Empowering women through education fuels thriving societies, spurring productivity and growth. Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society.
Below are some sobering thoughts.
Women continue to face violence and discrimination, they lack access to land, credit and decent work and are paid less for equal work. They are too often denied education and health care, and in political and economic decision-making women are disproportionately under-represented.
When it comes to making peace after violent conflict, women are largely excluded from the negotiations and subsequently from decisions that affect the reconstruction of their communities and countries. Public spending and planning, at local as well as national levels, does not adequately take the needs and priorities of half of the population into account.
According to UN Women:
- Countries with greater gender equality have economies that grow faster, as shown through a comparative analysis of 134 countries. When women are empowered and have an income, they invest back into their families and communities, driving down hunger, poverty and malnutrition, and improving health, education and well-being.
- About 925 million people go hungry every day. If women had the same access as men to productive assets, increased agricultural output in 34 developing countries could reduce the number of hungry people by up to 150 million.
- Women remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation, with more than half (50.4%) of working women in vulnerable employment. If women’s paid employment rates were raised to the same level as men’s, gross domestic product would be between 9 and 16 per cent higher in major developed economies while in developing economies, per capita income could rise by 14 per cent by 2020.
- Every day 800 women continue to die trying to give life. Millions of other women are at risk of unintended pregnancy or complications from unsafe abortions or childbirth due to lack of access to maternal and reproductive health care services and adequate family planning.
- A child born to a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive. For every year of education beyond grade four that a woman receives, the risk of her child dying of preventable causes is reduced by 10 per cent. Yet women constitute two-thirds of the world’s illiterate.
- Women’s representation in governments makes a difference. In India in areas with female-led local councils the number of drinking water projects was 62 per cent higher than in those with male-led councils, while in Norway, evidence shows a direct relationship between the number of women in municipal councils and childcare coverage they enacted.
- While 139 constitutions guarantee gender equality and 117 have equal pay laws, women are still paid 10-30 per cent less than men, on average.
- Thirty per cent is considered the “critical mass” mark for women’s representation. Worldwide low representation of women in parliaments continues, with only one in five legislators being women.
- Where women are present in the police, reporting of sexual assault increases, but on average only 1 in 10 police officers in the world is a woman.
Thus, it is critical that more young women be given the opportunity to get an education and better their lives as well as the communities in which they live. we hope you agree and take a small step today toward improving gender equality by supporting our efforts to provide increasing numbers of women with the opportunity to get a high quality university education. Please click here to become an Ambassador for improved gender equality.
Narmin K. Ismail, Founder and CEO