch pioneer for women's rights, is portrayed by Truus Claes in 1917 on the occasion of her seventieth birthday.
The first Norwegian woman voter casts her ballot in the 1910 municipal election.
A 1917 demonstration in Petrograd. The plaque says (in Russian): "Without the participation of women, election is not universal!"
Women exercising the right to vote during the Second Spanish Republic, November 5, 1933
The Swedish writer Maria Gustava Gyllenstierna (1672–1737); as a taxpaying property owner, and a woman of legal majority due to her widowed status, she belonged to the women granted suffrage in accordance with the constitution of the age of liberty (1718–1772).
Swedish suffragist Signe Bergman, around 1910
Women's suffrage demonstration in Gothenburg, June 1918
Eighteen female MPs joined the Turkish Parliament in 1935
A British cartoon speculating on why imprisoned suffragettes refused to eat in prison
Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons in 1918, but as an Irish nationalist she did not take her seat, instead joining the First Dáil. In 1919 she was appointed Minister for Labour, the first female minister in a democratic government cabinet.
Australian women's rights were lampooned in this 1887 Melbourne Punch cartoon: A hypothetical female member foists her baby's care on the House Speaker. South Australian women were to achieve the vote in 1895.
Edith Cowan (1861–1932) was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly in 1921 and was the first woman elected to any Australian Parliament (though women in Australia had already had the vote for two decades).
Women's demonstration in Buenos Aires in front of the National Congress by law for universal suffrage, 1947
Eva Perón voting at the hospital in 1951. It was the first time women had been permitted to vote in national elections in Argentina. To this end Perón received the Civic Book No. 00.000.001. It was the first and only time she would vote; Perón died July 26, 1952, after developing cervical cancer.
First women electors of Brazil, Rio Grande do Norte, 1928.
Program for Woman Suffrage Procession, Washington, D.C., March 3, 1913
"Kaiser Wilson" banner held by a woman who picketed the White House
Toledo Woman Suffrage Association, Toledo, Ohio, 1912
The Silent Sentinels, women suffragists picketing in front of the White House circa February 1917. Banner on the left reads, "Mr President, How long must women wait for Liberty?", and the banner to the right, "Mr President, What will you do for women's suffrage?"

Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, c. 1880, age 65

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton, c. 1880, age 65
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her daughter, Harriot
The Stanton house in Seneca Falls
Lucretia Mott
Frederick Douglass
Susan B. Anthony
The Bloomer dress
One of the petitions collected by the League in opposition to slavery
A petition to Congress for a women's suffrage amendment signed by Stanton, Anthony, Lucy Stone, Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Ernestine Rose, and other leading women's rights activists
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Printing House Square in Manhattan in 1868, showing the sign for The Revolutions office at the far right below The World and above Scientific American.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, [ca. 1859–1870]. Carte de Visite Collection, Boston Public Library.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1889
Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton
Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton House in Tenafly, New Jersey, in 2015
Stanton (seated) and Susan B. Anthony
The monument for Henry Brewster Stanton and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Woodlawn Cemetery. Her accomplishments are listed on another side of the monument
The U.S. Capitol rotunda Portrait Monument by Adelaide Johnson (1921), depicts pioneers of the woman suffrage movement Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony
U.S. postage stamp commemorating the Seneca Falls Convention titled 100 Years of Progress of Women: 1848–1948. From left to right, Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucretia Mott.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was an American writer and activist who was a leader of the women's rights movement in the U.S. during the mid- to late-19th century.

Placard showing positive effects of family planning (Ethiopia)

Reproductive rights

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Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health that vary amongst countries around the world.

Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health that vary amongst countries around the world.

Placard showing positive effects of family planning (Ethiopia)
A classroom in South Africa
Ad promoting abstinence in Ghana: No Sex Ad (Anti-HIV/AIDS ― signage). Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education that teaches not having sex outside of marriage, most often excluding other types of sexual and reproductive health education, such as birth control and safe sex. Comprehensive sex education, by contrast, covers the use of birth control and sexual abstinence.
Maternal Mortality Rate worldwide, as defined by the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management, excluding accidental or incidental causes
Nicolae Ceaușescu, Romanian communist leader, enacted one of the most infamous natalist policies of the 20th century
A community bulletin board in Nonguang Village, Sichuan province, China, keeping track of the town's female population, listing recent births by name and noting that several thousand yuan of fines for unauthorized births remain unpaid from the previous year
Prevalence of FGM
The painting depicts a Chilean woman being kidnapped during a malón
A map from a 1929 Swedish royal commission report displays the U.S. states that had implemented sterilization legislation by then
Central America has very strict anti-abortion laws, and El Salvador has come to international attention due to its forceful enforcement.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) advocate for reproductive rights with a primary emphasis on women's rights.

Magna Carta or "Great Charter" was one of the world's first documents containing commitments by a sovereign to his people to respect certain legal rights.

Human rights

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Human rights are moral principles or norms for certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law.

Human rights are moral principles or norms for certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law.

Magna Carta or "Great Charter" was one of the world's first documents containing commitments by a sovereign to his people to respect certain legal rights.
U.S. Declaration of Independence ratified by the Continental Congress on 4 July 1776
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen approved by the National Assembly of France, 26 August 1789
"It is not a treaty... [In the future, it] may well become the international Magna Carta." Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1949.
The UN General Assembly
The official logo of the ICC
Flag of the African Union
European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
Map: Estimated prevalence of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) in Africa. Data based on uncertain estimates.
Extrajudicial detention of captives in Guantanamo Bay

The women's rights movement succeeded in gaining for many women the right to vote.

A woman

Woman

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Adult female human.

Adult female human.

A woman
Spectral karyotype of a human female
Photograph of an adult female human, with an adult male for comparison. Note that the pubic hair of both models is removed.
The human female reproductive system
Pregnant woman
A woman depicted at different ages
Sierra Leonean mother nursing an infant
A poster from a 1921 eugenics conference displays the U.S. states that had implemented sterilization legislation.
A campaign against female genital mutilation – a road sign near Kapchorwa, Uganda
Mother and child, in Bhutan
Map of countries by fertility rate (2020), according to the Population Reference Bureau
Percentage of births to unmarried women, selected countries, 1980 and 2007
Women attending an adult literacy class in the El Alto section of La Paz, Bolivia
Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the first female prime minister; she was democratically elected in Sri Lanka in 1960.
A world map showing female governmental participation by country, 2010.
German composer Clara Schumann in 1878
Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize.
Portrait of Charlotte du Val d'Ognes by Marie-Denise Villers (1801), depicts a feminine spirit.

The plural women is sometimes used in certain phrases such as "women's rights" to denote female humans regardless of age.

Late-18th century portrait of Gouges by Alexander Kucharsky

Olympe de Gouges

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Late-18th century portrait of Gouges by Alexander Kucharsky
Jean-Jacques Lefranc, Marquis de Pompignan, widely rumoured to be Olympe de Gouges' father
Olympe de Gouges' son, Pierre Aubry
The Code Noir, a decree passed by France's King Louis XIV in 1685. The Code Noir defined the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire and restricted the activities of free Negroes
Olympe de Gouges, 1793
Les trois urnes, the 1793 poster by Olympe de Gouges that led to her arrest and execution
The execution of Olympe de Gouges
The execution of the Girondins
Cartoon showing Robespierre guillotining the executioner after having guillotined everyone else in France.
First page of Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen

Olympe de Gouges (born Marie Gouze; 7 May 17483 November 1793) was a French playwright and political activist whose writings on women's rights and abolitionism reached a large audience in various countries.

Teenage birth rate per 1,000 females aged 15–19, 2000–2009

Sexual and reproductive health

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Field of research, healthcare, and social activism that explores the health of an individual's reproductive system and sexual wellbeing during all stages of their life.

Field of research, healthcare, and social activism that explores the health of an individual's reproductive system and sexual wellbeing during all stages of their life.

Teenage birth rate per 1,000 females aged 15–19, 2000–2009
Maternal mortality rate worldwide, as defined by the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management, excluding accidental or incidental causes
Map of countries by fertility rate (2020), according to the Population Reference Bureau
Combined oral contraceptive pill
A page from De Morbo Gallico (On the French Disease), Gabriele Falloppio's treatise on syphilis. Published in 1564, it describes early use of condoms.
Margaret Sanger, birth control advocate, and her sister Ethyl Byrne, on the courthouse steps in Brooklyn, New York City, January 8, 1917, during their trial for opening a birth control clinic. Contraception has been and still remains in some cultures a controversial issue.
Deaths from syphilis in 2012, per million persons
Disability-adjusted life year for gonorrhea per 100,000 inhabitants
Condoms offer effective protection from STIs.
FGM in Africa, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen, as of 2015 (map of Africa).
Anti-FGM road sign, Bakau, Gambia, 2005
Poster against child and forced marriage
World AIDS Day 2006 event in Kenya
Prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Africa

Support for contraception is based on views such as reproductive rights, women's rights, and the necessity to prevent child abandonment and child poverty.

A young girl in Laos

Girl

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Young female human, usually a child or an adolescent.

Young female human, usually a child or an adolescent.

A young girl in Laos
Cooking class at a girls' school in Jerusalem, c. 1936. Girls' upbringing and education were traditionally focused on preparing them to be future wives.
Goods exchanged as bride price
The Pashtun population has a tradition of trading girls in solving disputes.
China has an imbalanced sex ratio, a situation partly caused by the one child policy. Photo shows girls in 1982 in China.
World map of birth sex ratios, 2012
2011 Census sex ratio map for the states and Union Territories of India, boys per 100 girls in 0 to 1 age group.
A girl with a doll, a traditionally female toy. Photo by Hermann Kapps
A victor of the Heraean Games, represented near the start of a race. Various cultures throughout history have had different ideas of acceptable activities for girls.
Rows of pink girls' toys in a Canadian store, 2011. Biological sex interacts with environment in ways not fully understood in creating gender roles.
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen for going to school
An Afghan girl: Sex segregation is common in Afghanistan.
Millions of girls, some less than 1 year old, undergo ritual female genital mutilation (FGM) every year. This practice is found in parts of Africa, some Middle East countries such as Iraq and Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia. A worldwide campaign is underway to prevent FGM/C and other violence against girls.
Girls employed in different forms of child labour in Central America
Harari girls in Ethiopia
Die Amme mit dem Kind
Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window
Girl with a Domino Tower
Portrait of a Felix Daughter
Children on the Beach
A girl riding her skateboard.
La lettrice (1856). Reading Girl, sculpture by Pietro Magni
Princess Neferure as a girl, sitting on the lap of her tutor Senenmut. Girls and women in Ancient Egypt enjoyed a relatively high social status.
Two Finnish girls at the Hailuoto Island in 1912
58th International Debutante Ball, 2012, New York City (Waldorf-Astoria Hotel)
Bat mitzvah in Israel
Quinceañera in Nicaragua
Peter Paul Rubens—Portrait of a Young Girl
The Time of the Lilacs, by Sophie Gengembre Anderson.
Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer
Little Red Riding Hood, illustrated in a 1927 story anthology
The Salona Girl, marble head from city of Salona, 3rd century AD (archaeological museum, Zagreb)

The treatment and status of girls in any society is usually closely related to the status of women in that culture.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, painted by Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

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Human civil rights document from the French Revolution.

Human civil rights document from the French Revolution.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, painted by Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier
Print of the 17 articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789 (Musée de la Révolution française)

The French Revolution did not lead to a recognition of women's rights and this prompted Olympe de Gouges to publish the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen in September 1791.