Facts about women’s rights

Facts about women’s rights



Violence against women and girls

Violence against women and girls is a global issue with 1 in 3 women across the world experiencing violence. (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2013)

Statistics show that the abuser is usually someone the woman knows: 38% of all murdered women are killed by their partner. (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2013)

Of all women killed globally in 2012, it is estimated that almost half were killed by a partner or relative compared to less than 6% of men. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014)

The vast majority of women across the globe have experienced violence on the streets of their cities with 89% of women in Brazil, 86% in Thailand and 79% in India reporting harassment and abuse (Action Aid, 2016). Moreover, only 18 out of 173 countries have specific legislation addressing sexual harassment in public places. (World Bank, 2016)

Over 700 million women alive today were married when they were under 18, and of those some 250 million were married before they were 15. (UNICEF, 2014)

Around 1 in 10 (120 million) girls worldwide have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. (UNICEF, 2014)

At least 200 million girls and women alive today living in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation. (UNICEF, 2016)

A European Union survey showed that 34% of women with a health problem or disability had experienced violence by a partner in their lifetime, compared to 19% per cent of women without a health problem or disability. (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014)

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Participation and leadership

Globally, women make up just 23.3% of parliamentarians. (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2017)

In January 2017, there were 10 women serving as Head of State and 9 as Head of Government. (UN Women calculation based on information provided to Permanent Missions to the United Nations)

In June 2016, there were 38 countries in which women make up less than 10% of parliamentarians in single or lower houses, including 4 countries with no women at all in both chambers. (Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women, 2016)

In January 2015, only 17% of government ministers globally were women. (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2015)

In June 2016, only two countries have 50% or more women in parliament in single or lower houses. 46 single or lower houses were composed of more than 30% women, including 14 in Sub-Saharan Africa and 11 in Latin America. Out of these 46 countries, 40 had applied some form of quotas. (Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women, 2016)

Women’s economic rights

Women spend at least twice as much time as men on domestic work, and when all work – paid and unpaid – is considered, women work longer hours than men. (The World’s Women 2015

International evidence shows that increasing the share of household income controlled by women changes spending in ways that benefit children. (World Bank, 2012)

In 2013, the global employment-to-population ratio was 72% for men and 47% for women. (International Labour Organization, 2014)

Worldwide women are paid less than men, in most countries earning on average 60 – 75% of men’s wages. (World Bank Gender Data Portal, 2015)

Women bear disproportionate caring responsibility for children, the elderly and the sick, spending twice to ten times more time a day on unpaid care work than men. (World Bank, 2012)

Women are more likely than men to work in informal employment. In South Asia, over 80% of women in non-agricultural jobs are in informal employment, in sub-Saharan Africa, 74%, and in Latin America and the Caribbean, 54%. (UN Women, 2015)

In a study of 173 countries 155 have at least one legal difference restricting women’s economic opportunities. Of those, 100 have laws that restrict the types of jobs that women can do, and in 18 husbands can prevent their wives from accepting jobs. (World Bank, 2015)

Women farmers control less land than men. Less than 20% of landholders are women. (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2011)

Bringing women’s wages into line with men’s would add $28 trillion to global GDP. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2015)

Peace and conflict

Only 4% of signatories in 31 major peace processes between 1992 and 2011 were women: 2.4% of chief mediators, 3.7% of witnesses and 9% of negotiators were women. (UN Women, 2011)

7.4% of countries have had female heads of states over the last 50 years. (World Economic Forum, 2013)

Out of 585 peace agreements from 1990 to 2010, only 92 contained any reference to women (International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 2010)

When women are involved the probability of a peace agreement lasting at least two years is increased by 20 per cent, and 15 years by 35 per cent. (Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, and Securing the Peace: A Global Study on Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325, 2015)

In 2015, 90 per cent of police personnel and 97 per cent of military peacekeepers were men. (UN Security Council, 2015)

Data from 40 countries shows a positive correlation between the proportion of female police and reporting rates of sexual assault. (UN Women, 2012)

Only two per cent of aid to conflict-affected states in 2012 and 2013 targeted gender equality, and only $130 million out of almost $32 billion of total aid went to women’s equality organisations. (Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, and Securing the Peace: A Global Study on Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325, 2015)

Funding for women’s rights organisations

A global survey of 1,119 women’s rights organisation from over 140 countries showed that only 1 in 10 received funding from bilateral donors, national governments and international non-government organisations. Meanwhile only 6.9% received funding from UN Women. (AWID, 2011)