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UN says 140 years before women equality in workplace leadership

At the current rate of gender equality development  it will take 300 years to end child marriage, 286 years to close gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws, 140 years for women to be represented equally in positions of power and leadership in the workplace, and 47 years to achieve equal representation in national parliaments. The numbers are from a report on sustainable development published by the United Nations in the new year.

The report notes that there has been gender equality progress over the last decades, but the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030. With only seven years remaining, a mere 15.4% of gender equality goals are “on track”. 61.5% are at a moderate distance and 23.1% are far or very far off track from 2030 targets.

“On average, women in the labour market still earn 23% less than men globally and women spend about three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men.”

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From the report:

  • Sexual violence and exploitation, the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work, and discrimination in public office, all remain huge barriers. All these areas of inequality have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • There has been a surge in reports of sexual violence 
  • Women have taken on more care work due to school closures
  • 70% of health and social workers globally are women.

Political leadership, investments and comprehensive policy reforms are needed to dismantle systemic barriers, the report says.

“International commitments to advance gender equality have brought about improvements in some areas: child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) have declined in recent years, and women’s representation in the political arena is higher than ever before.” 

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“But the promise of a world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality, and where all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed, remains unfulfilled. In fact, that goal is probably even more distant than before, since women and girls are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Worldwide, nearly half of married women lack decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health and rights. 35% of women between 15-49 years of age have experienced physical and/ or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.1 in 3 girls aged 15-19 have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the harmful practice is most common with a high risk of prolonged bleeding, infection (including HIV), childbirth complications, infertility and death.”

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