Amongst all developed countries, the US firmly occupies the very last place in terms of women's rights. Even Spain, which until 1975 lived under a fascist dictatorship that was extremely repressive towards women, has made such impressive strides in terms of women's rights that it's hard to imagine the US ever catching up. (You can read about some of Spain's feminist advances here and here.) Whenever I meet a student from Spain, I know that the perennial whispered question is forthcoming: "I don't want to offend but where are the feminists and why are they allowing for this to happen?" Try watching American television with a group of Europeans and you'll know what I mean. You will soon get tired of explaining how it is possible for a civilized society to demean women in such an egregious manner. Even Canada, which is so close geographically, is light years ahead. To give just one example, women have a guaranteed one year long maternity leave, and many men get paternity leave, as well.
There are several factors that prevent American feminism from living up to the standards set by other developed nations. One of them is, of course, the strength of religion in this country. Fundamentalist Christians destroy sexual education programs and replace them with anti-women abstinence propaganda. (If you are not sure why abstinence programs are anti-women, read Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women.) Weekly Church services reinforce the idea of female inferiority on a regular basis. Organized religion is the enemy of female liberation. Remember that it was not until Spain managed to shake off the cloying religious propaganda of Franco's dictatorship that it started to make its impressive feminist advances. Any religion whose hierarchy is predominantly male is obviously going to be aimed at oppressing women.
Another factor that hinders American feminism is this country's traditionally poor record on social services. Societies that have no parental leave and where the access to day care is severely limited always end up turning women into domestic slaves who sacrifice their professional realization to child rearing. Workplace discrimination against women is still rampant, and nothing is being done to reduce it. This sad state of affairs, in turn, requires that a complex discourse justifying female underachievement in professional realms be created. As a result, we end up with anti-women propaganda pieces that present an expensive wedding and a bunch of babies as the greatest achievements women can hope for.
There are several other factors that prevent American feminism from flourishing, of course. Still, the two I mentioned here are key, in my opinion, for the understanding of this country's poor record on women's rights.