Timeline of women's legal rights (other than voting)

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Timeline of women's legal rights (other than voting) represents formal changes and reforms regarding women's rights. That includes actual law reforms as well as other formal changes, such as reforms through new interpretations of laws by precedents. The right to vote is exempted from the timeline: for that right, see Timeline of women's suffrage. The timeline excludes ideological changes and events within feminism and antifeminism: for that, see Timeline of feminism.

Before the 21st century


21st century


  • United States: The "Mexico City Policy", which directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to withhold USAID funds from NGOs that use non-USAID funds to engage in a wide range of activities, including providing advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make abortion available, was reinstated by President George W. Bush, who implemented it through conditions in USAID grant awards, and subsequently extended the policy to "voluntary population planning" assistance provided by the Department of State.
  • United States: Ferguson v. City of Charleston, 532 U.S. 67 (2001), is a United States Supreme Court decision that found Medical University of South Carolina's policy regarding involuntary drug testing of pregnant women to violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court held that the search in question was unreasonable.
  • United States: Nguyen v. INS, 533 U.S. 53 (2001), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court upheld the validity of laws relating to U.S. citizenship at birth for children born outside the United States, out of wedlock, to an American parent. The Court declined to overturn a more restrictive citizenship requirement applying to a foreign-born child of an American father and a non-American mother who was not married to the father, as opposed to a child born to an American mother under similar circumstances.[1][2]
  • United Kingdom: Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002
  • Benin: abolition of the requirement that married women must have their husbands' permission to initiate judicial proceeding.[3]
  • Nepal: married daughters under 35 can inherit property.[3]
  • United States: In 2002, Sultaana Freeman filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Florida when the state's Department of Highway Safety suspended her license when she refused to be re-photographed without her veil. Her legal license was suspended without change in policy or law following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Her lawsuit argued that her religious beliefs required her to wear a veil "in front of strangers and unrelated males". It also stated that other states allowed photo-free licenses for religious reasons. Judge Janet C. Thorpe denied her lawsuit that year, and a state appeals court later upheld Thorpe's ruling.[4][5]
  • United States: In Apessos v. Memorial Press Group, a Massachusetts state court made a ruling forbidding employers from firing domestic violence survivors who need to take time off from work to obtain a court order of protection.[6]
  • Bangladesh: Bangladesh introduced the death penalty for acid attacks and laws strictly controlling the sale, use, storage, and international trade of acids. The acids are used in traditional trades carving marble nameplates, conch bangles, goldsmiths, tanneries, and other industries, which have largely failed to comply with the legislation. Salma Ali of the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association derided these laws as ineffective.[7] The names of these laws are the Acid Crime Control Act (ACCA) and the Acid Control Act (ACA), respectively.[8]
  • New Zealand: The Queen v Epifania Suluape (2002) NZCA 6, deals with a wife who pleaded provocation after she killed her husband with an axe when he proposed to leave her for another woman. There was some evidence of neglect, humiliation, and abuse but the court concluded that this was exaggerated. On appeal, the court was very conscious of the Samoan culture in New Zealand in restricting the power of the wife to act independently of her husband and reduced her sentence for manslaughter to five years.[9]
  • Luxembourg: Article 413 (repealed in 2003) provided mitigating circumstances for murder, assault and injury of an adulterous spouse.[10][11]
  • United Kingdom: the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (applies to England and Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Canada: Trociuk v British Columbia (AG), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 835 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms where a father successfully challenged a provision in the British Columbia Vital Statistics Act, which gave a mother complete control over the identity of the father on a child's birth certificate, on the basis that it violated his equality rights.
  • Benin: A 2003 law bans all forms of FGM.[12]
  • Niger: A law banning FGM was passed in 2003 by the Niger government.[13]
  • United States: Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721 (2003), was a United States Supreme Court case which held that the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 was "narrowly targeted" at "sex-based overgeneralization" and was thus a "valid exercise of [congressional] power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment."[14]
  • United States: The Supreme Court of Indiana recognized the medical malpractice tort of "wrongful pregnancy" when a woman became pregnant after a failed sterilization procedure. The court decided that the damages may include the cost of the pregnancy but may not include the ordinary cost of raising the child, as the benefits of rearing the child could not be calculated.[15]
  • United States: The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 (Pub.L. 108–105, 117 Stat. 1201, enacted November 5, 2003, 18 U.S.C. § 1531,[16] "PBA Ban") is a United States law prohibiting a form of late-term abortion that the Act calls "partial-birth abortion", referred to in medical literature as intact dilation and extraction.[17] Under this law, "Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both."
  • England: In R v Charlton (2003) EWCA Crim 415, following threats of sexual and violent abuse against herself and her daughter, the defendant killed her obsessive, jealous, controlling partner while he was restrained by handcuffs, blindfolded and gagged as part of their regular sexual activity. The term of five years' imprisonment was reduced to three and a half years because of the terrifying threats made by a man determined to dominate and control the defendant's life. The threats created a genuine fear for the safety of herself and more significantly, her daughter, and this caused the defendant to lose control and make the ferocious attack.[18]
  • Chile: Divorce was legalized.[19][20]
  • Botswana: the marital power is abolished by the Abolition of Marital Power Act.
  • Mozambique: abolition of the requirement that married women must have their husbands' permission to initiate judicial proceeding.[3]
  • South Africa: Bhe and Others v Magistrate, Khayelitsha and Others; Shibi v Sithole and Others; SA Human Rights Commission and Another v President of the RSA and Another,[21] an important case in South African customary law, was heard in the Constitutional Court on 2 and 3 March 2004, with judgment handed down on 15 October. Chaskalson CJ, Langa DCJ, Madala J, Mokgoro J, Moseneke J, Ngcobo J, O'Regan J, Sachs J, Skweyiya J, Van Der Westhuizen J, and Yacoob J were the presiding judges. The court held that section 23 of the Black Administration Act, in applying the system of male primogeniture, was incompatible with sections 9 (equality) and 10 (dignity) of the Constitution.
  • Pakistan: On December 8, 2004, under international and domestic pressure, Pakistan enacted a law that made honor killings punishable by a prison term of seven years, or by the death penalty in the most extreme cases.[22] Women and human rights organizations were, however, skeptical of the law's impact, as it stopped short of outlawing the practice of allowing killers to buy their freedom by paying compensation to the victim's relatives, which was problematic because most honor killings are committed by close relatives.[23]
  • France: France passed a law banning "symbols or clothes through which students conspicuously display their religious affiliation" (including hijab) in public primary schools, middle schools, and secondary schools,[24] but this law does not concern universities (in French universities, applicable legislation grants students freedom of expression as long as public order is preserved[25]).
  • Kenya: Kenya became the first country to abolish sales tax for menstrual products.
  • Nepal: Chhaupadi was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2005.[26]
  • United Kingdom (Scotland): the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005
  • Mexico: Supreme Court rules that forced sex in marriage is rape (marital rape).[27]
  • International: In 2005 the United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered Peru to compensate a woman (known as K.L.) for denying her a medically indicated abortion; this was the first time a United Nations Committee had held any country accountable for not ensuring access to safe, legal abortion, and the first time the committee affirmed that abortion is a human right.[28] K.L. received the compensation in 2016.[28]
  • Ethiopia: On May 9, 2005 the new Ethiopian Penal Code came into effect, which removed the marital exemption for kidnapping and rape, largely due to a campaign by Equality Now inspired by Woineshet Zebene's case.[29][30]
  • India except Jammu and Kashmir: The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ("Domestic Violence Act") was passed in order to provide a civil law remedy for the protection of women from domestic violence in India.[31] It was brought into force by the Indian government from 26 October 2006. The Act provides for the first time in Indian law a definition of "domestic violence", with this definition being broad and including physical violenc as well as other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse. It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders and not meant to penalize criminally.[32] The act does not extend to Jammu and Kashmir, which has its own laws, and which enacted in 2010 the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2010.[33]
  • India: The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005,[34] amended Section 4, Section 6, Section 23, Section 24 and Section 30 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. It revised rules on coparcenary property, giving daughters of the deceased equal rights with sons, and subjecting them to the same liabilities and disabilities. The amendment essentially furthers equal rights between males and females in the legal system.
  • United States: McCorvey v. Hill, 385 F.3d 846 (5th Cir. 2004)[3], was a case in which the principal original litigant in Roe v. Wade,[35] (1973) Norma McCorvey, also known as 'Jane Roe', requested the overturning of Roe. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that McCorvey could not do this; the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on February 22, 2005,[36] rendering the opinion of the Fifth Circuit final.
  • United States: The lawsuit Eduardo Gonzalez, et al. v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., et al. (No. C03-2817), filed in June 2003, alleged that the nationwide retailer Abercrombie & Fitch "violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by maintaining recruiting and hiring practice that excluded minorities and women and adopting a restrictive marketing image, and other policies, which limited minority and female employment."[37][38] The female and Latino, African-American, and Asian American plaintiffs charged that they were either not hired despite strong qualifications or if hired "they were steered not to sales positions out front, but to low-visibility, back-of-the-store jobs, stocking and cleaning up."[39] In April 2005, the U.S. District Court approved a settlement, valued at approximately $50 million, which requires the retail clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch to provide monetary benefits to the class of Latino, African American, Asian American and female applicants and employees who charged the company with discrimination.[39][40] The settlement, rendered as a Consent Decree, also requires the company to institute a range of policies and programs to promote diversity among its workforce and to prevent discrimination based on race or gender.[37][40] Implementation of the Consent Decree continued into 2011. Abercrombie did not admit liability.[39]
  • United States: New York City Council passed a law in 2005 requiring all new establishments falling under the terms of the legislation to maintain roughly a two-to-one ratio of women's bathroom stalls to men's stalls and urinals. Existing establishments were required to come into compliance when they undergo extensive renovations, while restaurants, schools, hospitals, and municipal buildings were excluded.[41][42]
  • United States: Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, 544 U.S. 167 (2005), is a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that retaliation against a person because that person has complained of sex discrimination is a form of intentional sex discrimination encompassed by Title IX.
  • Some countries in Africa: The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol, guarantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process, to social and political equality with men, to control of their reproductive health, and an end to female genital mutilation.[43] As the name suggests, it was adopted by the African Union in the form of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in Maputo, Mozambique. The protocol was adopted by the African Union on 11 July 2003 at its second summit in Maputo.[44] On 25 November 2005, having been ratified by the required 15 member nations of the African Union, the protocol entered into force.[45]
  • United States: Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled, 7–2, that a town and its police department could not be sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for failing to enforce a restraining order, which had led to the murder of a woman's three children by her estranged husband.
  • Brazil: Article 107 was repealed; it stated that a perpetrator's penalty was annulled when he married the person he made a victim, according to crimes listed elsewhere in the Code, including rape.[46]
  • Turkey: Turkey's rape-marriage law was repealed in 2005, as part of efforts to join the European Union.[47]
  • Victoria, Australia: The lack of success in raising self-defense in Australia for battered women has meant that provocation has been the main focus of the courts.[48] In 2005, based on the Victorian Law Reform Commission's Defences to Homicide: Final Report,[49] the Victorian government announced changes to the homicide laws in that jurisdiction, which are intended to address this perceived imbalance. Under the new laws, victims of family violence will be able to put evidence of their abuse before the court as part of their defense, and argue self-defense even in the absence of an immediate threat, and where the response of killing involved greater force than the threatened harm.[50]
  • China: Sex-selective abortions were banned in China.
  • Brazil: Brazil's Federal Law 11340, also called Maria da Penha Law (Lei Maria da Penha) – law against domestic violence against women
  • India: Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 comes into force (in October 2006)
  • Greece: Law 3500/2006 on Combating Domestic Violence, criminalizes domestic violence against women, including marital rape.[51]
  • Lesotho: the marital power is abolished by The Married Persons Equality Act 2006.[52]
  • United States: Khalid Adem, an Ethiopian American, was both the first person prosecuted and first person convicted for female genital mutilation (FGM) in the United States,[53][54] stemming from charges that he had personally excised his 2-year-old daughter's clitoris with a pair of scissors.[55][56][57]
  • United States: On November 24, 2006, the Title IX regulations were amended to provide greater flexibility in the operation of single-sex classes or extracurricular activities at the primary or secondary school level.[58]
  • United States: Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, 546 U.S. 320 (2006), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving a facial challenge to New Hampshire's parental notification abortion law. The First Circuit had ruled that the law was unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement was proper. The Supreme Court vacated this judgment and remanded the case, but avoided a substantive ruling on the challenged law or a reconsideration of prior Supreme Court abortion precedent. Instead, the Court only addressed the issue of remedy, holding that invalidating a statute in its entirety "is not always necessary or justified, for lower courts may be able to render narrower declaratory and injunctive relief."
  • United States: Jespersen v. Harrah's Operating Co., No. 03-15045 (9th Cir. Apr. 14, 2006, en banc) was a United States federal employment law sex discrimination case.

Darlene Jespersen was a 20-year employee at Harrah's Casino in Reno, Nevada. In 2000, Harrah's advanced a "Personal Best" policy, which created strict standards for employee appearance and grooming, which included a requirement that women wear substantial amounts of makeup. Jespersen was fired for non-compliance with its policy. Jespersen argued the makeup requirement was contrary to her self-image, and that the requirement violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[59][60]

In 2001, Jespersen filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the District of Nevada, which found against her claim. The district court opined that the policy imposed "equal burdens" on both sexes and that the policy did not discriminate based on immutable characteristics of her sex. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, but on rehearing en banc, reversed part of its decision. The full panel concluded, in contrast to the previous rulings, that such grooming requirements could be challenged as sex stereotyping in some cases, even in view of the decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. However, the panel found that Jespersen had not provided evidence that the policy had been motivated by stereotyping, and affirmed the district court's finding for Harrah's.[61][62][63]

  • United Kingdom: The Equality Act 2006 (c 3) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom covering the United Kingdom. The 2006 Act is a precursor to the Equality Act 2010, which combines all of the equality enactments within the United Kingdom and provide comparable protections across all equality strands. Those explicitly mentioned by the Equality Act 2006 include age; disability; gender; proposed, commenced or completed gender reassignment; race; religion or belief and sexual orientation.

The changes it made were,

  • creating the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) (merging the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission)
  • outlawing of discrimination on goods and services on the grounds of religion and belief (subject to certain exemptions)
  • allowing the Government to introduce regulations outlawing discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation in goods and services, which led to the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2006
  • creating a public duty to promote equality on the ground of gender (The Equality Act 2006, section 84, inserting section 76A of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, now found in section 1 of the Equality Act 2010).
  • Canada: Stopps v Just Ladies Fitness (Metrotown) Ltd was a discrimination by sex case heard before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal that was significant in Canadian law because it found that a women-only admission policy of a public gym was not discrimination.
  • Italy: After a few cases of infibulation practiced by complaisant medical practitioners within the African immigrant community came to public knowledge through media coverage, the Law n°7/2006 was passed on 1/9/2006, becoming effective on 1/28/2006, concerning "Measures of prevention and prohibition of any female genital mutilation practice"; the Act is also known as the Legge Consolo ("Consolo Act") named after its primary promoter, Senator Giuseppe Consolo. Article 6 of the law integrates the Italian Penal Code with Articles 583-Bis and 583-Ter, punishing any practice of female genital mutilation "not justifiable under therapeutical or medical needs" with imprisonment ranging from 4 to 12 years (3 to 7 years for any mutilation other than, or less severe than, clitoridectomy, excision or infibulation). Penalty can be reduced up to ​23 if the harm caused is of modest entity (i.e. if partially or completely unsuccessful), but may also be elevated up to ​13 if the victim is a minor or if the offense has been committed for profit. An Italian citizen or a foreign citizen legally resident in Italy can be punished under this law even if the offense is committed abroad; the law will as well afflict any individual of any citizenship in Italy, even illegally or provisionally. The law also mandates any medical practitioner found guilty under those provisions to have his/her medical license revoked for a minimum of six up to a maximum of ten years.[64]
  • Pakistan: In March 2005, the Pakistani parliament rejected a bill which sought to strengthen the law against the practice of honor killing, declaring it to be un-Islamic.[65] The bill was eventually passed in November 2006.[66] However, doubts of its effectiveness remained.[67]
  • Pakistan: In Pakistan, the Hudood Ordinances of 1979 subsumed prosecution of rape under the category of zina, making rape extremely difficult to prove and exposing the victims to jail sentences for admitting illicit intercourse.[68][69] Although these laws were amended in 2006, they still blur the legal distinction between rape and consensual sex.[70] The amending of the laws was done by the Women's Protection Bill.
  • Israel: Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that women should be allowed to deliver eulogies and that the burial societies, or chevra kadisha, should not impose gender segregation in the cemetery.[71] The ruling was in response to an incident in Petach Tikvah in which a woman was stopped from eulogizing her father.[71] However, the court's ruling was not backed up by the Religious Services Ministry until 2012, when Israel's Chief Rabbinical Council ruled that women can deliver eulogies at funerals, but that it is up to the community rabbi to decide on a case-by-case basis.[71]
  • Uruguay: Article 116 of the Penal Code and Articles 22 and 23 of the executive order nº 15.032 of Uruguay were repealed in 2006. The articles stated that in crimes of sexual assault, statutory rape, abduction, and disrespect of modesty, the penalty would be extinguished in cases where the assailant and the victim made a matrimonial contract.[72][73]
  • Guatemala: Article 200[46] stated that a rapist could be exonerated if he promised to marry his victim, provided she had reached the age of 12.[74] It was repealed in 2006.[74]
  • Tunisia: The authorities launched a campaign against the hijab, banning it in some public places, where police would stop women on the streets and ask them to remove it, and warn them not to wear it again. The government described the headscarf as a sectarian form of dress which came uninvited to the country.[75]
  • Costa Rica: Law on Criminal Sanctions for Violence Against Women (Ley de Penalización de la Violencia Contra las Mujeres).[76]
  • Costa Rica: Costa Rica repealed its marry-your-rapist law.[77][78] The law was Article 92, which stated that punishment of an accused or condemned person would be cancelled if he married his underage victim, if legally possible and no objections existed from her legal representatives and the National Children's Fund.[46]
  • New Zealand: Human Rights (Women in Armed Forces) Amendment Act 2007
  • Venezuela: enacts Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence (Ley Organica Sobre el Derecho de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia).[79]
  • England and Wales and Northern Ireland: The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 (applicable in England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland) was passed, which enables the victims of forced marriage to apply for court orders for their protection.
  • Egypt: The June 2007 Ministry ban on FGM eliminated a loophole that allowed girls to undergo the procedure for health reasons.[80]
  • Eritrea: Eritrea outlawed all forms of female genital mutilation with Proclamation 158/2007 in March 2007.[81][82]
  • United States: Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007), is a United States Supreme Court case that upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.[83]
  • United States: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), is an employment discrimination decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, stating that employers cannot be sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 over race or gender pay discrimination if the claims are based on decisions made by the employer 180 days ago or more. Justice Alito held for the five-justice majority that each paycheck received did not constitute a discrete discriminatory act, even if affected by a prior decision outside the time limit. Ledbetter's claim of the "paycheck accrual rule" was rejected.[84] The decision did not prevent plaintiffs from suing under other laws, like the Equal Pay Act, which has a three-year deadline for most sex discrimination claims,[85] or 42 U.S.C. 1981, which has a four-year deadline for suing over race discrimination.[86]
  • United States: In 2007, Michael Buday and Diana Bijon enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a discrimination lawsuit against the state of California. According to the ACLU, the obstacles facing a husband who wishes to adopt his wife's last name violated the equal protection clause provided by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.[87] At the time of the lawsuit, only the states of Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota explicitly allowed a man to change his name through marriage with the same ease as a woman. As a result of the lawsuit, the Name Equality Act of 2007 was passed to allow either spouse to change their name, using their marriage license as the means of the change; the law took effect in 2009.[88][89]
  • New Zealand: The Human Rights (Women in Armed Forces) Amendment Act 2007 is an Act of Parliament passed in New Zealand in 2007. It removed an exemption from the Human Rights Act 1993 which barred women from serving in combat roles in the New Zealand Defence Force.
  • Turkey: On 7 February 2008, the Turkish Parliament passed an amendment to the constitution, allowing women to wear the headscarf in Turkish universities, arguing that many women would not seek an education if they could not wear the hijab.[90][91][92][90] The decision was met with powerful opposition and protests from secularists. On 5 June 2008, the Constitutional Court of Turkey reinstated the ban on constitutional grounds of the secularity of the state.[93]
  • International: In 2008, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1820, which noted that "rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide".[94]
  • Guatemala: enacts Law against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women (Ley contra el Femicidio y otras Formas de Violencia Contra la Mujer).[95]
  • Colombia: enacts Law 1257 of 2008 for establishing rules of awareness, prevention and punishment of all forms of violence and discrimination against women (Ley 1257 de 2008, por la cual se dictan normas de sensibilización, prevención y sanción de formas de violenci a y discriminación contra las mujeres).[96]
  • Saudi Arabia: In 2008, women were allowed to enter hotels and furnished apartments without their mahram if they had their national identification cards.[97]
  • Nicaragua: Article 196, repealed in 2008, stated that if a rape victim marries the offender or grants a pardon, the procedure was suspended and the sentence imposed was cancelled.[46][98]
  • Panama: Article 225,[46] repealed in 2008, stated that a rapist could marry his victim (aged 14 or older) in order to avoid potential charges.[99]
  • Pakistan: Pakistan's Dowry and Marriage Gifts (Restriction) Bill, 2008, restricts dowry to PKR 30,000 (~US$300) while the total value of bridal gifts is limited to PKR 50,000.[100] The law made demands for a dowry by the groom's family illegal, as well as public display of dowry before or during the wedding. However, this and similar anti-dowry laws of 1967, 1976 and 1998, as well as Family Court Act of 1964 have proven to be unenforceable.
  • United States, Maryland: Maouloud Baby v. State of Maryland[101] (aka Maryland v. Baby) is a Maryland state court case relating to the ability to withdraw sexual consent.[102] The jury in the trial court convicted Baby of first degree rape and related charges, but the Court of Special Appeals, based upon a 1980 precedent that held that a rape could not legally occur if a woman withdrew consent after penetration,[103] reversed the conviction.[104] That precedent interpreted the English common law such that the withdrawal of consent following initial penetration did not make the act a rape. The court noted other states had noted that the act of intercourse is not completed at the initial penetration, and so consent could be withdrawn at any point during intercourse. For rape, the court noted that force or threat of force was a necessary element of the crime. Due to issues involving the instructions to the jury regarding rape and consent, the case was remanded for a new trial. In 2008, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Court of Special Appeals' reversal of the convictions and remand for re-trial, due to the trial court's error in failing to answer the jury's questions about whether a sex act continued after the withdrawal of consent could constitute rape if penetration had already occurred.[101] However, the court ruled that consent could be withdrawn at any time, even if the victim had initially consented.[105]

The bill also:

– Removes the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity, like voting or going to school; – Gives federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue; – Provided $5 million per year in funding for fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to help state and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes; – Requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to track statistics on hate crimes based on gender and gender identity (statistics for the other groups were already tracked).[114][115]

  • Kosovo: The hijab was banned in public schools and universities or government buildings.[116]
  • France: In 2006, a French Muslim man sought an annulment on the grounds that his bride (also Muslim) turned out not to be a virgin. She denied having misled him, but did not contest the appeal, which was duly granted. However, in 2009, French justice minister Rachida Dati ordered the government to appeal this decision (on the grounds that an important element of French public policy was at issue). The appeals court reversed the judgment. As explained by writer Ronald Sokol, "The government argued that the wife's virginity was not an essential condition because her unchaste past has no effect on married life. The judges agreed. Even if she had lied, they said, it did not matter, as a woman's lies about her past love affairs are not matters essential to her married life. In short, a woman's past is her own."[117] It became known as the "Virginity Lie" case.[118]
  • United States: In United States v. Jardee[119] it was ruled that the threat of being subjected to the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban did not turn an otherwise "petty" crime into a "serious" one requiring a jury trial.
  • United States: Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act and required employers to provide a reasonable break time for an employee to breastfeed her child if it is less than one year old.[120] The employee must be allowed to breastfeed in a private place, other than a bathroom. The employer is not required to pay the employee during the break time.[120] Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to comply with the law if doing so would impose an undue hardship to the employer based on its size, finances, nature, or structure of its business.[121]
  • United States: Sex discrimination was outlawed in health insurance.[122]
  • United Kingdom: The Equality Act 2010[123] is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, and has the same goals as the four major EU Equal Treatment Directives, whose provisions it mirrors and implements.[124]

The primary purpose of the Act is to codify the complicated and numerous array of Acts and Regulations, which formed the basis of anti-discrimination law in the United Kingdom. This was, primarily, the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and three major statutory instruments protecting discrimination in employment on grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. It requires equal treatment in access to employment as well as private and public services, regardless of the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. In the case of gender, there are special protections for pregnant women. The Act does not guarantee transsexuals' access to gender-specific services where restrictions are "a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".[125] In the case of disability, employers and service providers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their workplaces to overcome barriers experienced by disabled people. In this regard, the Equality Act 2010 did not change the law. Under s.217, with limited exceptions the Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.

The resolution was sponsored by 60 countries.[132] Its adoption was praised by Human Rights Watch, which called it "a tremendous step toward ending this horrendous practice".[133]

  • Jammu and Kashmir: enacted in 2010 the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2010.
  • Israel: On September 28, 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court outlawed public gender segregation in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood in response to a petition submitted after extremist Haredi men physically and verbally assaulted women for walking on a designated men's only road. However, in January 2011, a ruling of the Israeli High Court of Justice allowed the continuation of the gender segregation in public buses on a strictly voluntary basis for a one-year experimental period.[134]
  • France: A ban on face covering,[135] targeting especially women wearing chador and burka, was adopted by the French Parliament.
  • Australia: In a Western Australian case in July 2010, a woman sought to give evidence in court wearing a niqab. The request was refused on the basis that the jury needs to see the face of the person giving evidence.[136]
  • Syria: In 2010, Ghiyath Barakat, Syria's minister of higher education, announced a ban on women wearing full-face veils at universities. The official stated that the face veils ran counter to secular and academic principles of Syria.[137]
  • United States, Oklahoma: Sex-selective abortions were banned in Oklahoma.


  • Canada: On 12 December 2011, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration issued a decree banning the niqab or any other face-covering garments for women swearing their oath of citizenship; the hijab was not affected.[138] This edict was later overturned by a Court of Appeal on the grounds of being unlawful.
  • Australia: In September 2011, Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, passed the Identification Legislation Amendment Act 2011 to require a person to remove a face covering if asked by a state official. The law is viewed as a response to a court case of 2011 where a woman in Sydney was convicted of falsely claiming that a traffic policeman had tried to remove her niqab.[139]
  • Australia: In Queensland the partial defense of provocation in section 304(1) of the Criminal Code was amended in 2011, in order to "reduce the scope of the defense being available to those who kill out of sexual possessiveness or jealousy".[140]
  • El Salvador: enacts Law for a Life Free of Violence against Women (Ley Especial Integral para una Vida Libre de Violencia para las Mujeres).[141]
  • Afghanistan: In 2010 and 2011, the Afghan Supreme Court issued instructions to courts to charge women with "running away" as a crime. This makes it nearly impossible for women to escape forced marriages.
  • Scotland: The Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011 gives courts the power to issue protection orders.
  • United States: Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 564 U.S. ___ (2011), was a United States Supreme Court case. The case was an appeal from the Ninth Circuit's decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in which the Supreme Court, by a 5–4 decision, reversed the district court's decision to certify a class action lawsuit in which the plaintiff class included 1.6 million women who currently work or have worked for Wal-Mart stores, including the lead plaintiff, Betty Dukes. Dukes, a current Wal-Mart employee, and others alleged gender discrimination in pay and promotion policies and practices in Wal-Mart stores.[142] The Court agreed to hear argument on whether Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, Rule 23(b)(2), which provides for class-actions if the defendant's actions make injunctive relief appropriate, can be used to file a class action that demands monetary damages. The Court also asked the parties to argue whether the class meets the traditional requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation.[143] The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the class should not be certified in its current form but was only 5–4 on the reason for that and whether the class could continue in a different form.
  • Guinea-Bissau: A law banning the practice of FGM nationwide was made in 2011.[144]
  • Iraqi Kurdistan: A 2011 Kurdish law criminalized FGM practice in Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • United States, Arizona: Sex-selective abortions were banned in Arizona.
  • Ireland: the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012,[145] bans FGM.
  • Nicaragua: enacts Law no 779- Integral Law against Violence against Women (Ley Integral contra la Violencia hacia la Mujer).[146]
  • The Special Court for Sierra Leone Trial Chamber in the Charles Taylor decision found that the term 'forced marriage' should be avoided and rather described the practice in war as 'conjugal slavery' (2012).[147]
  • United States: Planned Parenthood v. Rounds (686 F.3d 889 (8th Cir. 2012) (en banc)) was a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that upheld a provision of a South Dakota law that requires a doctor to inform a patient, prior to providing an abortion, that one of the "known medical risks of the procedure and statistically significant risk factors" is an "increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide."
  • United States: A provision of the Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective August 1, 2012, states that all new health insurance plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance. Women's Preventive Services – including: well-woman visits; gestational diabetes screening; human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women age 30 and older; sexually transmitted infection counseling; human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling; FDA-approved contraceptive methods and contraceptive counseling; breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling; and domestic violence screening and counseling – will be covered without cost sharing.[148] The requirement to cover FDA-approved contraceptive methods is also known as the contraceptive mandate.[149][150]
  • Botswana: Mmusi and Others v Ramantele and Another is a 2012 case of the High Court of Botswana in which three sisters disputed their nephew's right to inherit the family home under customary inheritance laws that favored male descendants.[151][152] The court ruled that these laws were unconstitutional, asserting for the first time the right of Batswana women to inherit property.[152]
  • Morocco: Morocco amended Article 475, which provided between one- to five-year prison sentence for a perpetrator that abducted or deceived a minor with no resort to violence or threat, or attempted to do so. The Article included a second clause that permitted the withdrawal of a persecution if the perpetrator married the girl or woman.[153][154] The Parliament abolished the law in 2014[153] as it was considered to be at odds with the 2011 constitution.[155]
  • Argentina: Article 132 of the Argentine Penal Code stated that if a rape victim over the age of 16 agreed to marry her rapist, he could be freed from prison. This law was repealed in 2012.[156]
  • United States: In Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court ruled that the Family Medical Leave Act's self-care leave provision is not enforceable against states; the court did not agree that the provision addresses sex discrimination and sex stereotyping.[157]
  • Switzerland: equality between husband and wife with regard to the choice of family name and citizenship law.[158]
  • India: Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
  • India: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 introduced changes to the Indian Penal Code, making sexual harassment an expressed offence under Section 354 A, which is punishable up to three years of imprisonment and or with fine. The Amendment also introduced new sections making acts like disrobing a woman without consent, stalking and sexual acts by person in authority an offense. It also made acid attacks a specific offence with a punishment of imprisonment not less than 10 years and which could extend to life imprisonment and with fine.[159]
  • Panama: enacts Law 82 – Typifying Femicide and Violence Against Women (Ley 82 – Tipifica el Femicidio y la Violencia contra las Mujeres).[160]
  • Swaziland: marital power is restricted, but not abolished: Sihlongonyane v Sihlongonyane (470/2013) [2013] SZHC 144 (18 July 2013).[161]
  • Ivory Coast: legal reforms provide for gender equality in marriage.[3]
  • Bolivia: enacts Law 348 – Integral law guaranteeing women a Life Free of Violence (Ley 348 – Ley Integral para Garantizar a las Mujeres una Vida Libre de Violencia).[162]
  • United States: On March 7, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.[163] The renewed act expanded federal protections to gays, lesbians and transgender individuals, Native Americans and immigrants.[164][165][166]
  • United States: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 570 U.S. ___ (2013), was a Supreme Court of the United States case involving the standard of proof required for a retaliation claim under Title VII.[167] The Court held that while Title VII applies a mixed motive discrimination framework to claims of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2), that framework did not apply to claims of retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3. The Court reasoned that based on its decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. and on common law principles of tort law, the plaintiff was required to show that a retaliatory motive was the "but for" cause of the adverse employment action.
  • United States: enacts the Transport for Female Genital Mutilation Act, which prohibits knowingly transporting a girl out of the United States for the purpose of undergoing FGM.[168]
  • United States: Vance v. Ball State University is a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding who is a "supervisor" for the purposes of harassment lawsuits. The Supreme Court upheld the Seventh Circuit's decision in a 5–4 opinion written by Samuel Alito, rejecting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's interpretation of who counts as a supervisor.[169] The case was important because it resolved a dispute between several different circuits.[170][171][172] The Supreme Court held that an employee is a "supervisor" for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII only if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim.
  • United States: A Florida man successfully forced the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles to accept his decision to take his wife's last name.[173]
  • International: The first United Nations Human Rights Council resolution against child, early, and forced marriages was adopted; the resolution recognizes child, early, and forced marriage as involving violations of human rights which "prevents individuals from living their lives free from all forms of violence and that has adverse consequences on the enjoyment of human rights, such as the right to education, [and] the right to the highest attainable standard of health including sexual and reproductive health," and also states that "the elimination of child, early and forced marriage should be considered in the discussion of the post-2015 development agenda."[174][175][176]
  • International: The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2122, which supported abortion rights for girls and women raped in wars, "noting the need for access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including regarding pregnancies resulting from rape, without discrimination."[177] United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had recommended to the U.N. Security Council earlier in 2013 (in September) that girls and women raped in war should have access to "services for safe termination of pregnancies resulting from rape, without discrimination and in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law." In March 2013 Ban Ki-moon had also recommended to the Council that women raped in war have access to abortion services.[177]
  • Turkey: Turkey's parliament ended a ban on women lawmakers wearing trousers in its assembly.[178]
  • France: An old bylaw requiring women in Paris, France to ask permission from city authorities before "dressing as men", including wearing trousers (with exceptions for those "holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse") was declared officially revoked by France's Women's Rights Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.[179] The bylaw was originally intended to prevent women from wearing the pantalons fashionable with Parisian rebels in the French Revolution.[179]
  • Saudi Arabia: Saudi women were first allowed to ride bicycles, although only around parks and other "recreational areas".[180] They also had to be dressed in full body coverings and be accompanied by a male relative.[180]
  • Saudi Arabia: The Saudi government sanctioned sports for girls in private schools for the first time.[181]
  • India: India's top court ruled that authorities must regulate the sale of acid. The Supreme Court's ruling on July 16, 2013 came after an incident in which four sisters suffered severe burns after being attacked with acid by two men on a motorbike. Acid which is designed to clean rusted tools is often used in the attacks and can be bought across the counter. But the judges said the buyer of such acids should in future have to provide a photo identity card to any retailer when they make a purchase. The retailers must register the name and address of the buyer.[182]
  • Israel: The Religious Judges Law in Israel was amended to say that at least four women must be included in the religious judges' nomination committee, including a female advocate in the religious courts, and that the total number of committee members shall be eleven.[183]
  • Israel: In May 2013, after Women of the Wall, led by Anat Hoffman, had engaged in civil disobedience to exercise freedom of religion, a judge ruled that a 2003 Israeli Supreme Court ruling prohibiting women from carrying a Torah or wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall had been misinterpreted and that Women of the Wall prayer gatherings at the Western Wall should not be deemed illegal.[184]
  • Denmark: Until 2013,[185] according to section 227 of the Danish Penal Code, the penalty for rape committed pursuant to section 216 and for other sexual offences (sections 217–226) could be "reduced or remitted if the persons, between whom the sexual intercourse has taken place, have since married each other or registered their partnership."[186]
  • Turkey: The hijab was banned in universities and public buildings until late 2013 – this included libraries or government buildings. The ban was first in place during the 1980 military coup, but the law was strengthened in 1997.
  • Austria: Since the 1st of April 2013, marriage does not automatically change a woman's name; therefore a name change can only take place upon legal application. Before that date, the situation was the opposite: a married woman's name was changed to that of her husband, unless she legally applied to opt-out of the default situation.[187]
  • Tunisia: Adopted the Tunisian Constitution of 2014, which recognizes equality between men and women.[188] Among other things, quotas for women were introduced in Article 16 of the new constitution, which guaranteed equal representation of women in politics.[189]
  • Europe: the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), the first legally binding instrument in Europe in the field of domestic violence and violence against women, which creates obligations on states that choose to ratify it,[190] comes into force in August 2014.[191]
  • England and Wales and Scotland: The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes forcing someone to marry (including abroad) a criminal offense.[192] The law came into effect in June 2014 in England and Wales and in October 2014 in Scotland.
  • Japan: In a landmark ruling issued 23 October 2014, the Supreme Court of Japan ruled that demotion or other punitive measures based on pregnancy violate the Equal Employment Opportunity Law.[193]
  • India: In 2014, an Indian family court in Mumbai ruled that a husband objecting to his wife wearing a kurta and jeans and forcing her to wear a sari amounts to cruelty inflicted by the husband and can be a ground to seek divorce.[194] The wife was thus granted a divorce on the ground of cruelty as defined under section 27(1)(d) of Special Marriage Act, 1954.[194]
  • United States: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), is a landmark decision[195][196] by the United States Supreme Court allowing closely held for-profit corporations to be exempt from a law its owners religiously object to if there is a less restrictive means of furthering the law's interest. It is the first time that the court has recognized a for-profit corporation's claim of religious belief,[197] but it is limited to closely held corporations.[a] The decision is an interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and does not address whether such corporations are protected by the free-exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. For such companies, the Court's majority directly struck down the contraceptive mandate, a regulation adopted by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring employers to cover certain contraceptives for their female employees, by a 5–4 vote.[198] The court said that the mandate was not the least restrictive way to ensure access to contraceptive care, noting that a less restrictive alternative was being provided for religious non-profits, until the Court issued an injunction 3 days later, effectively ending said alternative, replacing it with a government-sponsored alternative for any female employees of closely held corporations that do not wish to provide birth control.[199]
  • Morocco: Article 475 provided between one- to five-year prison sentence for a perpetrator that abducted or deceived a minor with no resort to violence or threat, or attempted to do so. The Article included a second clause that permitted the withdrawal of a persecution if the perpetrator married the girl or woman.[153][154] The Parliament abolished the law in 2014[153] as it was considered to be at odds with the 2011 constitution.[155]
  • United States: United States v. Castleman (2014) challenged the application of the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban to misdemeanor convictions which did not involve "the use or attempted use of physical force". In a 9–0 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that Castleman's conviction of "misdemeanor domestic assault" did qualify as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" under Tennessee state law. Specifically they held that the "'physical force' requirement is satisfied by the degree of force that supports a common-law battery conviction – namely, offensive touching" – thereby preventing him from possession of firearms.[200]
  • United States: McCullen v. Coakley, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), was a United States Supreme Court case. The Court unanimously held that Massachusetts' 35-feet fixed abortion buffer zones, established via amendments to that state's Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act, violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it limited free speech too broadly.
  • Ecuador: In August 2014, a new criminal code came into force in Ecuador, and it no longer contains any marry-your-rapist laws.[201]
  • Portugal: Article 400 of the Portuguese penal code of 1886,[202] which still functioned in post-colonial Mozambique until its replacement on 11 July 2014,[203] stated that rapists who married their victim would not be punished.[202] The law was not applied since independence in 1974.[204] It was repealed in 2014.[204]
  • Ireland: The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 (Irish: An tAcht um Chosaint na Beatha le linn Toirchis 2013 was signed into law on 30 July by Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland; it commenced on 1 January 2014.[205][206][207] The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013[208] Act No.35 of 2013;[208] previously Bill No.66 of 2013[209]) is an Act of the Oireachtas which defined the circumstances and processes within which abortion in Ireland could be legally performed. The Act gave effect in statutory law to the terms of the Constitution of Ireland as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the 1992 judgment Attorney General v. X (the "X case"). That judgment (see above events in 1992) allowed for abortion where pregnancy endangers a woman's life, including through a risk of suicide.
  • England and Wales: The Slander of Women Act 1891 was repealed[210] for England and Wales on 1 January 2014 by section 14(1) of the Defamation Act 2013.[211]
  • Turkey: The ban on wearing hijab in high schools was lifted in 2014.[212]
  • Turkey: Since 2014, women in Turkey are allowed to keep their birth names alone for their whole life instead of using their husbands' names.[213] In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that prohibiting married women from retaining only maiden names is a violation of their rights.[214] Prior to this case, the Turkish Code of Civil Law Article 187 required a married woman to compulsorily obtain her husband’s surname after the marriage; or otherwise, to use her birth name in front of her husband’s name by giving a written application to the marriage officer or the civil registry office.
  • Romania: The new Penal Code, which came into force in 2014, regulates the procedure of abortion. Article 201 (1) punishes the performing of an abortion when done under any of these following circumstances: (a) outside medical institutions or medical offices authorized for this purpose; (b) by a person who is not a certified physician in the domain of obstetrics and gynecology and free to practice this profession; or (c) if the pregnancy has exceeded fourteen weeks. An exception to the fourteen weeks limit is provided by section (6) of Article 201, which stipulates that performing an abortion is not an offense if done for therapeutic purposes by a certified doctor until twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, and even after the twenty-four weeks limit, if the abortion is needed for therapeutic purposes "in the interest of the mother or the fetus". If the woman did not consent to the abortion; if she was seriously injured by the procedure; or if she dies as a result of it, the penalties are increased – sections (2) and (3) of Article 201. If the acts are done by a doctor, apart from criminal punishment, the doctor is also prohibited from practicing the profession in the future – section (4) of Article 201. Section (7) of Article 201 stipulates that a pregnant woman who provokes her own abortion will not be punished.[215]
  • Gambia: In 2015, Gambia's president Yahya Jammeh banned FGM.[216]
  • Brazil: enacts law against femicide.[217]
  • Nicaragua: new Family Code which provides for gender equality comes into force,[218] replacing the old family law which gave the husband authority.[3][219]
  • Nigeria: bans FGM.[220][221]
  • Northern Ireland: The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015[222] criminalizes forced marriage (section 16 – Offence of forced marriage).[223]
  • United Kingdom: The first conviction for forced marriage in the United Kingdom occurred in June 2015, with the convicted being a man from Cardiff.[224]
  • Canada: In 2015, the Canadian Parliament enacted 2 new criminal offences to address the issue of forced marriage.[225] Forcing a person to marry against their will is now a criminal offence under the Criminal Code,[226] as is assisting or aiding a child marriage, where one of the participants is under age 16.[227]
  • Canada: Canada removed its tampon tax in mid-2015.
  • United States: The Obama administration issued a new rule stating that a closely held for-profit company that objects to covering contraception in its health plan can write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services stating its objection, and that the Department will then notify a third-party insurer of the company's objection, and the insurer will provide birth control coverage to the company's female employees at no additional cost to the company.[228]
  • United States: Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC and DOES 1–20 was a lawsuit filed in 2012 in San Francisco County Superior Court under the law of California by executive Ellen Pao for gender discrimination against her employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Overlapping with a number of condemning studies on the representation of women in venture capital, the case was followed closely by reporters, advocacy groups and Silicon Valley executives.[229] Given the tendency for similar cases to reach settlements out of court, coverage of Pao v. Kleiner Perkins described it as a landmark trial once it began in February 2015.[230][231] On March 27, 2015 the jury found in favor of Kleiner Perkins on all counts.
  • United States: A policy update in 2015 required all Indian Health Services-run pharmacies, clinics, and emergency departments to have Plan B One-Step in stock, to distribute it to any woman (or her representative) who asked for it without a prescription, age verification, registration or any other requirement, to provide orientation training to all staff regarding the medication, to provide unbiased and medically accurate information about emergency contraception, and to make someone available at all times to distribute the pill in case the primary staffer objected to providing it on religious or moral grounds.[232]
  • United States: In the U.S. Supreme Court case Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 576 U.S. ___ (2015), the Court held that Congress specifically intended to include disparate impact claims in the Fair Housing Act, but that such claims require a plaintiff to prove it is the defendant's policies that cause a disparity.[233] The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on sex.[234]
  • United States: Young v. United Parcel Service, 575 U.S. ___ (2015), is a United States Supreme Court case that the Court evaluated the requirements for bringing a disparate treatment claim under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.[235] In a 6–3 decision, the Court held that to bring such a claim, a pregnant employee must show that their employer refused to provide accommodations and that the employer later provided accommodations to other employees with similar restrictions.[235]
  • Bulgaria: Until September 2015, under Bulgaria's penal code, a rapist could escape punishment, even in the case of statutory rape, if it was followed by marriage.[236]
  • Cameroon: On July 12, 2015, two women dressed in religious garments blew themselves up in Fotokol, killing 13 people. Following the attacks, since July 16 of that year, Cameroon banned the wearing of full-face Islamic veils, including the burqa, in the Far North region. Governor Midjiyawa Bakari of the mainly Muslim region said the measure was to prevent further attacks.[237]
  • Gabon: On July 15, 2015, Gabon announced a ban on the wearing of full-face veils in public and places of work. The mainly Christian country said it was prompted to do so because of the attacks in Cameroon (see above).[237]
  • Chad: Following a double suicide bombing on June 15, 2015, which killed 33 people in N'Djamena, the Chadian government announced on June 17, 2015, the banning of the wearing of the burqa in its territory for security reasons.[238][239]
  • Congo-Brazzaville: The full-face Islamic veil was banned in May 2015 in public places in Congo-Brazzaville, to "counter terrorism", although there had not been an Islamist attack in the country.[237]
  • Japan: Japanese law does not recognize married couples who have different surnames as lawful husband and wife, which means that 96% of married Japanese women take their husband's surname.[240] In 2015, the Japanese Supreme Court upheld the name-change law, ruling that it was not unconstitutional, noting that women could use informally their maiden names, and stating that it was the parliamentarians who should decide on whether to pass new legislation on separate spousal names.[241]
  • Jordan: Article 308 in the Jordanian Penal Code originally allowed for an aggressor of sexual assault to avoid persecution and punishment if he married the victim.[242] Only if the marriage lasted under three years did he need to serve his time. The article was amended in 2016, barring full pardon in cases of rape but keeping a loophole clause that pardoned perpetrators if they married the victim if she was aged between 15 and 18 and if the assault was regarded as “consensual.” The article was fully abolished in 2017.
  • Algeria: An Algerian law came into effect punishing violence against women and sexual harassment.[243]
  • Australia: Hizb ut-Tahrir was ordered to stop forcibly segregating men and women at its public events after a NSW tribunal found the practice constituted sexual discrimination.[244]
  • Saudi Arabia: According to a directorate issued by the justice minister, Walid al-Samaani, clerics who register marriage contracts would have to hand a copy to the bride "to ensure her awareness of her rights and the terms of the contract".[245]
  • United States: Zubik v. Burwell was a case before the United States Supreme Court on whether religious institutions other than churches should be exempt from the contraceptive mandate, a regulation adopted by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires non-church employers to cover certain contraceptives for their female employees. Churches are already exempt under those regulations.[246] On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a per curiam ruling in Zubik v. Burwell that vacated the decisions of the Circuit Courts of Appeals and remanded the case "to the respective United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fifth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits" for reconsideration in light of the "positions asserted by the parties in their supplemental briefs".[247] Because the Petitioners agreed that "their religious exercise is not infringed where they 'need to do nothing more than contract for a plan that does not include coverage for some or all forms of contraception'", the Court held that the parties should be given an opportunity to clarify and refine how this approach would work in practice and to "resolve any outstanding issues".[248] The Supreme Court expressed "no view on the merits of the cases."[249] In a concurring opinion, Justice Sotomeyer, joined by Justice Ginsburg noted that in earlier cases "some lower courts have ignored those instructions" and cautioned lower courts not to read any signals in the Supreme Court's actions in this case.[250]
  • United States: Voisine v. United States, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that reckless misdemeanor domestic violence convictions trigger gun control prohibitions on gun ownership.[251][252][253]
  • United States: Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), was a United States Supreme Court case decided on June 27, 2016, when the Court ruled 5–3 that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion. It has been called the most significant abortion rights case before the Supreme Court since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.[254]
  • United States: The Survivors' Bill of Rights Act of 2016 was passed by the United States Congress in September 2016 and signed into law by US President Barack Obama on October 7, 2016.[255] The law overhauls the way that rape kits are processed within the United States and creates a bill of rights for victims. Through the law, survivors of sexual assault are given the right to have a rape kit preserved for the length of the case's statute of limitations, to be notified of an evidence kit's destruction, and to be informed about results of forensic exams.[255]
  • United States: The Obama administration issued guidance that informed states that ending Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood or other health-care providers that performed abortions might be against federal law. The Obama administration contended that Medicaid law permitted states to ban providers from the program only if the providers could not perform covered services or bill for those services. However, the Trump administration repealed this guidance in 2018.[256]
  • Germany: Germany's parliament passed a new law saying that it is rape to have sex with a person who says "No" to the sex. Under the previous law, sex was not considered rape unless the victim fought back.[257] The new law also classifies groping as a sex crime, makes it easier to deport migrants who commit sex offences, and makes it easier to prosecute assaults committed by a large group.[257]
  • Tanzania: The Tanzanian High Court—in a case filed by the Msichana Initiative, a lobbying group that advocates for girls' right to education—ruled in favor of protecting girls from the harms of early marriage.[258][259]
  • Gambia: During a feast ending the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced that child and forced marriages were banned.[259][260]
  • Pakistan: Pakistan repealed the loophole which allowed the perpetrators of honor killings to avoid punishment by seeking forgiveness for the crime from another family member, and thus being legally pardoned.[261]
  • Punjab: Protection of Women against Violence Bill, 2015 is a bill drafted by CM's Special Monitoring Unit (Law and Order)[262] and passed by the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab[263] which was signed into a law on 1 March 2016 by Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana. The law declares physical violence, abusive language, stalking, cyber crimes, sexual violence, psychological and emotional abuse against women a crime in Punjab, home to 60% of Pakistan's population.[264] Additionally, it creates a toll-free universal access number (UAN) to receive complaints while district protection committees will be established to investigate complaints filed by women. Centres will also be set up for reconciliation and resolution of disputes. Every district would have women’s shelters and district-level panels to investigate reports of abuse and mandates the use of GPS bracelets to keep track of offenders[265]

The bill aims to promote gender equality in the province, it allows women to get a residence order, the victim has a right to stay in the house if she doesn’t want to vacate it or the defendant has to provide an alternative accommodation to the victim if she wants so.[266] Further, if she is being harassed or stalked, she can claim a protection order which ordains the defendant to not communicate with her or stay a certain distance from her. In addition, the victim can also seek monetary relief from the defendant to meet expenses occurred and losses suffered through monetary orders in this bill.[263][267]

  • Israel: It was announced that the High Court of Justice had given the Justice Ministry 30 days to formulate new regulations to allow women to compete equally with men for the position of director of rabbinical courts.[268]
  • Israel: The Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court ordered a man jailed for thirty days for helping his son refuse to give his daughter-in-law a divorce for eleven years.[269]
  • Malaysia: The Sessions Court declared that a man accused of two counts of statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl from Petra Jaya in the Malaysian part of Borneo in October 2015 would escape punishment because he claimed to have married his victim,[270] but this was overruled by the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak in August 2016 after large-scale protests argued this would set a dangerous precedent for child rapists to escape punishment.[271]
  • Bulgaria: A ban on the wearing of face-covering Islamic clothing in public was adopted by the Bulgarian parliament.[272]
  • Latvia: A ban on the wearing of face-covering Islamic clothing in public was adopted by the Latvian parliament, despite such garments being rarely worn in Latvia.[273]
  • United States: The "Mexico City Policy" was reinstated by President Trump.[274] Trump not only reinstated the policy but expanded it, making it cover all global health organizations that receive U.S. government funding, rather than only family planning organizations that do, as was previously the case.[275]
  • United States: A new law ended former President Obama's executive order, which would have mandated companies trying to get contracts with the federal government to show compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws.[276] That executive order had been enjoined by a federal judge in October 2016.[277]
  • Norway: Norway adopted a law prohibiting people to wear "attire and clothing masking the face in such a way that it impairs recognizability" in schools and in universities.[278]
  • United States: In 2017 a rule about abortions was overturned by new legislation.[279] Late in 2016, the Obama administration issued the rule, effective in January 2017, banning U.S. states from withholding federal family-planning funds from health clinics that give abortions, including Planned Parenthood affiliates; this rule mandates that local and state governments give federal funds for services related to sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy care, fertility, contraception, and breast and cervical cancer screening to qualified health providers whether or not they give abortions.[280] However, this rule was blocked by a federal judge the day before it would have taken effect.[281]
  • United States: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that employers could pay women less than men for the same work if they based that on differences in the workers' previous salaries.[282]
  • United States: The Trump administration issued a ruling letting insurers and employers refuse to provide birth control if doing so went against their "religious beliefs" or "moral convictions".[283]
  • United States: Federal judge Wendy Beetlestone issued an injunction temporarily stopping the enforcement of the Trump administration ruling letting insurers and employers refuse to provide birth control if doing so went against their "religious beliefs" or "moral convictions".[283][284]
  • Sweden: Maria Teresa Rivera became the first woman in the world granted asylum because of being wrongly jailed for disregarding a ban on abortion.[285] She disregarded the ban in El Salvador and was given asylum in Sweden.[285]
  • Israel: The Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled that employees of airlines could not request female passengers change their seats just because men wish them to.[286]
  • Europe: The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Maria Ivone Carvalho Pinto de Sousa Morais, who had had an operation that was mishandled and rendered her unable to have sex. Portuguese judges had previously reduced damages to her in 2014, ruling then that the operation, which occurred when she was 50, had happened at "an age when sex is not as important as in younger years". The European Court of Human Rights rejected that decision, with the majority's ruling stating in part, "The question at issue here is not considerations of age or sex as such, but rather the assumption that sexuality is not as important for a 50-year-old woman and mother of two children as for someone of a younger age. That assumption reflects a traditional idea of female sexuality as being essentially linked to childbearing purposes and thus ignores its physical and psychological relevance for the self-fulfillment of women as people."[287]
  • Tunisia: A law was passed that, among other things, declared that men who had sex with underage girls would not be able to avoid being prosecuted by marrying those girls, changed the age of consent from 13 to 16, criminalized marital rape and sexual harassment, and made wage and work discrimination against women punishable by a fine of 2,000 Tunisian dinars ($817).[288]
  • Tunisia: Tunisia removed a law (in place since 1973) which forbade Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims.[289]
  • Nepal: Nepal passed a law punishing people who force women into exile during menstruating with up to three months in jail or a fine of 3,000 Nepalese rupees.[290]
  • India: On 22 August 2017, the Indian Supreme Court deemed instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) unconstitutional.[291][292]
  • Saudi Arabia: On 26 September 2017, King Salman issued an order to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, with new guidelines to be created and implemented by the following June.[293]
  • The Philippines: The Philippines forbid companies from mandating that female employees have to wear high heels at work.[294]
  • Canada: The Canadian province of British Columbia amended workplace legislation to prevent employers from requiring women to wear high heels at work. British Columbia premier Christy Clark stated that the government was "changing this regulation to stop this unsafe and discriminatory practice."[295]
  • El Salvador: A law made in 1994 known as Article 14, stated that as a general rule, persons under eighteen years of age can not marry, but established in the second paragraph, that exceptionally they can contract marriage if they are pubescent, they already have a child in common, or if the woman is pregnant.[296] This law was abolished in 2017.[297]
  • Lebanon: Article 522 of the Lebanon Penal Code became a part of the law in the 1940s and stated that rape was a punishable offense, where the attacker could receive up to seven years in prison.[298] However, no criminal prosecution would take place if the perpetrator and their victim got married, and stayed married for a minimum of three years.[298] In 2017, Article 522 of the Lebanon Penal Code, which had been labelled a "rape law"[299] was repealed.[300] But after Article 522 was repealed, it was argued by many that the law still lived on through Articles 505 and 518.[298] Article 505 involves the act of sex with a minor, while Article 518 deals with the seduction of a minor accompanied by the promise of marriage.[300]
  • Jordan: Article 308 in the Jordanian Penal Code was abolished in 2017. The article originally allowed for an aggressor of sexual assault to avoid persecution and punishment if he married the victim.[242] Only if the marriage lasted under three years did he need to serve his time. The article was amended in 2016, barring full pardon in cases of rape but keeping a loophole clause that pardoned perpetrators if they married the victim if she was aged between 15 and 18 and if the assault was regarded as “consensual.”
  • Puntland: The self-declared autonomous region of Puntland adopted a Sexual Offences Act in 2017, that criminalized all forms of sexual violence against women.[301]
  • Austria: A legal ban on face-covering Islamic clothing was adopted by the Austrian parliament.[302][303]
  • Germany: A ban on face-covering clothing for soldiers and state workers during work was approved by German parliament.[304]
  • Morocco: Morocco banned the manufacturing, marketing and sale of the burqa.[305]
  • Tajikistan: Tajikstan passed a law requiring people to "stick to traditional national clothes and culture", which has been widely seen as an attempt to prevent women from wearing Islamic clothing, in particular the style of headscarf wrapped under the chin, in contrast to the traditional Tajik headscarf tied behind the head.[306]
  • China: China banned the burqa in the Islamic area of Xinjiang.[307][308]
  • Quebec: The Quebec ban on face covering (known officially as “An act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies”)[309] made world headlines in October 2017.[310] The ban was instituted on October 18, 2017.[309] The ban prevents anyone whose face is covered from delivering or receiving a public service.[309] According to an article in The Economist by a left leaning journalist, the law's "real purpose is to ban Muslim women from wearing niqabs, or face veils, when they provide or receive public services". Others feel that the aim of the law is to counter growing use of religious symbolism by Muslim women in Quebec.
  • United States: In January 2017, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division in Camden County dismissed two suits filed by Linda Tisby in summer 2015 against her former employer, the county's Department of Corrections. The court decided that a New Jersey Superior Court was right to rule that it would have been an "undue hardship" for the agency to accommodate her religious beliefs concerning wearing a headscarf "because of overriding safety concerns, the potential for concealment of contraband, and the importance of uniform neutrality".[311]
  • India: The Maternity (Amendment) Bill 2017, an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, was passed; it protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her to a ‘maternity benefit’ – i.e. full paid absence from work – to take care for her child. The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons. As per the Act, to be eligible for maternity benefit, a woman must have been working as an employee in an establishment for a period of at least 80 days in the past 12 months. Payment during the leave period is based on the average daily wage for the period of actual absence.[312]
  • Russia: Vladimir Putin signed a law which decriminalizes a first offense of domestic violence which does not seriously injure the person, making that offense a less serious administrative offense in Russia.[313]
  • Iceland: Legislation came into effect requiring government agencies and companies with more than 25 employees to get government certification for their equal-pay policies regarding gender, with fines for those that do not show pay equality.[314]
  • United States: The Trump administration repealed guidance issued in 2016 by the Obama administration, which had informed states that ending Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood or other health-care providers that performed abortions might be against federal law. The Obama administration had contended that Medicaid law permitted states to ban providers from the program only if the providers could not perform covered services or bill for those services.[256]
  • Sweden: Sweden passed a law defining sex without consent in clear body language or words as rape, even if no force or threats are used; previously a rape conviction had required proof that the offender used force or that the victim was in a vulnerable state.[315]
  • Iran: On February 23, 2018, Iranian Police released an official statement saying that any women found protesting Iran’s compulsory veiling code would be charged with “inciting corruption and prostitution,” which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.[316] Before this change, according to article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “Anyone in public places and roads who openly commits a harām (sinful) act, in addition to the punishment provided for the act, shall be sentenced to two months imprisonment or up to 74 lashes; and if they commit an act that is not punishable but violates public prudency, they shall only be sentenced to ten days to two months’ imprisonment or up to 74 lashes. Note- Women who appear in public places and roads without wearing an Islamic hijab, shall be sentenced to ten days to two months’ imprisonment or a fine of fifty thousand to five hundred Rials.”[317] After this change, any woman found without an islamic veil in a public space is charged according to article 639 of the Islamic Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which states: “The following individuals shall be sentenced to one year to ten years imprisonment and in respect to paragraph (A), in addition to the punishment provided, the relevant place shall be closed temporarily at the discretion of the court. A – Anyone who establishes or directs a place of immorality or prostitution. B – Anyone facilitates or encourages people to immorality or prostitution.”[317]
  • Denmark: Denmark's parliament voted 75–30 to ban garments that cover the face, which includes Islamic veils such as the niqāb and burqa. Those violating the law risk a fine of 1,000 kroner.[318]
  • Ireland: The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, which recognized "the unborn" as having a right to life equal to that of "the mother",[319] was repealed by referendum.[320]
  • United States: National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra was a case before the Supreme Court of the United States addressing the constitutionality of California's FACT Act, which mandated that crisis pregnancy centers provide certain disclosures about state services. The law required that licensed centers post visible notices that other options for pregnancy, including abortion, are available from state-sponsored clinics. It also mandated that unlicensed centers post notice of their unlicensed status. The centers, typically run by Christian non-profit groups, challenged the act on the basis that it violated their free speech. After prior reviews in lower courts, the case was brought to the Supreme Court, asking "Whether the disclosures required by the California Reproductive FACT Act violate the protections set forth in the free speech clause of the First Amendment, applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment."[321] The Court ruled on June 26, 2018 in a 5–4 decision that the notices required by the FACT Act violate the First Amendment by targeting speakers rather than speech.[322]
  • Israel: The Knesset passed a law, slated to remain in effect for three years, allowing Israel’s rabbinical courts to handle certain cases of Jewish women wishing to divorce their Jewish husbands, even if neither the wife nor the husband is an Israeli citizen.[323]
  • Morocco: A law went into effect known as the Hakkaoui law because Bassima Hakkaoui drafted it; it includes a ban on forced marriage and sexual harassment in public places, and harsher penalties for certain forms of violence. But it was criticized for requiring victims to file for criminal prosecution to get protection.[324]
  • France: France outlawed street sexual harassment, passing a law declaring catcalling on streets and public transportation is subject to fines of up to €750, with more for more aggressive and physical behavior. The law also declared that sex between an adult and a person of 15 or under can be considered rape if the younger person is judged incompetent to give consent.[325][326] It also gives underage victims of rape an extra decade to file complaints, extending the deadline to 30 years from their turning 18.[297]
  • India: The Supreme Court of India struck down a law making it a crime for a man to have sex with a married woman without the permission of her husband.[327]
  • India: In 1991, the Kerala High Court restricted entry of women above the age of 10 and below the age of 50 from Sabarimala Shrine as they were of the menstruating age. However, on 28th September 2018, the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on the entry of women. It said that discrimination against women on any grounds, even religious, is unconstitutional.[328][329]
  • India: India eliminated a controversial 12% tax on feminine hygiene products in 2018.[330]
  • United States: A law was signed making California the first state in America to require women to be included on companies’ boards of directors. The law requires all publicly traded California companies to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of 2019, and in 2021 requires five-member boards to have two female members, and boards with six or more members to have three.[331]
  • United States: The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) are the U.S. Senate and House bills that as the FOSTA-SESTA package became law on April 11, 2018. They clarify the country's sex trafficking law to make it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking, and amend the Section 230 safe harbors of the Communications Decency Act (which make online services immune from civil liability for the actions of their users) to exclude enforcement of federal or state sex trafficking laws from its immunity.
  • United States: On November 20, 2018, U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman ruled that the federal Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996 was unconstitutional. The defendants in this case which led to this ruling had argued successfully that the practice does not pertain to the Commerce Clause under which the federal law was passed.[332]

See also


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  328. ^ Desk, The Hindu Net (2018-09-28). "Supreme Court upholds the right of women of all ages to worship at Sabarimala | Live updates". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  329. ^ "Women Of All Ages Can Enter Sabarimala Temple, Says Top Court, Ending Ban". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  330. ^ Iyengar, Rishi (2018-07-22). "India scraps controversial tax on sanitary pads - CNN". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  331. ^ https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-will-require-women-on-corporate-boards-13270213.php
  332. ^ Baldas, Tresa (November 20, 2018). "Judge Dismisses Female Genital Mutilation Charges in Historic Case". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 21, 2018.

External links

  • Some of the information in this article is based on its equivalents on Portuguese, Brazilian and Japanese Wikipedia
  • To stand for election
  • Timeline
  • Ibiblio.org
  • Herman Lindqvist : Revolution (Revolution!) (in Swedish)
  • Lilla Focus Uppslagsbok (Little Focus Encyclopedia) Focus Uppslagsböcker AB (1979) (in Swedish)
  • (in Swedish)
  • (in Swedish)
  • (in Swedish)
  • (in Swedish)
  • (in Swedish)
  • (in Swedish)
  • Famouscanadianwomen.com
  • Hist.uu.se
  • Åsa Karlsson-Sjögren : Männen, kvinnorna och rösträtten: medborgarskap och representation 1723–1866 (Men, women and the vote: citizenship and representation 1723–1866)(in Swedish)
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