The Lancet, a well-respected British medical journal, has just issues a report on the status of women in the world in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2007. Here are some of the depressing highlights:
- “More than one in five girls of primary school age are not in school compared with about one in six boys. Women account for three-quarters of the 960 million people in the world who cannot read.
- Women also represent an increasing share of the world’s work force, over a third in most regions except southern and western Asia and northern Africa but they are disadvantaged in securing paid jobs. On average, women receive up to 40% less pay than men for the same work. Over-representation in subsistence sectors and sociocultural attitudes continue to limit women’s economic advancement.
- In 2006, around 17% of parliamentary seats worldwide were held by women, with some countries, such as Rwanda and Denmark, nearing 50%. However, women’s national political representation remains very low in northern Africa and western Asia.
- Women put their lives at risk every time they become pregnant. They are the primary providers of child welfare. They are increasingly susceptible to HIV/AIDS and other major diseases. Sexual and reproductive ill health accounts for nearly a third of lost disability-adjusted life-years in women of reproductive age. An estimated 90% of deaths from unsafe abortions and 20% of obstetric mortality could be avoided with improved access to contraception. Yet the latest figures show that donor funding for family planning has decreased by 36%.”
You can download the complete report in PDF form from the Global Sisterhood Network.