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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Womens’ Rights to Vote and Laws Against Gender Discrimination: The Makeup for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

  • Author(s): Sandhu, Simrandip
  • et al.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which measures the state of democracies in countries, there are currently a total of 113 countries that are considered full, flawed, or hybrid democratic regimes (Democracy Index 2019). These democratic regimes are measured by and uphold civil rights and equalities to certain degrees, are key characteristics and indicators for a country to be considered as a democracy. However, not all of these democracies started as full democracies as some countries had to struggle more than others to gain rights and equalities for certain groups of people. Specifically, gender equality for women. Historically women in several countries did not enjoy the same benefits or rights as men always did. In some countries, such as the United States, women had to march and protest to reform laws so that they could have the right to vote. In Norway, which is considered one of the most democratic countries in the world today, women had to fight for the right to vote, earn the same wages as men, and to run for public office (EIU Democracy Index 2019). It was so difficult that it took them over 100 years to get where they are today (Gundersen, 2020). These are only two of the several nations that have made great strides towards strengthening their democracies and achieving equality. With all their efforts, countries began to reform laws that upheld gender equality and rights. Laws that allow women to vote and acts that uphold gender equality are the most effective ways in contributing towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in elected office.

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