One hundred years after more than a million women poured out onto the streets around the world on the first International Women’s Day, the United Nations used the anniversary today to warn that despite the gains made much remains to be done to eliminate gender discrimination.
Even where women are prominent in politics, they are often severely underrepresented in other areas of decision-making, including at the highest levels of business and industry, he added. This year’s observance focuses on equal access to education, training, and science and technology.
Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, the new entity grouping together the work of four previous UN bodies, highlighted the gains made since those marches of 100 years ago, when only two countries allowed women to vote, compared with virtually universal suffrage today, with women elected to lead governments in every continent.
All over the world, major disparities remain between female and male access to education, employment and salaries, she added, stressing that while women are the world’s main food producers and their working hours are longer than those of men, women earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income and own less than one per cent of property worldwide. They also comprise nearly two thirds of the world’s 759 million illiterate adults.