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A 28 Percent Gender Gap Persists as Women Achieve only 60% of Their Full Potential - UN Report Finds

By Glory Iribagiza

"Large gender gaps continue to hinder and impede progress in achieving all goals" Executive Director, Sima Bahous (Photo: UN Women)

A new report has shed light on the global disparity faced by women, indicating that they are empowered to achieve only 60 percent of their full potential on average. Furthermore, women achieve just 72 percent of what men accomplish across critical dimensions of human development, revealing a 28 percent gender gap.

Titled "The Paths to Equality: Twin Indices on Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality," the joint report by UN Women and UNDP introduces innovative measurements known as 'Twin Indices' that provide a comprehensive assessment of countries' progress in attaining gender equality.

The Women's Empowerment Index (WEI) is one of the indices, measuring women's power and freedoms to make choices, while the Global Gender Parity Index (GGPI) assesses gender disparities in key aspects of human development.

The report indicates that less than 1 percent of women and girls reside in countries with high women's empowerment and a minimal gender gap, while 3.1 billion women and girls, which accounts for over 90 percent of the global female population, live in nations marked by substantial deficits in women's empowerment and significant gender gaps.

The report also emphasizes the global challenges faced by women and presents a roadmap for targeted interventions and policy reforms.

Released alongside the Women Deliver Conference 2023 on July 18, the report ranks Rwanda, previously lauded in other assessments, low in both the Women's Empowerment Index and human development, while ranking high in gender parity.

The Women Empowerment Index evaluates women's power and freedoms to make choices and seize life opportunities across five dimensions: health, education, inclusion, decision-making, and violence against women. In a similar vein, the Global Gender Parity Index gauges the status of women relative to men in vital aspects of human development, including health, education, inclusion, and decision-making.

Reflecting on the report's findings, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous acknowledged the global community's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment. However, the newly introduced indices reveal that women's full potential remains unrealized across countries.

"Large gender gaps continue to hinder and impede progress in achieving all goals," Bahous stated. She stressed the need for sustained efforts to fulfill the promise of gender equality, secure women's and girls' human rights, and ensure the realization of their fundamental freedoms.

Echoing these sentiments, Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, expressed concern over the limited potential available to many women and girls in various countries. He emphasized that the report's insights aim to facilitate real change for real people.

"This eye-opening analysis demonstrates that higher human development alone is insufficient, as more than half of the countries with low and moderate performance in the women's empowerment index and global parity index fall into the very high and high human development categories," Steiner added.

The twin indices present a compelling case for comprehensive policy action in key areas such as healthcare, educational equality, work-life balance, support for families, women's equal participation, and the eradication of violence against women.

Source: New Times


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