Finally, some positive news on the issue of women’s rights: according to the World’s Women 2015 report by the United Nations, over the last 20 years things have improved in various ways for women across the world: they’re marrying later, are living longer and healthier lives and are better educated. Nevertheless, they continue to be victims of gender based discrimination and violence, and millions remain illiterate. Some of the encouraging statistics: life expectancy has continued to rise globally (72 years for women, 68 for men), between 1990 and 2013 the number of maternal deaths declined by 45 percent, and the percentage of girls getting married before the age of 18 has dropped from 31 percent to 26 percent worldwide.
Nevertheless, gender inequality and discrimination remains rampant, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasised: “Far too many women and girls continue to be discriminated against, subjected to violence, denied equal opportunities in education and employment, and excluded from positions of leadership and decision-making,” he said. The report also reveals that one third of women worldwide have fallen victim to physical and/or sexual violence, that only 50 percent of working age women are in the labor force (compared to 77 percent of men) — and those who do work are concentrated in lower-wage jobs and earn less than men — and that women remain largely underrepresented in leadership positions in both public and private positions. Ban Ki-moon further stressed the need for full gender equality “in law and in practice”, in order for the United Nations to achieve its recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Read the full story at the UN News Center.