Women’s rights

Women’s rights as human rights, including the right to be treated with dignity and respect, are enshrined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1994 Beijing Conference confirmed that any infringement of women’s rights is a human rights violation. However, the World Bank has noted that “women comprise over 50% of the world’s population, account for nearly two-thirds of all hours spent working – for which they receive only one-third of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property.” While consciousness has shifted a bit in the past 40 years, the following statistics show that there is still a lot of work to be done:

Women’s work is still undervalued:

  • Unpaid service work by women in the home and family enterprises is estimated at over US$4 trillion a year.
  • Women earn 30-40% less than men on average worldwide for doing equal work.
  • In the U.S.A., women earn on average $0.72 for every dollar that a man earns.

Women still do double work:

  • In developing countries, women work 4-6 hours a day more than men.
  • In the U.S.A., women working outside the home still spend on average 12 hours more a week on housework than do their male spouses.

Women still have less influence as decision-makers:

  • Less than 30% of women employed outside the home work in managerial positions.
  • Women constitute 50% of the electorate, but only 10% of legislators and less than 6% of heads of government.
  • Women fill less than 5% of management positions in development agencies.

Women care for others but do not necessarily receive care:

  • Girls are four times as likely to be malnourished as boys.
  • 70% of persons worldwide who are HIV positive are women 15-25 years old.
  • Every minute, a woman dies of pregnancy or childbirth related causes.

Violence against women is still the most widespread violation of human rights:

  • Every hour:
    • 300 women and girls are forced into cross-border sex slavery.
    • 225 women undergo clitoral mutilation.
    • 60 women are sexually assaulted.
    • 2 young girls are sexually abused.
    • Relatives burn a bride or murder a woman as an “honor killing.”
  • 70% of casualties in armed conflicts are women and girls who are raped, mutilated, or abducted as sex slaves.