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Because human rights are experienced close to home, local governments have jurisdiction over a range of human rights issues, including those related to employment, education, housing, and public safety. Indeed, local agencies and officials are essential to the promotion and protection of human rights in the United States. They work every day to create conditions under which individuals and communities can flourish, and they are well-situated to build and advance a culture of human rights, based on dignity, freedom from discrimination, and opportunity.

With a focus on women’s rights, this resource provides an overview of core human rights principles and how they can strengthen local policy-making in the United States. It describes ways in which local governments around the country are incorporating human rights into efforts to advance gender equity. This resource is also forward-looking. It offers concrete suggestions for ways that state and local agencies and officials throughout the United States can use human rights standards and strategies to improve outcomes and opportunities for women, building upon established and emerging human rights initiatives.