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Facts about Women


Population: The world’s population tripled from 1950 to 2010 and is now nearly 7 billion. There are 57 million more men than women, but in most countries there are more women than men.

Health: Women die more often from heart disease than men, and they constitute a majority of all HIV positive adults in Africa South of the Sahara in North Africa and the Middle East. 70% of the world’s poorest people who live on less than 15 million days are women.

Illiteracy: 2 / 3 of 774 million illiterate adults are women and this is the same number as 20 years ago. 72 million children do not attend school and 39 million (54%) are girls.

Professional life: Gender gap in employment is still high in all ages. Women are mainly employed in the service sector and part-time work is common in industrialized countries. Women also spend twice as much time on housework as men and it is estimated in both paid and unpaid work, women work longer hours than men, half of the country’s minimum standard for maternity leave and 2 of 5 meets the standards for financial compensation.

Power and political participation: There are 20 female heads of state in the world and only 23 countries have more than 30% female MPs. 13 of the 500 largest multinational companies have female executives.

Violence: Violence against women is a universal problem. Between 15 % and 71 % of women reported physical or sexual violence by a husband or partner. Many women said that their first sexual experience was not consensual. (24 % in rural Peru, 28 % in Tanzania, 30 % in rural Bangladesh, and 40 % in South Africa). Between 4 % and 12 % of women reported being physically abused during pregnancy.

Every year, about 5,000 women are murdered by family members in the name of honour each year worldwide. Trafficking of women and girls for forced labour and sex is widespread and often affects the most vulnerable.

Forced marriages and child marriages violate the human rights of women and girls, yet they are widely practiced in many countries in Asia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

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