More than two billion women and girls won’t see gender equality by 2030, as more than a third of countries have been moving at a slower pace or even in the wrong direction to correct the gender equality gaps, according to a new report by the Equality Measures partnership (EM2030) released Thursday.
“Far too many countries have been stagnating or even backtracking on vital issues that affect the lives and futures of billions of girls and women, such as whether they finish school or if they have equal rights at work,” said Alison Holder, Director of Equal Measures 2030.
“Globally, progress towards gender equality is limping along.”
Access to contraception, girls’ education, political leadership, workplace equality laws, and safety were among the five key gender equality targets that were highlighted in the Bending the Curve Towards Gender Equality by 2030 report. When these five issues were studied in the past, research showed that:
- Having access to contraception has been a key issue for gender equality since several countries have moved slowly or in the wrong direction for the past two decades.
- Women’s representation in powerful positions has improved globally, but 40 of (out of 129) countries have lower percentages of women in ministerial positions than they did 20 years ago.
- Many countries have made improvements on their work equality laws, but still, only 36 of the 129 countries have done enough to reach a high score (data collected by the World Bank, which measures legal protection for women in the workplace every year).
- Girls’ and Women’s perception of their safety has progressed very slowly at the global level. Nearly half of women don’t feel safe walking in their area at night, and this figure has barely changed since 2006.
“This report shines a light on how little improvement we’ve seen on fundamental issues like whether women feel safe walking in their own neighborhood at night, which has barely changed or even worsened in the last decade,” said Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director of the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Center for Women (ARROW).
“Women’s safety directly impacts on all aspects of their lives – from their own education and that of their children, to which jobs they pursue, and their social mobility.”
The research also showed that other countries such as Rwanda, Ghana, and Ethiopia were among the countries that made rapid improvements in the five areas that were studied. In Rwanda, access to contraception for women and girls moved from 12 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2018. In Ghana, the completion of secondary school grew from 5 percent in 2003 to over 40 percent 12 years later, and Ethiopia jumped from 10 to 48 percent when it comes to women being represented in Cabinet positions.
The report found that if all countries strived to match the pace of fast-moving countries over the next decade, nearly three-quarters of the world’s girls and women could live in countries that would reach four or five of the gender equality targets by 2030.
“Twenty-five years ago, governments committed to achieve gender equality. This report shows that they need to do much more to live up to their promise,” said Francoise Girard, President of the International Women’s Health Coalition, delivering a call to action.
“More than that, it highlights the opportunity before us. With political will, financial resources, and the power of the feminist movement, our vision for Generation Equality can be realized. We call on world leaders to prioritize equality, and to work with feminists globally to accelerate progress.”
Equal Measures 2030 (EM 2030) is a cross-sector partnership of different organizations that connect data and evidence to advocate for gender equality. For more information on the Bending the Curve Towards Gender Equality by 2030 report visit data.em2030.org