The Effects of Gender Inequality
Gender inequality is a complex issue that impacts people all over the world. Often, it results from direct harmful actions against women, such as violence and harassment, but it can also reflect restrictions on women’s choices and opportunities in law or social norms. Regardless of the cause, gender inequality is a global problem that affects every aspect of our lives and economies. The most obvious impact is that of the pay gap: globally, women earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. The gap is even greater when looking at groups such as age, race, ethnicity, immigration status and whether or not women have children. Closing the pay gap would boost the global economy by $7 trillion.
The effects of gender inequality are even more profound in the areas of health, education, economic opportunity and political representation. For example, women are more likely to live in poverty than men and to lack access to quality healthcare. This is due to a number of factors, including a lack of affordable birth control, poor health care facilities and discrimination from doctors and nurses. There are even fewer medical research studies focused on diseases that disproportionately affect women, such as autoimmune disorders and chronic pain conditions.
Despite these gaps, many people around the world are working hard to close these divides. In fact, the vast majority of people in the 34 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center say it is important for women to have the same rights as men in their country. Moreover, 75% of respondents across these countries think that it is likely women will eventually have equal rights in their country.
However, it’s worth highlighting that the level of support for gender equality varies by country and may be affected by cultural or historical attitudes. This is why it is important to continue to invest in programs such as gender bias training and diversity workshops. These can help shape perceptions of gender equality and ultimately lead to real, long-lasting change.
In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that gender equality is good for the economy. Studies show that when women are empowered and allowed to participate fully in the economy, businesses flourish and societies benefit. This is why reducing gender inequality is a vital economic issue.
The good news is that the gaps in almost all of these areas are slowly narrowing, thanks to global trends and country-specific efforts such as lowering barriers to education, promoting labor force participation for women, and ensuring fair pay for all (see our interactive map of these progress bars by country). This momentum should be kept up and expanded to ensure that the potential of women to contribute to a thriving global economy is fully realized. This is the only way to build a more stable and prosperous future.