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Ten Things You Should Know About International Women’s Rights

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While great progress has been made in the struggle for gender equality, women around the world continue to be denied basic civil rights. For instance, the right to vote, the right to education, even the right to drive are still unattainable in some countries. Here are the facts:

1. One in three women die or are seriously injured as a result of gender-based violence. Violence against women results in more deaths among women ages fifteen to forty-four than the total number of women who die because of war, malaria, and cancer.

2. An estimated four million women and girls are bought and sold worldwide each year, either into marriage, prostitution, or slavery.

3. One out of every six American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. An estimated 60 percent of all rapes are not reported to the police.

4. Approximately 96 million young women in developing countries still cannot read or write. Globally, girls account for 55 percent of children not in school.

5. Nearly 75 percent of those displaced by violent conflict are women. Displacement leaves women without access to health care, proper nutrition or education. Displaced women face a higher threat of gender-based terrorism and violence.

6. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda resulted in hundreds of thousands of violent sexual assaults, resulting in an estimated 250,000 women falling victim to HIV/AIDS. While many women awaiting treatment died, their perpetrators receive antiretroviral therapies in prison.

7. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that actually denies women the right to vote by law. Bhutan and Lebanon deny women the right to vote by convention rather than law. Brunei and The United Arab Emirates lack an electoral system completely, which means no one votes. In other parts of the world, women are allowed to vote, but struggle to exercise their rights.

8. With its rate of violence, sexual assault and inadequate health care, Afghanistan remains the most dangerous place in the world for women to live.

9. In 1974, Isabel Peron became the world’s first woman president, when she was elected President of Argentina. Around the world, sixty-eight women have served as head of state in their country (not including monarchies). Currently, thirty-eight women serve as head of government around the world. In 1997, Ireland became the first country to succeed power from one female president to another.

10. African nations have more women in parliament than most western nations. Rwanda ranks number one in world rankings for the highest representation of women at 49 percent.

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By Sarah Nelson for


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