Women's Rights

Women's Rights

In the words of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Women’s rights are an essential part of the overall human rights agenda, trained on the equal dignity and ability to live in freedom all people should enjoy.” The ACLU’s Human Rights Program integrates a human rights framework into litigation and advocacy in order to hold the United States accountable for its obligations to honor and protect human dignity for all, and to shape international jurisprudence to address meaningfully the lived experience of the most vulnerable women in our country. More

For many decades the Supreme Court served as the final arbiter in compelling states and private actors to treat all people in the United States as equals. However, in recent years, the Court has rolled back many of these protections and has taken a sharp about-face with regard to providing remedies to individuals for civil rights violations. In light of this turnaround and in recognition of the United States as part of the broader international family of nations around the world, U.S.-based advocates have in recent years embraced international human rights norms and mechanisms as a new strategy for achieving true equality. These norms and mechanisms provide opportunities for holding the government accountable in ways that are no longer available in domestic courts.  

These changes will not come easily or quickly, especially given the United States’ oft-espoused disdain for international human rights mechanisms. Yet advocates must engage in this struggle as it is the most promising avenue available at this moment in history to bring about meaningful policy changes with regard women's rights. Only through such efforts will we achieve equality and dignity for all.

Additional Resources

ACLU Suggested List of Issues to U.N. Country Report Task Force on U.S. Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (2012 resource): The ACLU submitted a report to the Human Rights Committee as part of a larger civil society effort to inform the international human rights community about the situation of human rights in the United States.

ACLU Women’s Rights Project: Women have made great strides in the fight for equality, but gender bias continues to create huge barriers for many, especially poor women, women of color, and immigrant women. Ongoing struggles include ensuring equal economic and educational opportunities, ending gender-based violence, and addressing the harms to women and girls in the criminal justice system. Since 1972 the ACLU has been working to systematically end sex discrimination and ensure that all women and girls are able to lead lives of dignity.

ACLU Blogs about Women’s Rights


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