Globally, 137 women are killed by their intimate partner or a family member every day: UN Report
“Twenty-five years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, progress towards equal power and equal rights for women remains elusive. No country has achieved gender equality, and the COVID-19 crisis threatens to erode the limited gains that have been made. The Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and efforts to recover better from the pandemic offer a chance to transform the lives of women and girls, today and tomorrow” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The World’s Women 2020, a UN Report, is a collection of 100 stories providing assessments of progress towards gender equality in the following six critical areas: (a) population and families; (b) health; (c) education; (d) economic empowerment and asset ownership; (e) power and decision-making; and (f) violence against women and the girl child.
The report shows less than 50% of working-age women are in the labour market, unpaid domestic work falls disproportionately on women, and the decision-makers largely remain men. It indicates that COVID-19 has restrained the economic potential of women affecting their jobs and livelihoods. They are also at a heightened risk of experiencing intimate partner violence.
Unpaid domestic and care work holding women back
On an average day, women globally spend about three times as many hours on unpaid domestic and care work as men (4.2 hours compared to 1.7). In Northern Africa and Western Asia that gender gap is even higher, with women spending more than seven times as much as men on these activities.
women globally spend about three times as many hours on unpaid domestic and care work as men.
This lopsided distribution of unpaid domestic and care work prevents women from participating in the labour market. In 2020, only 47% of women of working age participated in the labour market, compared to 74% of men – a gender gap that has remained relatively constant since 1995. In Southern Asia, Northern Africa and Western Asia, the number is even lower, with less than 30% of women participating in the labour market. It is expected that the pandemic will exacerbate these gender disparities. Not to forget, the monumental contribution of women in health-sector is putting them at a higher risk of infection. Over 70% of workers in the health sector are women.
No cracks in the glass ceiling
In terms of power and decision-making, women held only 28% of managerial positions globally in 2019 – almost the same proportion as in 1995. And only 18% of enterprises surveyed had a female Chief Executive Officer in 2020. Among Fortune 500 corporations only 7.4%, or 37 Chief Executive Officers, were women. In political life, while women’s representation in parliament has more than doubled globally, it has still not crossed the barrier of 25% of parliamentary seats in 2020. Women’s representation among cabinet ministers has quadrupled over the last 25 years, yet remains well below parity at 22%.
Among Fortune 500 corporations only 7.4%, or 37 Chief Executive Officers, were women.
Women’s participation in education on the rise worldwide
There is ample evidence showing that girls, once they have access to schooling, tend to do better than boys in terms of academic achievement. According to the report, in tertiary education, women outnumber men, and enrolment is increasing faster for women than for men.
women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
However, women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, representing only slightly more than 35% of the world’s STEM graduates. Women are also a minority in scientific research and development, making up less than a third of the world’s researchers.
Violence against women and girls remains a global issue
During COVID-19 lockdowns, many women and girls have been isolated in unsafe environments where they are at heightened risk of experiencing intimate partner violence. Around one-third of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner, and 18% have experienced such violence in the past 12 months. In the most extreme cases, violence against women is lethal: globally, an estimated 137 women are killed by their intimate partner or a family member every day.
Around one-third of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner
While female genital mutilation is becoming less common in some countries, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to this specific form of violence across Africa and the Middle East where the practice is most prevalent.
Globally, an estimated 137 women are killed by their intimate partner or a family member every day.
As a sign that attitudes are changing, women’s acceptance of being beaten by their partners decreased in almost 75% of countries with data over the past seven years. But laws to address domestic violence are not yet universally available, with only 153 countries having such laws. Gaps are largest in Northern Africa, Western Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, where 43% and 35% of countries respectively have not passed such laws.
This World’s Women report is produced by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. It has been produced every five years since 1990 and provides the latest data on the state of gender equality worldwide.
About the Author:
Prithiva Gupta is an avid reader and a women’s rights activist. A software engineer by profession and a writer by passion. Prithiva is a supremely proud feminist who loves to binge on Netflix in her free time.