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New UN report shows women achieve varying success in equality and empowerment

LatinaLista — “We’ve come a long way baby” is something women like to say every time a new collective milestone is reached or glass ceiling cracked. In the United States, though women have achieved many accomplishments that gets them closer to parity with men, there is still a lot left to be accomplished. For example, the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to name one.

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Yet it’s common knowledge that, like the United States, other countries too still have women equality and empowerment issues to resolve — some more than others.

These two issues are recognized as so important in the future development of the planet that the United Nations created a special dept., UN Women, to oversee global compliance regarding them. Headed by former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, UN Women released its first major report titled Progress of the World’s Women:In Pursuit of Justice.

To be expected, the report reveals many accomplishments but also underscores just how much work still needs to be done, both here and around the world.

  • For example, in 18 out of 30 countries, women report not having a say in household decisions
  • 117 countries outlaw sexual harassment in the workplace. However, 311 million working age women continue to live and work in countries without this legal protection.
  • Two-thirds of countries have laws in place against domestic violence, but many countries still do not explicitly criminalize rape within marriage.
  • In 17 out of 41 countries, a quarter or more people think it’s justifiable for a man to beat his wife. In the United States, 16 percent of women and men agree that it is sometimes justifiable for a man to beat his wife.
  • Only a fraction of reported rape cases result in conviction.
  • Despite the fact that at least 117 countries have equal pay laws, on average women are still paid 10 to 30 percent less than men across all regions and sectors.
  • The USA has among the highest rates of women in prison in the world, with nearly 200,000 women currently incarcerated.
  • Women in prison share many common traits: they are typically young, have low levels of education and have dependent children. Many have histories of substance abuse and violence. A study found that 82 percent of women in Canadian prisons have a history of sexual and physical abuse.
  • Female representation in the police is 12 percent in the USA, below the global overall average.
  • On average, women make up 30 percent of judges and 32 percent of prosecution staff in developed regions. In Canada and the United States, approximately 1 in 5 judges is a woman.
  • Evidence shows that jurors in the USA are especially likely to question the credibility of African American and Latina female witnesses in rape cases.

Women, overall, still have a steep uphill battle to overcome inequality, biasness and perceived assumptions but the first step is recognizing that the problems exist and the second step is resolve them.

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