The Status of Women in the World
The status of women in the world today is far from equal to men’s. In fact, women are underrepresented in government in many countries, with an average of 24.3% of national assemblies made up of women in January 2019. However, women have always fought for the right to vote, and the history of their movements is long and storied. In the United States, women achieved universal suffrage slowly at the local and state level, and finally, in 1920, with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Women’s economic consequences are heavily influenced by their attitudes. These attitudes are not new, but they are a result of traditional societal mindsets about women. These beliefs may have been shaped by decisions made at the family or organizational level. A recent global World Values Survey revealed that men are more entitled to employment than women in most countries of MENA and South Asia. In developed countries, about one in six respondents agreed. The attitudes that determine economic outcomes for women are also shaped by their social and cultural background.
Regardless of age, the public values a different set of qualities in men and women. For example, one in ten people said society values ambition, leadership, assertiveness, and a good work ethic in women. A further 6% of respondents said they look for women who are physically and mentally attractive. However, most women cited other traits, including kindness and toughness. The results are not entirely clear. The public is divided on what women are valued for in a partner.
Gender equality is a basic human right and the cornerstone of a sustainable world. Despite progress in recent decades, women continue to face challenges that hamper their advancement. While there are more women serving in parliament and gaining leadership roles, discriminatory laws and social norms still exist. One in five women experiences physical violence from her intimate partner within a twelve-month period. Sadly, this statistic is not representative of the reality. Fortunately, there are many women leaders who are demanding reform of laws and social frameworks to achieve gender equality.
COVID-19 has regressed progress in expanding women’s rights and liberties and intensified the workload at home, thereby forcing many of them out of the labour force. If gender equality is a priority, this could help us move towards our Sustainable Development Goals. And, it will help millions of women around the world enjoy better social and economic outcomes. This is the way forward. Let’s make progress. You can’t build a better world without putting women first. You can’t afford to neglect the needs of women.
Women need equal opportunities as men do. While equality of sex does not mean that men and women are equal, gender equality entails changes for men. Men must be empowered as well, and their roles and responsibilities must be redefined to reflect their needs and the conditions in which they live. By adopting a gender perspective, we’ll better understand the true costs of gender discrimination for men and women and how to eliminate these costs.