Some 40 women's groups in the United States have teamed up for the 2012 presidential election to defend gains made on women's issues in recent decades and ensure they vote.

Known as HERvotes, the non-partisan outfit includes the National Organization of Women as well as groups representing jurists, African-Americans, Latinas, and labor activists.

"The goal is to mobilize women voters in 2012 around preserving women’s health and economic rights," the groups said at the launch of the forum in Washington on Friday.

Retirement and unemployment benefits, health care, violence against women, civic rights and abortion rights are among the forum's central concerns.

"You look at each one of those issues and each one of them is under attack today," said Linda Hallman of the American Association of University Women. "We are saying ... we have gained these things and we are not going back."

With the US economy in the doldrums, Nancy Duff of the National Women's Law Center said female joblessness remains high at 7.8 percent, with a majority of the 568,000 jobs lost in the public sector having been held by women.