90 per cent of people are biased against women: New analysis on gender equality
The latest index released by the United Nations Development Programme shows that “enormous power gaps still exist between men and women”.
International Women’s Day (Mar 8) serves as an apt reminder that gender disparity still exists in every country – rich or poor, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In a new Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) released by the UNDP on Mar 5, close to 90 per cent of men and women hold some sort of bias against women. The index measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in politics, work and education in 75 countries or 80 per cent of the world’s population.
The GSNI revealed that about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders; over 40 per cent feel that men make better business executives; men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce; and 28 per cent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife.
Despite progress in closing gender inequalities in basic areas such as education and health, said the UNDP, “enormous power gaps still exist between men and women” in the political and corporate arenas. For example, while men and women vote at similar rates, only 24 per cent of parliamentary seats worldwide are held by women, and there are only 10 female heads of government out of a possible 193.
Less than 6 per cent of CEOs in S&P 500 companies are women. And even though women work more hours than men, this work is more likely to be unpaid care work, according to the UNDP.
While there have been improvements in some countries, in others, attitudes appear to have worsened “in recent years”. “We have reached parity in primary school enrollment and reduced maternal mortality by 45 per cent since the year 1990,” said Pedro Conceiçao, head of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office.
“But gender gaps are still all too obvious in other areas, particularly those that challenge power relations and are most influential in actually achieving true equality.”