We argue for strong compatibility between classical liberal and libertarian ideas and issues of sex and gender. We stress that libertarian beliefs in moral equality and universal rights, equality before the law, and the rule of law provide important foundations for taking gender issues seriously and provide a unique lens with which to view them. We argue that the history of women’s empowerment has been a product of important classical liberal ideas and institutions, especially markets and economic growth, respect for moral equality and equality before the law, and the broad movement from a culture of status and hierarchy to one of consent and contract. These forces have been especially important for creating equality in institutions such as marriage and the family unit, and for women’s economic enfranchisement. We also document how the state has often served as a tool of coercive social control and patriarchal dominance in ways that economics and libertarian thought are especially well-equipped to illuminate. Finally, we claim that many contemporary issues of gender inequality are not the fault of markets but reflect the need for further evolutionary social and cultural change in how gender is conceived of and understood. Overall, we emphasize that libertarian and classical liberal thought should not only be seen as compatible with gender equality but offers a valuable framework and set of tools with which to understand and address the topic.