top 10 gender issues that need to be addressed
In today’s world, despite significant progress in gender equality, there are still numerous pressing issues that need urgent attention and action. From systemic discrimination to social norms that perpetuate inequality, addressing these issues is essential for creating a more just and equitable society. Here are the top 10 gender issues that demand our collective efforts to be addressed.
1. Access to education
The globe has come a long way in guaranteeing access to education. Globally, the disparities in females’ access to and completion of school have either closed or reversed. Certain places remain well behind, and adult gender inequity persists. Compared to men, adult women are more likely to be illiterate.
Of the young women in sub-Saharan Africa, almost one-fourth are not reading. Although COVID-19 most certainly had a detrimental effect, precise data is still being gathered and examined. Education is essential for both national prosperity and gender equality. According to a World Bank analysis, the loss of lifetime productivity and income that results from girls’ lack of education can cost nations between $15 and $30 trillion.
2. Maternal death rate
Maternal fatalities resulting from difficulties during pregnancy or delivery are referred to as maternal death rate (also known as maternal mortality). Significant advancements were made between 2000 and 2017. The rate of maternal deaths worldwide dropped by 38%. There’s still a long way to go, given that most fatalities are avoidable. The richest nation in the world, the United States in particular, must act.
Maternal mortality statistics for 2020 were just released by the CDC, and they showed an increase in fatalities over 2019. Compared to white women, black women have a three times higher death rate. France has the second-highest death rate, but overall, the US has nearly three times the maternal mortality rate. The loss of a mother has a profound effect on families and society.
3. Abortion and birth control access
The ability to use family planning options, such as birth control and abortion, is crucial for maintaining one’s bodily autonomy. The health, happiness, and economic prosperity of families, communities, and countries all depend on access.
There are 24 nations or territories that forbid abortion for any reason as of this writing. Abortion on demand with gestational limitations is legal in at least 75 countries.
The United States became one of just three nations (Poland, Nicaragua, and El Salvador) to regress abortion rights since 1994 when the US Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in 2022. Experts fear that states that outlaw abortion will soon outlaw IUDs and Plan B birth control as well.
4. Informal employment
One part of the economy that is not regulated or subject to taxes is the informal economy. It makes up a sizable portion of emerging nations, and although it offers employment and pay, it’s far less safe or secure. An estimated 60% of the global labor force is employed (at least partially) in the informal sector, according to estimates from the International Labor Organization. Why is gender a factor in this? 92.1% of employed women and 87.5% of working males in low-income nations are employed in the informal economy.
5. Unpaid labor
Childcare, housework, cooking, and taking care of elderly family members are examples of unpaid labor. Over the world, women labor unpaid 3.2 times longer than men do. Not a single nation on Earth divides up this labor equally. Unpaid work isn’t appreciated even though it frequently fills in the gaps in social services, maintains economies, and keeps families afloat.
Women are just supposed to give up their time, which they might use to work for cash or to further their education, for no other reason than that. This can perpetuate gender inequity and keep families caught in poverty cycles. Governments may make a difference by enacting laws requiring paid time off, funding high-quality daycare, providing child tax credits, and other measures.
6. The gender pay gap
One of the most well-known gender concerns is the gender wage gap, but nothing has changed in this area. According to World Bank estimates, 2.4 billion working-age women worldwide lack equal access to economic opportunities as men do. Although many nations don’t pay women as much as men do, one major contributing factor is the quantity of unpaid labor that women perform.
Furthermore, the World Bank discovered that just 95 out of the 190 economies it assessed required equal compensation for equivalent labor done by men and women. The poverty rate for all working women in the US might be cut in half if the gender wage gap were eliminated.
7. Gender-based violence
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global problem that never goes away. The World Health Organization estimates that 30% of women may experience physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. It is the intimate partner who kills 38% of women who are slain. The COVID-19 epidemic and war are two crises that exacerbate gender-based violence. Why is this a problem that matters so much? A woman’s freedom of movement and way of life is greatly restricted by the reality and dread of violence.
8. Political representation
Most power in the world is held by men. 30 women held the position of Head of State or Head of Government in 28 different countries as of September 2022, according to UN Women figures. At current pace, achieving gender parity at the top echelons of authority will require an additional 130 years. Lesser levels don’t really improve. Women are still underrepresented in decision-making at all levels worldwide. Global gender equality also depends on transgender representation.
Transgender individuals are more frequently the targets of violence and prejudice globally as a result of transphobia. In the biggest transgender and gender nonconforming research conducted in the United States, 28% of participants reported harassment in a medical environment. Human Rights Watch documented a record number of violent assaults against persons who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming in 2020.
10. Human trafficking
All genders are impacted by human trafficking, although not in the same ways. In 2020, women and girls accounted for 60% of all victims. Extreme violence is also three times more likely to occur throughout their lifetime.
The proportion of victims who are men has been rising. This is probably due to the rise in forced labor and the increased number of men and boys who are trafficked for this reason. Identification is influenced by gender norms around exploitation and masculinity; many males do not identify as victims of human trafficking. Knowing the gendered dynamics is crucial when addressing human trafficking.