UN: Women live globally longer, healthier lives with better education - UN report

New York, US (PANA) - Lives of women and girls around the world have improved in
several areas over the last 20 years, according to a UN report released in New York
on Tuesday.

"The World’s Women 2015" report came on the heels of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the new set of data on women and girls worldwide bringing into sharp perspective the need for gender equality as outlined in the SDGs' Goal 5.  

It said that life expectancy has continued to rise, reaching 72 years for women and 68
for men, globally, and worldwide, the number of maternal deaths declined by 45 per cent
between 1990 and 2013.

Although they continue to marry a few years earlier than men, women’s age at marriage
has also increased, reflecting higher education levels, later entry into the labour force, as
well as increased economic independence.

The report said that enrolment of children in primary education is nearly universal
today as the gender gap has narrowed and once they have enrolled in school,
girls perform better than boys through primary education in two-thirds of country.

"However in some developing countries the disparities against girls are stark. Today,
58 million children of primary school age are out of school worldwide, and more than
half of them are girls and nearly three-quarters live in sub-Saharan Africa and
Southern Asia.

"Although the vast majority of the world’s youth is currently literate, nearly two
thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women, a proportion unchanged for the
last 20 years," the report said.

It pointed out that many challenges remain to bridge the gap of gender equality by 2030.

"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," it said.

The report also dwelled on the persistence of gender-based violence and child
marriage, stating that "over one-third of women worldwide have been a victim of
physical and/or sexual violence at some point of their lives.

"In the most extreme cases, violence against women can lead to death, around
two-thirds of victims of intimate partner or family-related homicides are women.

"Attitudes towards violence are beginning to change as both men and women
see violence against women less acceptable. But 60 per cent of all women
victims of violence still do not report it or seek any help," it noted.

"Despite remaining a critical issue in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, child
marriage has declined from 31 per cent in 1995 to 26 per cent in 2010."

Although the demand for family planning has increased in all developing regions,
traditional gender roles and expectations associated with early marriage and lack of
decision-making power among married girls increase their exposure to adolescent
pregnancy, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections, all important causes
of death for women and girls in developing regions.

It said that risk behaviours and image of masculinity had a harmful effect also on
adolescents and young men who are at higher risk of dying from road injuries
and self-harm.

"Men smoke tobacco and drink alcohol to a much greater extent of women,
also contributing to their higher mortality rates," it said.

On women’s heavy domestic burdens and economic dependency , the
report disclosed that, only 50 per cent of women of working age are in the
labour force, compared to 77  per cent of men, and women remain
concentrated in low paid jobs and earn on average between 70 and 90 per
cent of what men earn.

:Furthermore, women spend on average three hours more per day than
men on household chores and caring for family members in developing
countries and two hours more per day than men in developed countries.

"As a result of the gender division of paid and unpaid work, in many
countries, women continue to be economically dependent on their
spouses," it stated.

It said that women’s economic vulnerability becomes even more
visible among lone mothers with children. One-parent households are
increasingly common globally, both in developing and developed
countries as a result of increased extramarital fertility and divorce.

"Lone mothers with children constitute about 75 per cent of all
one-parent households and suffer higher poverty rates than lone father
or two parent households," it said.

On gender representation in leadership positions, the report said: "In
most societies around the world, women continue to have unequal
voice in public and private spheres.

"The number of females among Heads of State or Government is
still an exception, although the world currently counts 19 female, a
slight improvement compared to the 12 counted in 1995.

"Similarly, only 22 per cent of parliamentarians and 18 per cent of
appointed ministers are women, while women’s representation among
corporate managers, legislators and senior officials also remains low,
with no country reaching or surpassing parity and only about half of
countries having shares of 30 per cent or more," it concluded.

The World’s Women Report is prepared by the Statistics Division of the
UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) every five years.

The publication is guided by the principles of the Beijing Declaration
and Platform for Action adopted by countries at the 1995 UN Fourth
World Conference on Women, aiming to remove all the obstacles to
women’s active participation in all spheres of public and private life.

Reviewing progress towards gender equality, the report presents the
latest statistics and analyses of the status of women and men in eight
critical areas of policy concern.  

Marking the significantly increased availability of statistical data on
gender issues over the past two decades, the World’s Women Report
was launched on the occasion of the 2015 World Statistics Day
(20 October) which highlights the importance of statistics in helping
policy makers develop informed policies that impact millions of people
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  20Oct2015

20 october 2015 16:57:58

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