Women's Rights

May 2008 • Volume 2, Issue 5
Are violence and discrimination against women declining?
By Karen Foerstel

Introduction

Hiding her face in shame, 18-year-old Nonmume Alitteee is one of hundreds of thousands of women and girls who have been raped, sexually mutilated or forced into sexual slavery during the brutal, ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  (Getty Images/Per-Anders Pettersson)
Hiding her face in shame, 18-year-old Nonmume Alitteee is one of hundreds of thousands of women and girls who have been raped, sexually mutilated or forced into sexual slavery during the brutal, ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Getty Images/Per-Anders Pettersson)

Women around the world have made significant gains in the past decade, but tens of millions still face significant and often appalling hardship. Most governments now have gender-equality commissions, electoral gender quotas and laws to protect women against violence. But progress has been mixed. A record number of women now serve in parliaments, but only 14 of the world's 193 countries currently have elected female leaders. Globalization has produced more jobs for women, but they still constitute 70 percent of the world's poorest inhabitants and 64 percent of the illiterate. Spousal abuse, female infanticide, genital mutilation, forced abortions, bride-burnings, acid attacks and sexual slavery remain pervasive in some countries, and rape and sexual mutilation have reached epic proportions in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. Experts say without greater economic, political and educational equality, the plight of women will not improve, and society will continue suffering the consequences.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Women's Rights
Sep. 23, 2016  Women in Leadership
May 13, 2016  Women in Combat
Apr. 17, 2015  Girls' Rights
Apr. 03, 2012  Women's Rights
Nov. 13, 2009  Women in the Military
May 2008  Women's Rights
Mar. 21, 2008  Women in Politics
Feb. 28, 1997  Feminism's Future
Oct. 13, 1989  Should Women Be Allowed into Combat?
Jul. 28, 1989  Do Pregnant Women Lose Legal Rights?
Sep. 17, 1982  Women and Politics
Dec. 15, 1978  Equal Rights Fight
Jun. 23, 1978  The Rights Revolution
Jun. 13, 1975  International Women's Year
Jul. 05, 1973  Women's Consciousness Raising
Oct. 11, 1972  Women Voters
Aug. 05, 1970  Status of Women
Feb. 20, 1956  Women in Politics
Jan. 24, 1951  Womanpower in Mobilization
Apr. 04, 1946  Equal Rights Amendment
May 31, 1927  The Woman's Vote in National Elections
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Feminism
Global Issues
International Law and Agreements