If the current level of progress continues, it will take about three centuries to achieve gender equality

Credit: UN Women/BrunoDemeocq

At the current rate of progress, achieving gender equality could take nearly 300 years, says a new report by UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which highlights that various challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19, climate change and violent conflict are further exacerbating gender disparities.

The study on progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in terms of gender adds that if current conditions continue, it will not be possible to achieve Goal 5, which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030

It also shows that unless immediate action is taken, legal systems that do not prohibit violence against women, those that do not protect women’s rights in marriage and the family, and those that do not guarantee equal rights to property and control of the lands may continue to exist for many more generations.

If the current level of progress continues, the report estimates that it will take up to 286 years to close gaps in legal protections and eliminate discriminatory laws, 140 years to achieve equal representation in positions of power and leadership at work place, and at least 40 years old to achieve equal representation in national parliaments.

Furthermore, it reveals that to eradicate child marriage by 2030, progress must be 17 times faster than in the last decade.

As we near the 2030 halfway mark, we are at a “tipping point” in terms of women’s rights and gender equality, according to UN Women Executive Director Sima Bacchus.

“It is critical that we mobilize now to invest in women and girls and to restore and accelerate progress. The data show undeniable regressions in their lives—in terms of income, safety, education, and health—that have been exacerbated by global crises. The longer it takes to reverse this trend, the more it will cost us all,” he said.

The report also points to a worrying failure to reduce poverty, a situation likely to be exacerbated by rising prices.

An estimated 383 million women and girls will live in extreme poverty by the end of 2022 (on less than 1.90 per day), compared to 368 million men and boys, while a greater number will not reach sufficient income. to meet basic needs, such as food, clothing and adequate housing.

If current trends in sub-Saharan Africa continue, by 2030 there will be more women and girls living in extreme poverty than today.

On the conflict side, the war in Ukraine is further exacerbating food insecurity and hunger, particularly among women and children, limiting supplies of wheat, fertilizer and fuel and fueling inflation.

In the past year, about 38 percent of female-headed households in war zones experienced moderate or severe food insecurity, compared to 20 percent of male-headed households.

School and preschool closures in 2020 require 672 billion additional hours of unpaid care for children worldwide. Assuming the gender gap in caregiving remains the same as it was before the pandemic, women would take 512 billion of those hours.

Globally, women are estimated to have lost $800 billion in income in 2020 due to the pandemic, and despite the recovery, their participation in the labor market is expected to be lower in 2022 than before the pandemic (50.8%, compared to 51.8% in 2019)

There are now more women and girls forcibly displaced than ever before: an estimated 44 million by the end of 2021.

More than 1.2 billion women and girls of reproductive age (between the ages of 15 and 49) currently live in countries and territories with some type of restriction on access to safe abortion

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