Gender equality in your lifetime ... if you live another 108 years

08 March 2019 - 11:44 By Nivashni Nair
The global gender pay gap is now 20%, according to the Global Wage Report. This year's International Women's Day theme is: "Think equal, build smart and innovate for change."
The global gender pay gap is now 20%, according to the Global Wage Report. This year's International Women's Day theme is: "Think equal, build smart and innovate for change."
Image: 123RF/Kantver

You most likely won't be alive to see gender equality.

On International Women's Day on Friday, the United Nations said - with a little more than a decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality - signs aren't promising. At the current pace of change, closing the gender gap will likely take a staggering 108 years and economic gender parity 202 years.

According to UN Women, 740-million women currently make their livings in the informal economy, with limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity and income security.

Women do almost three times more unpaid care and domestic work than men, with only 41% of the world’s mothers with newborns receiving maternity benefits.

One in three women are likely to face violence in their lifetime, yet public services, urban planning and transport systems are rarely planned with women’s safety and mobility in mind. 

To meet the needs of women and those most marginalised at the bottom of the pyramid, UN Women said innovative approaches were needed in public services, infrastructure and social protection.

This year's International Women's Day theme is "Think equal, build smart and innovate for change."

The UN said: "Innovation must respond to constraints that women face in accessing those services, due to the heavier load they carry in household duties and unpaid care work, and ensure that women can easily obtain the information and resources they need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies."

Women and girls must also have a voice in how innovations are shaped, so that they can truly benefit and contribute to real change.

"Innovation is shaping and changing the way people live in every part of the world, so we have to be intentional about its use to positively impact the lives of women and girls," said UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

She said innovation was a key component of development, a basic need for those living in poverty, and a far-reaching enabler of rights.

"Women and girls must have opportunities to contribute to both the design and execution of solutions affecting their lives— and they are more than ready to do so."


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