American women are more likely to be in work than the country's men. They also have a higher probability of finishing high school, but they may still make only 80 per cent of what a man would earn in the same circumstances.
Barack Obama, the US president, has been looking to redress the balance. He has done more for women than any other US president.
In the past year he has legislated a fair pay act, giving basic protection against pay discrimination, and his recovery act covers childcare, tax credits and incentives to help part-time workers and people re-entering the workforce.
Additionally, one third of Obama's cabinet posts have been filled by women including such key positions as secretary of state and of homeland security.
He has also established the White House Council on Women and Girls, meant to ensure all cabinet-level agencies think about how their work will impact on women and families.
One year after taking office, has Barack Obama given American women the long-awaited opportunity to reach higher levels of political participation? Has he done enough?
Inside Story presenter Sohail Rahman is joined by Nadia Hijab, the author of Women in Power and an independent consultant on human development and gender, Maya Rockeymoore, a policy analyst and founder of Global Policy Solutions, and Arnie Arnesen, a political commentator in Iowa and New Hampshire.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, January 20, 2010.