Without investment, gender equality will take nearly 300 years: UN report |

The study reveals how gender disparities are getting worse in the face of “cascading” global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflict and climate change, along with the backlash against women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

As a result, countries will not achieve SDG 5 by the 2030 deadline.

‘Reverse this trend’

“That is a turning point for women’s rights and gender equality as we approach the halfway point to 2030,” said Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women.

“It is essential that we meet now to invest in women and girls to retrieve and accelerate progress. The data shows undeniable regressions in their lives, made worse by global crises: in income, security, education and health. The longer we take to reverse this trend, the more it will cost us all.”

The gender snapshot 2022 report shows how cooperation, partnerships and investments are essential to get the world back on track.

Without swift action, legal systems that fail to prohibit violence against women and protect their rights in marriage and family may continue to exist for generations to come.

The report warns that, at the current rate of progress, it will be necessary up to 286 years close gaps in legal protection and eliminate discriminatory laws.

Most vulnerable affected

In addition, it will take 140 years for women to achieve equal representation in leadership positions in the workplace, and 40 years let the same happen in national parliaments.

Meanwhile, to end child marriage by 2030, progress will need to be made 17 times faster than in the last decade, with girls from the poorest rural households and from conflict-affected areas expected to suffer the most.

“Cascading global crises are jeopardizing the achievement of the SDGs, with the world’s most vulnerable population groups being disproportionately affected, particularly women and girls. gender equality is a basis for achieving all the SDGs and it should be at the center of a better reconstruction”, said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Deputy Secretary General of UN DESA.

Increase in extreme poverty

The report also highlights a worrying turnaround in poverty reduction, with rising prices set to exacerbate the situation.

At the end of the year, approx. 383 million women and girls will live in extreme poverty, compared to 368 million men and boys. Many more will have insufficient income to meet basic needs such as food, clothing and adequate housing in most parts of the world.

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

The invasion of Ukraine in February and the ongoing war there are further worsening food insecurity and hunger, especially among women and children. The war has led to limited supplies of wheat, fertilizer and fuel, while fueling inflation.

UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng

Many street food vendors lost their only source of income as COVID-19 lockdowns shut down towns and cities in Thailand.

The power of education

Other discouraging data from the report reveals that globally, women lost an estimated $800 billion in income due to the pandemic. Despite a rebound, women’s labor market participation is forecast to decline this year to 50.8 percent, compared with 51.8 percent in 2021.

The report has been published before the transformative Education Summit, to be convened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month.

Although not enough on its own, achieving universal education for girls would help drive gender equality.

Each additional year of schooling can increase a girl’s future earnings by up to 20 percent, according to the report, with greater impacts on poverty reduction, better maternal health, lower infant mortality, increased HIV prevention, and reduced violence against women.

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