About 300 years. It is the time that the United Nations calculates that, at the current rate of progress, it may take to achieve full gender equality. A new report presented this Wednesday by UN Women and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) estimates that, also at the current pace, it will not be possible to meet the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to which the world leaders of towards 2030: achieve equality.
UN Women explains that, at this rate, it may take around 286 years to close the existing gap in legal protection and eliminate discriminatory laws, 140 years for there to be equal representation of women in positions of power and leadership at work , and at least 40 to achieve equal representation in national parliaments.
If child marriage is to be history eight years from now, progress should be 17 times faster than it has been in the last decade. Girls from the most impoverished rural households located in areas affected by conflict will be the ones who suffer the most, the agency predicts in a statement.
The agency is concerned about the decline in poverty reduction and the likelihood that price increases will exacerbate this trend. She provides some data: Around 383 million women and girls will be living in extreme poverty – at a rate of 1.90 a day – by the end of 2022, compared to 368 million men and boys. “If current trends continue, by 2030, in sub-Saharan Africa, there will be more women and girls living in extreme poverty than today.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, recalls the agency, “is further worsening” food insecurity and hunger, particularly among women, girls and boys, due to limited supplies of wheat, fertilizers, fuel, and the increase in inflation.
In this sense, UN Women emphasizes that challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, wars, climate change and setbacks in women’s sexual and reproductive health rights further exacerbate gender disparities. .
“The data shows indisputable regressions in their lives – in terms of income, security, education and health – that have been made worse by global crises. The longer we take to reverse this trend, the more it will cost us all,” says Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, who speaks of the world being at “a turning point” for women’s rights and equality as it approaches the halfway point to 2030.
“Successive global crises are jeopardizing the achievement of the SDGs, and the world’s most vulnerable population groups are disproportionately affected, in particular women and girls,” says Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Under-Secretary-General of the Coordination of policies and inter-institutional affairs of the DAES.
If action is not taken “immediately,” they say, legal systems that do not prohibit violence against women do not protect their rights in marriage and the family—for example, that deny women the right to pass on their nationality to their offspring—and do not guarantee the same rights to own and control land “could continue to exist for many generations to come.”
The report includes, among other figures, that in 2020, due to the closure of schools, 672,000 million additional hours of unpaid care for minors were needed, of which women will have borne 512,000 million – assuming that gender differences in Care jobs remained the same as before the pandemic.
That same year, globally, women lost an estimated $800 billion in income due to the COVID pandemic and their participation in the labor market is estimated to be lower in 2022 than it was before the health crisis. –50.8%, compared to 51.8% in 2019–.
Another noteworthy fact is that more than 1,200 million women and girls of reproductive age –between 15 and 49 years old– live in countries and areas with some type of restriction on access to safe abortions. Additionally, globally, more than one in 10 women and girls aged 15-49 experienced sexual and/or physical violence by their partner in the past year. The glass ceiling remains “intact”: about one in three directors or supervisors is a woman.
The agency stresses that achieving universal girls’ education would significantly improve prospects, and maintains that “cooperation, collaborations and investments in the gender equality agenda, including through increased global and domestic funding, are essential to rectify the course” and that gender equality is on the march.