CNN —  

If you imagine countries where women and girls have it worst, the United States probably doesn’t come to mind.

Is now the time?

  • When CNN's Jessica Ravitz last thought about the Equal Rights Amendment, she was a kid tagging along with her mom to marches some 35 years ago. What happened to the crusade to enshrine women's rights in the Constitution? Join Ravitz as she meets the women and men behind a renewed push to pass the ERA.
  • Female, 30 and on a mission: The ERA's new warriors
  • The politics of feminism: An unlikely partnership
  • Women in the world: Where the U.S. falters

  • Here, women can drive; they don’t need male guardians to travel, work or receive health care. Girls can pursue an education without fear of being attacked or abducted for wanting to learn. They are rarely forced into marriages at young ages, kidnapped by would-be husbands or killed if they choose whom to love.

    Stories like these may happen elsewhere, but they shock American sensibilities. We prefer to think of our country as an example of what is possible.

    But there are ways in which the United States lags behind other nations – sometimes in principle; other times in practice.

    And some of those ways may surprise you.

    Hand-in-hand with Iran and Sudan

    It’s considered an “international bill of rights for women.” It promises to end discrimination, establish equality and fight against violence. Nearly all the 193 member states of the United Nations have ratified it.

    Only seven haven’t: Iran, Palau, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tonga. And the United States