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Gender Equality: Why it matters - United Nations

What’s the goal here? To achieve gender equal-ity and empower all women and girls. Why? Women and girls represent half of the world’s popu-


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Text of Gender Equality: Why it matters - United Nations

What s the goal here? To achieve gender equal-ity and empower all women and girls. Why?Women and girls represent half of the world s popu-lation and therefore also half of its potential. But, today gender inequality persists everywhere and stagnates social progress. As of 2014, 143 countries have guaranteed equality between men and women in their Constitutions but 52 have yet to take this step. What happens if gender equality is not ensured? Inequalities faced by girls can begin right at birth and follow them all their lives. In some countries, girls are deprived of access to health care or proper nutrition, leading to a higher mortality rate. As girls move into ado-lescence, gender dispari-ties widen. Child marriage affects girls far more than boys. Globally, nearly 15 million girls under age 18 are married every year or 37,000 each average, women in the labour market still earn 2 4 per cent less than men EQUALITY: WHY IT MATTERS UN Photo / Eskinder DebebeMarrying young also affects girls education. About one third of devel-oping countries have not achieved gender parity in primary education. In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school. How does gender inequality affect women?Disadvantages in edu-cation translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities in the labour market. Women s and girls empow-erment is essential to expand economic growth and promote social devel-opment. The full partici-pation of women in labor forces would add per-centage points to most national growth rates double digits in many cases. Are there any other gender-related challenges?Yes. Worldwide, 35 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 29 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. But, why should gender equality matter to me?Regardless of where you live in, gender equality is a fundamental human right. Advancing gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reduc-ing poverty to promoting the health, education, pro-tection and the well-be-ing of girls and boys. Investing in education programmes for girls and increasing the age at which they marry can return $5 for every dollar spent. Investing in programs improving income-gener-ating activities for women can return $7 dollars for every dollar spent. What can we do to fix these issues?If you are a girl, you can stay in school, help empower your female classmates to do the same and fight for your right to access sexual and repro-ductive health services. If you are a woman, you can address unconscious biases and implicit associations that can form an unintended and often an invisible bar-rier to equal opportunity. If you are a man or a boy, you can work along-side women and girls to achieve gender equality and embrace healthy, respectful relationships. You can fund educa-tion campaigns to curb cultural practices like female genital mutila-tion and change harmful laws that limit the rights of women and girls and prevent them from achiev-ing their full find out more about Goal #5 and other Sustainable Development Goals, visit:

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