Much has changed in the social and civil situation of women since 1848, the year in which Elizabeth Cady Stanton started the Women’s Rights Movement along with four other friends.
Early feminist campaigns of the 19th and early 20th centuries centered on women’s legal rights, particularly the right to vote. Later waves touched upon diverse aspects of a woman’s life, from politics and work to family and sexuality.
Organized activism in the second part of the 20th century and early 2010s advocated equal access to education, employment parity, and equality within marriage in terms of property, custody over children, and control over a woman’s own body.
Nevertheless, over 150 years later, women across the world face discrimination, inequality, and violation of rights in different aspects of their lives. COVID-19 pandemic has only widened the already substantial gap between men and women, suggest the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2021 report.
The annual report states that “the health emergency and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed”. To shed more light on the real situation of women in today’s world, we’ve outlined the seven most infamous facts and stats about gender inequality in 2021.
We’re a quarter of a millennium away from economic equality
267.6 years to be precise. The above-mentioned report suggests there is nearly 50% of the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap yet to be bridged, and that 2021 has seen an only marginal improvement in that area, as compared to the previous annual report.
Gender parity hasn’t significantly progressed since 2015
Even before the global health situation impeded gender parity activities, the progress had already been slow in the last few years.
Namely, according to data by McKinsey Global Institute, 2021 saw only marginal progress as compared to 2015, in aspects of leadership positions, maternal mortality, legal protection, and political representation, calculated as the ratio of female to male.
Moreover, the analysis shows no progress in education level, digital inclusion, and unpaid care work, with the issues of child marriage and financial inclusion saw a 2.4 and 0.7 percentage drop respectively, compared to 2015.
A third of business executives are women
Even though the stats suggest a roughly equal percentage of both women and men with degrees in the US, only 31% of the highest company positions are held by women.
Gender disparity even exists in the coffee industry. Namely, studies have shown that the number of women doing fieldwork harvest and sorting is double or triple the number of men doing those jobs, respectively. On the other hand, women are five to ten times less often the owners of the land or the coffee grown on that land.
One in four women face losing their job due to automation
By 2030, between 40 million and 160 million women from all around the world may need to reinvent their careers. Automation will hit hard on both men and women, but the latter is expected to face more difficulty in adapting to new positions.
This is primarily due to women spending much more time than men on unpaid care work and already earning less, which increases their financial limitations in developing and honing new skills.
Lockdown has aggravated domestic violence against women
A report by unwomen.org, The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, states that in the past 12 months, 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 have been victims of sexual and/or physical violence committed by an intimate partner.
France, Argentina, Cyprus, and Singapore are just some of the countries that witnessed a dramatic increase in calls and reports of domestic violence – between 25% and 33% – since the beginning of lockdown around March 2020.
COVID-19 impacts female-dominated industries the most
Education, accommodation and food services, finance and insurance, and wholesale and retail are the top industries expected to decline the most due to the pandemic – all of which are dominated by female workers.
Of course, there are other industries hit hard by the health crisis – construction, utilities, transportation, and agriculture being among them. However, women are disproportionately represented in those industries predicted to bear the most during and post-pandemic.
Less than 10% of 193 UN member states are led by a woman
According to data by Statista, between 1960 and 2021, 75 women have held the highest position of executive power in only 60 countries. The highest number was in 2019 when there were 19 female leaders, yet in 2021, the number dropped to 14.
What’s the future of women’s position in society?
Progress in achieving gender equality has, in the past few years especially, been modest, and now, new challenges have arisen, such as the global pandemic, and industrial automation.
Gender disparity is evident across areas of a woman’s life – from gender pay gap and limited opportunity to occupy leading positions, little chance for reeducation and retraining, to falling victim to their domestic partners.
In order to adequately address issues women face in their everyday work and personal environment, support is crucial – whether it’s a female-run small business, a colleague striving for a promotion, or a friend suffering intimate partner violence.