Everything you need to know about UN Women’s report on making gender equality a reality


Women across the world are paid on average 24% less than men, a flagship report released by UN Women has revealed.

For women with children the gender pay gap is even wider, with those in south Asia, for example, getting paid 35% less than men, the research by the United Nations agency for gender equality and the empowerment of females found.

According to the report, a woman from Turkey can expect to earn 75% less than an average man in her lifetime, while in Germany that figure is 49%, compared with 31% in France or Sweden.

It also highlighted the high proportion of working women who have been victims of sexual harassment. For example, 75% of women in the EU in management and higher professional positions.

Also, the half the women in the world who do work, compared with three-quarters of men, are not always protected by labour laws or social protection.

Speaking at the launch of “Transforming Economies, Realising Rights”, co-author Laura Turquet said: “The report looks at both developing and developed countries. Gender equality hasn’t been achieved anywhere in the world.

“Ultimately … upholding women’s rights will not only make the economy work for women, it will also benefit societies at large by creating a fairer and more sustainable future for all.

“We need to go beyond the old metrics of GDP growth, instead measuring success in terms of the realisation of human rights.

“We have seen women becoming more like men, we need to see men becoming more like women.”

The report, launched at a conference in central London, examined in detail what the world’s economy would look like if it truly worked for women, and came up with 10 recommendations of how we could get to a point where women and men are treated as equals.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, said: “From Wall Street to the sugar cane fields, the gender norms that work against women are strong. A woman on Wall Street is paid less just because she is a woman.”

The 10 recommendations:

1) Creating more and better jobs for women

2) Reducing occupational segregation and gender pay gaps

3) Strengthening women’s income security

4) Recognising and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work

5) Investing in gender-responsive social services

6) Maximising resources to achieve equality

7) Supporting women’s organisations to claim rights and shape policy agendas

8) Creating an enabling global environment

9) Using human rights standards to shape policies

10) Generating evidence to assess progress on women’s economic and social rights

“The new economic agenda that UN Women is advocating for is not a pipe dream. Many countries, including low-income developing countries, are already implementing elements of this agenda,” said Shahra Razavi, chief of UN Women’s Research and Data Section and lead author of the report.

“The kind of change we need is far-reaching, but it can be done.”

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