8 Major Issues Facing Women Today

Women are involved in all parts of society, but some matters affect and touch women more than others. From the power of the women's vote to reproductive rights and the pay gap, let's take a look at a few of the major issues that modern women face. 

Sexism and Gender Bias

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The "glass ceiling" is a popular phrase that women have been striving to break through for decades. It refers to gender equality, primarily in the workforce, and great progress has been made over the years.

It is no longer uncommon for women to run businesses, even the biggest corporations, or hold job titles in the upper ranks of management. Many women also do jobs that are traditionally male-dominated. 

For all the progress that has been made, sexism can still be found. It may be more subtle than it once was, but it makes an appearance in all parts of society, from education and the workforce to the media and politics.

The Power of the Women's Vote

Women do not take the right to vote lightly. It can be surprising to learn that in recent elections, more American women have voted than men.

Voter turnout is a big deal during elections and women do tend to have a better turnout than men. This is true of all ethnicities and all age groups in both presidential election years and midterm elections. The tide turned in the 1980s and it has not shown signs of slowing down.

Women in Powerful Positions

The U.S. has not elected a woman to the presidency yet, but the government is filled with women who hold high positions of power. 

For example, as of 2017, 39 women have held the office of governor in 27 states. It may even surprise you that two of those happened in the 1920s and it began with Nellie Tayloe Ross winning a special election in Wyoming after her husband's death.

On the federal level, the Supreme Court is where women have shattered the glass ceiling. Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor are the three women who have had the honor of holding the title as Associate Justice in the nation's highest court.

The Debate Over Reproductive Rights

There is one fundamental difference between men and women: women can give birth. This leads to one of the biggest women's issues of them all.

The debate over reproductive rights circles around birth control and abortion. Since "The Pill" was approved for contraceptive use in 1960 and the Supreme Court took on Roe v. Wade in 1973, reproduction rights have been a very big issue.

Today, the abortion issue is the hotter topic of the two with pro-life supporters vying against those who are pro-choice. With each new president and Supreme Court nominee or case, the headlines get moving again.

It is, indeed, one of the most controversial topics in America. It's also important to remember that this is also one of the hardest decisions any woman may face.

Life Changing Realities of Teen Pregnancy

A related issue for women is the reality of teen pregnancy. It has always been a concern and, historically, young women would often be shunned or placed in hiding and forced to give up their babies.

We tend to not be as harsh today, but it does pose its challenges. The good news is that teen pregnancy rates have been in steady decline since the early 90s. In 1991, 61.8 in every 1000 teen girls became pregnant and by 2014, that number dropped to just 24.2.

Abstinence education and access to birth control are two of the factors that have led to this drop. Yet, as many teen mothers know, an unexpected pregnancy can change your life, so it remains an important topic for the future.

The Cycle of Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is another top concern for women, though this issue affects men as well. It's estimated that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by their partners each year. Even teen dating violence is more prevalent than many would hope to admit.

Abuse and violence do not come in a single form, either. From emotional and psychological abuse to sexual and physical abuse, this continues to be a growing problem. 

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, yet the most important thing is to ask for help. There are many myths surrounding this issue and one incident can lead to a cycle of abuse.

The Betrayal of Cheating Partners

On the personal relationship front, cheating is an issue. While it's often not discussed outside of the home or a group of close friends, it is a concern for many women. Though we often associate this with men behaving badly, it is not exclusive to them and a number of women cheat as well.

A partner who has sex with someone else damages the foundation of trust that intimate relationships are built on. Surprisingly, it's not often just about sex. Many men and women point to an emotional disconnect between them and their partners as the root cause

Whatever the underlying reason, it is no less devastating to find out that your husband, wife, or partner is having an affair. 

Female Genital Mutilation

On a global scale, female genital mutilation has become an issue of concern for many people. The United Nations sees the practice of cutting a woman's genital organs as a violation of human rights and it is becoming a common topic of dialogue.

The practice is embedded in a number of cultures throughout the world. It is a tradition, often with religious ties, that is intended to prepare a young woman (often younger than 15) for marriage. Yet, the emotional and physical toll it can take is great.


  • Center for American Women and Politics. History of Women Governors. 2017.
  • Nikolchev A. A Brief History of the Birth Control Pill. Need to Know on PBS. 2010.
  • Office of Adolescent Health. Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2016.
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Morris, Susana. "8 Major Issues Facing Women Today." ThoughtCo, Aug. 3, 2021, thoughtco.com/womens-issues-4140420. Morris, Susana. (2021, August 3). 8 Major Issues Facing Women Today. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/womens-issues-4140420 Morris, Susana. "8 Major Issues Facing Women Today." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/womens-issues-4140420 (accessed March 27, 2023).