Women Are Safer Now in America Than Ever Before

It’s a complicated time to be a woman in America, that’s for sure. But when it comes to overall safety, women in America are safer than they’ve ever been.

According to the Pew Research Center, in the 1990s, crime had risen in America with about 80 victimizations per 1,000 people over age 12. Now, crime in America is lower than it’s ever been, a spike during COVID notwithstanding, at about 16.6 victimizations per 1,000 people in 2021. Generally, lower crime translates to women. Though statistics vary, data shows that more men are the victims of crime than women. Men also commit more crime than women.

Crucially, there is less violence against women in America than in many other countries around the world. Two-thirds of the countries in the world boast weaker attitudes and laws against violence against women than the United States, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Meanwhile, countries like Afghanistan, Venezuela, South Africa, and Honduras, have incredibly high crime rates and violence against women. The Taliban specifically escalated its violence against women when it took over again in 2022. Physical violence is a given, but repression tactics also increased. Armed men invaded classrooms and forced staff to inspect girls to see if they had reached puberty and were thus disqualified from additional schooling. Afghan women are beaten if they wear Western clothing. Women must cover their faces in public, cannot receive driver’s licenses, or travel a distance without a male chaperone. Life for women in Afghanistan makes America look like a child’s playground.

While the U.S. has been given a ranking of #129 on the Global Peace Index, that’s somewhat of a misnomer. For comparison, the same index ranked Iceland the safest country in the world, no doubt due to the fact that its population rivals that of Montgomery, Alabama. That particular index is also a composite that measures not just “societal safety and security” but domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarisation a country enjoys. The United States boasts a strong military and presence in international relations, including conflict. The Nordic countries might be ranked as safer countries, but they also lack the presence of America’s mighty military.

Demonstrators march during the annual Women’s March to support Women’s Rights in Washington, DC, October 8, 2022. – Thousands of people gathered in Washington and in cities across the country to rally for reproductive rights, one month before the midterm elections.

There are still some areas of concern for women in America: While domestic violence in general has decreased along with violent crime, women are still the main targets of intimate partner violence. In 2019, nine out of 10 murdered women were killed by men they knew, according to the Violence Policy Center.

Still, even when it comes to domestic violence, women are subject to far more domestic violence in many other areas of the world than they are in the United States, including Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia.

Freedom is an important aspect of safety, too. According to the Cato Institute, America is ranked the 20th freest country in the world by multiple metrics, including many that keep women safe. Their data shows an unfortunate “unequal distribution of freedom in the world:” more than 75 percent of the world’s population lives in the bottom half of the index, including, of course, women.

America’s Second Amendment also allows women in America who feel vulnerable the right to defend themselves, a right women in many other countries lack. In fact, the fastest growing group of gun owners in America are women. According to Gallup, in 2016, just 15 percent of women owned a firearm. In 2022, that number rose to 22 percent.

Women also experience more gender parity in America than in most other countries, another metric that contributes to women’s safety. According to the Biden Administration’s “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality,” “Nearly 100 nations have laws that inhibit women’s economic participation—from limitations on the types of jobs they can hold to inequalities in property ownership.” Women are also earning more college degrees than men in America and the number of women in the workforce is at an historic high.

America isn’t a perfect country when it comes to women’s safety, law enforcement, and policies protecting women. But it’s improved drastically in the last two decades, and women in America enjoy many freedoms and protections women in most of the rest of the world do not.

Nicole Russell is a mother of four who has worked in Republican politics. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and the Washington Examiner. She is an opinion columnist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.