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#MeToo and the Global Fight for Women's Rights

Public Affairs,

15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

#MeToo fueled the fortitude of many unknown women around the world. Here are their stories.

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  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


Starting in 2017, activist Tarana Burke’s #MeToo hashtag provided an online forum for women speaking up about sexual abuse, rape and harassment. Rachel Vogelstein and Meighan Stone, who work on women’s issues at the Council on Foreign Relations, provide insight into how technology and #MeToo supported women activists in Brazil, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Sweden. Their stories paint an engaging, complex and historical picture of women’s rights worldwide. 


The #MeToo movement started in 2006 and exploded in  2017, following allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

Ten years after activist Tarana Burke began the #MeToo movement, the hashtag exploded on social media following allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Within two days of an initial article, almost half of US Facebook users knew someone who had posted “MeToo” on their timeline.

As accusers assailed powerful American men, the movement sparked a global reaction. In 2021, the hashtag exists in translation in 193 countries.

Traditionally, revolts occur when people realize injustice is widespread and not only individual. Today, the internet enables women in repressive countries to voice their grievances.Similar stories connect women globally. In the early 1900s, coordinating suffragist marches took many months. Now, organizing takes only days.

#MeToo challenges systemic inequality. Even the backlash against women who put their lives at risk and the rise of oppositional, antifeminist leaders are signs of progress.

In 2013, Brazil’s women’s rights movement went ...

About the Authors

Rachel Vogelstein is the director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, where Meighan Stone is a senior fellow.

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