Part of: International Women's Day
Back to package

Women's rights: 25 years of progress? Or not?

by Emma Batha | @emmabatha | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Sunday, 8 March 2020 00:01 GMT

A woman carries a red long handmade crochet to represent blood alongside others during a protest to demand justice for victims of femicides and gender violence in Guadalajara, Mexico March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Michelle Freyria

Image Caption and Rights Information

Despite progress in some areas, equality remains a long way off, with millions of girls and women affected by poverty, violence and discrimination

By Emma Batha

LONDON, March 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - World leaders promised 25 years ago to empower girls and women and work towards ending discrimination following a landmark gender equality meeting in Beijing.

From getting more girls into school to reducing deaths in childbirth, improvements have been made. But equality remains a long way off, with millions of girls and women's lives still scarred by discrimination, poverty and violence.

In Focus: International Women's Day

As the world marks International Women's Day, here is a snapshot of progress since the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint for advancing women's rights.

* 25% of seats in national parliaments are held by women - more than double the 11% share in 1995.

* In the last decade, 131 countries have enacted legal and regulatory reforms in support of gender equality.

* The number of girls out of primary school has halved from 65 million to 32 million.

* Two-thirds of secondary school age girls are enrolled in school, up from half - although not all finish.

* 90% of girls aged 15 to 24 are literate, up from 80%.

* The number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births fell 38% between 2000 and 2017.

* About 50 countries have liberalised their abortion laws in the last 25 years, with 18 lifting outright bans.

* Child marriage affects one in five girls today, down from one in four in 1995.

* 34% of girls aged 15 to 19 have undergone FGM in the 31 countries where there is U.N. data, down from 47% in 1995.

* The adolescent birthrate has fallen from 60 to 44 births per 1,000 girls.

* Girls born today can expect to live nearly eight more years than girls born in 1995 (an average of 75.2 years).

FACTS ON INEQUALITY TODAY

* Men hold 75% of parliamentary seats worldwide and 73% of managerial positions.

* Women on average do three times more unpaid care and domestic work than men, limiting access to other opportunities.

* Women are paid 16% less than men on average, rising to 35% in some countries.

* Globally, 62% of women aged 25 to 54 are in the labour force compared to 93% of men - broadly unchanged since 1995.

* Nearly one in five women has faced violence from an intimate partner in the last year.

* At least 60% of countries still discriminate against daughters' rights to inherit land and other assets in either law or practice.

* Nearly one in four girls aged 15–19 is neither employed, in education or training, compared to one in 10 boys.

* Each year, 12 million girls are married in childhood, and four million are at risk of FGM.

* 970,000 adolescent girls live with HIV compared to 740,000 in 1995. Girls account for nearly three in four new infections among adolescents.

Sources: UN Women, UNICEF, Center for Reproductive Rights

(Reporting by Emma Batha @emmabatha; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.