No country in the world has yet achieved complete gender equality. The spectrum of inequality faced by women goes from earning less than their male counterparts to exploitation and open discrimination.
Much has changed for the better in recent years. Today far more girls go to school and fewer women work in precarious jobs. But on some issues, things are stagnating. Even today many girls around the world look after the house and home, while their brothers go to school. In only half of all countries do as many women study as men, and even there they earn less on average. They own only a fraction of global assets and are still not sufficiently well represented in politics. These inequalities not only harm women – they squander an enormous potential that could be generating progress and development.
What must be done?
The goal is that women have the same opportunities as men and that they can take charge of their own lives. If this is to happen, women and men must have the same rights, obligations and opportunities in politics, industry and society. And that will only happen if both women and men work to achieve it and if politicians pave the way. But parallel to this, women’s everyday life must improve. By 2030 all forms of discrimination, violence and sexual exploitation as well as child marriage and genital mutilation are to be eradicated. Better internet access and more support in the field of family planning are also needed.
Facts and figures
- On average, women earn 23 per cent less than men.
- If women farmers had the same inputs and the same opportunities as male farmers, about 150 million fewer people would go hungry according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
- Around the world, on average, 8 per cent of the work men perform in a day is unpaid whereas the figure for women is 19 per cent.
- Women hold only 23 per cent of seats in the world’s parliaments.