Millions gathered around the globe a year ago on Jan. 21 for the historic Women's March to show support for women's rights. The harsh truth is that it would take at least 100 years to close the equality gap between men and women, according to the World ...and more »
Editors, USA TODAY Published 4:03 p.m. ET Jan. 17, 2018 | Updated 5:09 a.m. ET Jan. 18, 2018
Equal pay became mandatory on Jan. 1, 2018, in Iceland. Time
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Millions gathered around the globe a year ago on Jan. 21 for the historic Women's March to show support for women's rights.
The harsh truth is that it would take at least 100 years to close the equality gap between men and women, according to the World Economic Forum. Gender parity is closest in areas of health and education, but major disparities exist in economics and politics.
Nevertheless, women persisted. Here are five recent wins for women's rights:
Iceland becomes first country to make it illegal to pay men more than women
Iceland started 2018 with a new law that requires equal pay for equal work — irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality.
The law covers about 150,000 workers in the country. The measure applies to 1,200 companies in Iceland that have at least 25 workers, and the firms will have to publish their wage scales.
More: Power to the Polls: When and where is the women's march in 2018?
The measure intends to close the gender pay gap by 2022. Although other countries have made similar moves, for now Iceland is the global pioneer.
Saudi Arabia allows women to drive for first time
Starting next year, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive. But there's still a lot to be done in the fight for equality. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Saudi Arabia announced in September that it will allow women to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom, ending a policy criticized worldwide as a human rights violation. The change will begin in June.
Saudi Arabia, the only country to bar women from driving, has received negative attention for years for detaining women who defied its ban.
More: The Women's March is back. Here's what co-president Tamika Mallory says is different.
More: Youthquake, feminism, complicit: These words defined 2017
The progressive development follows a decade of incremental change in Saudi Arabia, with more women working in retail and being appointed top executive roles at the Saudi stock exchange and the airport in Dammam. Women can now also be appointed to the Shoura Council and run in municipal elections.
'Weinstein Effect’ goes global with #metoo
The sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein that sparked a flurry of allegations in other American industries, reached far beyond U.S. borders.
Nearly half of the “#metoo” mentions on Twitter since the movement launched came from outside the United States, and decades-old accusations have led to the downfall of some powerful men in other countries. (Look at the fallout in the United Kingdom, Israel, India and Peru.)
Women in France increased their complaints about sexual abuse to police, on social media, in street protests and through petitions. The French Interior Ministry said it saw a spike in women reporting rape, sexual assault and harassment by almost a third in October, compared to October 2016.
Since news about Weinstein first surfaced, Paris has seen multiple protests with women carrying signs saying, "My body belongs to me" and "no means no."
The hashtag #BalanceTonPorc (out your pig) has garnered thousands of Twitter comments in France.
Child brides in India: Sex with minors now considered rape
Overturning an outdated law, India's Supreme Court ruled in October that sex by a man with his minor wife, younger than 18, with or without her consent, is rape. Any husband convicted of committing such an act can face up to 10 years in prison or even a life term.
An Indian bride sits with her groom during a mass marriage ceremony for some 125 poverty-stricken couples from the India-Pakistan border areas, at Gurdwara Baba Jallan Dass in the village of Naushehra Dhala.
(Photo: Narinder Nanu, AFP/Getty Images)
The landmark ruling drew applause from human rights activists against child abuse and for gender rights. They said the legal loophole had been routinely exploited to traffic minor girls into sexual slavery both in and outside India.
U.S. sees surge in women interested in running for office
The number of women in political office has held steady in recent years, but experts say a record number of women appear to be answering that call for 2018. More women are saying they are running at this point than ever before.
The increase in female candidates is largely being seen in U.S. House and governor’s races and driven primarily by Democrats, said Debbie Walsh, who leads the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. In addition to the 50 Democratic and 10 Republican congresswomen expected to run for re-election, there are 183 Democratic women and 14 Republican women running in primaries to challenge their current U.S. representative.
On the state level, 36 governor’s races will be contested in 2018. The Center for American Women and Politics said 49 Democratic women, including two incumbents, and 28 Republican women have indicated they will run for those seats. There has never been more than nine women serving as governor at the same time.
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