Women across the world continue to suffer from gender inequality, including child- and forced marriage, gender-based violence, sexist policies, as well as barriers to participation in education and employment. Achieving gender equity globally is crucial to meeting development goals, reducing human suffering and solving our biggest environmental problems.
BARRIERS TO EQUALITY
No country has yet achieved full gender equality and women across the world continue to suffer from discrimination and unequal rights and opportunities.
The situation is worst in countries where harmful patriarchal traditions, including child marriage and female genital mutilation, remain the norm. Globally, one in four girls does not attend secondary school and one in five girls is married before her 18th birthday. Child marriage robs girls of a bright future and brings a high risk of death and injury related to pregnancy and childbirth. In most developing countries, a woman’s ability to determine the number and spacing of her children is limited or non-existent.
Even in many high-income countries, women often get paid less than men for the same jobs, face gender-based discrimination and violence, and suffer from mysoginistic attitudes and sexist policies that restrict their autonomy over their own bodies.
AN EQUAL WORLD IS A BETTER WORLD
Empowering women is the most effective way to reduce fertility rates and achieve a sustainable population size that respects the limits of Earth’s carrying capacity. The number of years a woman has spent in education is usually inversely correlated with the number of children she will bear in her lifetime.
Achieving gender equality will make the world a healthier, happier place and is crucial to making lasting environmental progress.
Population Matters is calling for women’s empowerment globally, including:
Ensuring equal participation of girls and women in education and the work place;
Giving women sovereignty over their bodies, including unrestricted access to modern contraception and abortion;
Ending the practice of child- and forced marriage, which violate girls’ rights to a healthy, fulfilling life;
Granting women full equality under all laws and ending all policies that disadvantage women;
Eliminating patriarchal attitudes and behaviours that cause women to suffer and that prevent them from accessing positions of power;
Providing adequate parental leave and childcare opportunities that enable women to have the same unhindered career progression as their partners.
Countries that have implemented successful, pro-active family planning campaigns. Combining female empowerment with facilitated access to contraception and good information is vital to bringing down birth rates.