Women's Rights Law

Women's Legal Issues are a unique body of law with a distinct history. Although there has never been a better time in history to be a woman in this country, women still face a number of issues that men simply do not have to contend with.

Title IX – Equal Education

Title IX is the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Although society has come a long way since its first enactment, Title IX is still very much a part of American education laws. Much current Title IX law today pertains to equal opportunities in student sports.


Women still face discrimination in the workplace. From sexual harassment to unequal pay, American women still have a number of unique legal hurdles that men rarely face.

Reproductive Rights

Women have a unique role in the reproductive process that men simply do not. As a result, women's health issues, including reproductive rights remain a matter of great public concern. Whether pro-life or pro-choice, reproductive rights will likely forever remain a hot button issue in American law and politics.

Social Programs

Women are at greater risk of poverty than men at all stages of their lives because of ongoing employment discrimination and a tendency to retain greater responsibilities for taking care of children. Similarly, women's longer lifespans and lower lifetime earnings tends to expose them to greater risk of poverty after retirement. As a result, a number of social programs recognize gender based preferences in order to better account for these facts.

For more information about legal issues relevant to women, please review the resources below.

Copyright HG.org

Articles on HG.org Related to Women's Rights Law

  • All Civil Rights Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Civil Rights including: constitutional law, consumer law, discrimination, human rights, native populations, privacy law, public law and sexual harassment.

Women's Rights Law - US

  • ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities - Rights of Women

    The Committee on the Rights of Women works within the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities to address substantive legal issues affecting the civil and human rights of women. From combating inequities faced in the United States, to improving the status of women abroad, the Committee plays an active role within the ABA drafting policy proposals, hosting Continuing Legal Education programs, developing written materials and providing a national forum for women's rights advocacy.

  • Breastfeeding State Laws

    Forty-three states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming).

  • Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

    The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) is a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization whose mission is to ensure that U.S. international policies and programs promote sexual and reproductive health within a human rights framework of women and girls worldwide. We envision a world where sexual and reproductive health and rights are universally recognized and sexual and reproductive health care is accessible and available to all.

  • Equal Rights Amendment

    The ERA was introduced into every session of Congress between 1923 and 1972, when it was passed and sent to the states for ratification. The seven-year time limit in the ERA's proposing clause was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at the deadline, the ERA had been ratified by 35 states, leaving it three states short of the 38 required for ratification. It has been reintroduced into every Congress since that time.

  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

    An Act to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

  • State Abortion Laws (U.S.)

    Prior to 1973, abortion was a states issue; most abortions, in most states were illegal. Though individual states have retained some narrow, legal outlets for regulating abortion, Roe vs. Wade forbids them from outlawing abortion during the first trimester and binds them to an extremely broad "health" exception during the second and third trimester.

  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) - Equal Pay Act of 1963

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

  • Women's Rights - Wikipedia

    The term women's rights refers to freedoms and entitlements of women and girls of all ages. These rights may or may not be institutionalized, ignored or suppressed by law, local custom, and behavior in a particular society. These liberties are grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men and boys, and because activists for this issue claim an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women and girls.

Women's Rights Law - International

  • International Federation of Women in Legal Careers

    The International Federation of Women in Legal Careers (F.I.F.C.J.) is a non governmental organization (NGO) of Women Jurists, founded in Paris in 1928 with the aim of fighting for the eradication of all forms of discrimination against women and promoting their Human Rights. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economical and Social Council (ECOSOC), since 1961, and with FAC. It cooperates with UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIFEM and OIT. It also teams up with others Federations and Associations who have common goals. Nowadays F.I.F.C.J affiliates National Associations and individual members in Africa, Asia, America and Europe.

  • National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)

    The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) is the leading national voluntary organization devoted to the interests of women lawyers and women's rights. Founded over 100 years ago, NAWL has historically served as an educational forum and an active voice for the concerns of women in the legal profession .

  • Treaty for the Rights of Women

    The Working Group on Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is a group of over 200 national non-governmental organizations engaged in outreach and education to achieve U.S. ratification of the Treaty for the Rights of Women.

  • United Nations - Women Watch

    WomenWatch is the central gateway to information and resources on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women throughout the United Nations system, including the United Nations Secretariat, regional commissions, funds, programmes, specialized agencies and academic and research institutions.

  • Women for Women International

    Women for Women International believes that when women are well, sustain an income, are decision-makers, and have strong social networks and safety-nets, they are in a much stronger position to advocate for their rights. This philosophy and our commitment to local leadership builds change and capacity at the grassroots level.

  • Women's Human Rights Resources Programme (WHRR) - Women's Human Rights Resources Database

    The Women's Human Rights Resources Programme (WHRR) collects, organizes and disseminates information on women's human rights law to facilitate research, teaching and cooperation. The information introduces women's human rights law in general, emphasizes selected international and Canadian topics, and explores the interconnections between domestic and international human rights law.

  • World Health Organization (WHO) - Female Genital Mutilation

    FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Organizations Related to Women's Rights Law

  • Because I am a Girl

    Because I am a Girl is a global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and everyone around them – out of poverty.

  • Center for Reproductive Rights

    The Center is a legal innovator seeking to fundamentally transform the landscape of reproductive health and rights worldwide. We have defined the course of reproductive rights through our victories in regional, federal, and local Courts around the world, as well as at the United Nations. We also influence the law outside the courtroom, Reporting on Rights and Engaging policymakers to promote progressive ideas and defeat proposals that are discriminatory, punitive, or dangerous to women's health.

  • International Women's Rights Project (IWRP)

    The International Women's Rights Project (IWRP) was founded in 1998 to strengthen the capacity of women's NGOs in Canada and internationally. IWRP and our partners work to influence the implementation of international human rights standards through collaboration, participatory research and evidence-based advocacy. Since 2003, IWRP has been affiliated with the Centre for Global Studies (CFGS) at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. In addition to being a project of the CFGS, IWRP is incorporated as a non-profit organization in Canada and in South Africa. The IWRP is guided by a group of advisory partners.

  • National Abortion Federation (NAF) - Prochoice

    The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada. We believe that women should be trusted to make private medical decisions in consultation with their health care providers. NAF currently offers quality training and services to abortion providers and unbiased information and referral services to women.

  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

    UNIFEM is the women's fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies to foster women's empowerment and gender equality.

  • Women's Rights - Human Rights Watch

    The Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch fights against the dehumanization and marginalization of women. We promote women's equal rights and human dignity. The realization of women's rights is a global struggle based on universal human rights and the rule of law. It requires all of us to unite in solidarity to end traditions, practices, and laws that harm women. It is a fight for freedom to be fully and completely human and equal without apology or permission. Ultimately, the struggle for women's human rights must be about making women's lives matter everywhere all the time. In practice, this means taking action to stop discrimination and violence against women.

  • Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

    The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is an international, multi-generational, feminist, creative, future-orientated membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women's human rights.

Publications Related to Women's Rights Law

  • Women's Rights News

    Women's Rights News is the bi-annual newsletter of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. The articles provide an overview of the organization’s current work on women's rights and keep readers abreast of advocacy developments and opportunities. Recent issues have focused on women's legal status in the Middle East, women migrant workers in Asia, the Millennium Development Goals and reproductive rights, and women’s property rights.

  • Women's Rights News Sections

    Service for human rights professionals. Constantly updated news and information about Women's Rights.

  • Women’s Rights - Global Issues

    Women’s rights around the world are an important indicator of understanding global well-being. Many may think that women’s rights are only an issue in countries where religion is law, such as many Muslim countries. Or even worse, some may think this is no longer an issue at all.

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