A Scan of Critical World Developments
Gender Equity: A Long Way Still to Go
The 1995 Beijing Declaration, adopted at the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women, promulgated an action plan for women’s empowerment. How far have we come in the twenty years since? The UN has taken stock in a new report and concludes: not far enough. There have been notable successes, e.g., toward parity in primary and secondary education. However, salient problems remain, particularly with regard to violence and economic inequality suffered by women. The World Health Organization estimates that 35% of women worldwide will be victims of domestic violence or rape/sexual assault during their lifetime. Although the incidence tends to fall as economies develop, it is still over 20% in most high-income nations. Moreover, equal pay for equal work remains more aspiration than reality; it would take 75 years to achieve at the current pace. And women are particularly vulnerable to environmental impacts because of their limited access to resources and role in decision-making. Since social, political, and economic inequalities are interconnected, gender equity demands integrated solutions and redoubled efforts.