The Global issue
Why is gender equality a major issue in developing countries? Because many of the factors that make life difficult for people living in these countries are even more acute for women than for men.
- The majority of the world’s poor are female: about 70 per cent of the 1.3 billion people who live in extreme poverty are women and girls.
- More than half a million women in developing countries die in pregnancy and childbirth every year
- Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours
- Women produce half of the world’s food
- Women earn only ten per cent of the world’s income
- Women own less than one per cent of the world’s property
- Two-thirds of children denied primary education are girls
- Seventy five per cent of the world’s 876 million illiterate adults are women
- Women hold only 14 per cent of parliamentary seats worldwide
- Only eight per cent of the world’s cabinet ministers are women
Are there solutions? What are the priorities? How can we help the future get better for everyone? Why should it matter to you? This is what the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on 10 November 2006:
“The world is beginning to recognize that empowering women and girls is key to development. The world is also starting to grasp that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women and girls. Study after study has taught us that no other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality.”
What suggestions would you add?