Gender Gaps Remain Impressively Large

The latest UNDP report states that "25% of people believe that a man is justified in hitting his wife." Gender gaps continue to affect women's lives .

Woman and man working in an office

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LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Las brechas de género siguen siendo impresionantemente grandes

It may sound absurd, but the fact that 25% of the people surveyed think that it is justified for a man to hit his wife or partner is just one of the worrying data found in the report on the Gender Social Norms Index of the Program of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Despite the fact that at first glance it seems that the panorama of gender gaps has improved, this report reveals a harsh reality: prejudices against women have not improved in the last decade and, even, movements against gender equality are winning every more land in some countries.

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A critical situation

For the UNDP, these data show a stagnation in the last decade regarding gender equality and, in that order of ideas, human rights. For the organization, this situation is critical due to the alarming figures provided by the World Values Survey, which covers 85% of the world's population. The gender gaps remain alarming.

  • 9 out of 10 men and women currently hold a bias against women.

  • Half of the world's population believes that men are better political leaders than women.

  • More than 40% of the population believes that men are better or more suitable than women in business executive positions.

  • 25% of the population believes that a man is justified in hitting a woman. More specifically, if they are married.

  • 90% of those surveyed have at least one prejudice against women in one of the four study approaches: political, educational, economic and physical integrity.

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These data are related to the alarming figures of gender violence around the world, especially in developing countries and even in countries where there is an outpost of social movements in favor of women's rights. For Pedro Conceição, Director of UNDP's Human Development Report Office, the lack of gender social norms is connected to what he calls a human development crisis. "In the 2020 Human Development Index (HDI), the values fell for the first time in the history of the report, and the same thing happened the following year," says the expert. In this sense, the lack of rights for women results in a lack of human rights that deeply undermine the equality of all communities.

On the other hand, these prejudices not only delay the possibility of full access to human rights for women, but also open the way for different types of gender violence that put the lives of women around the world at risk . Likewise, there could be setbacks in the elimination or reduction of gender gaps.

Lack of government efforts

The report stops to review the causes of this stagnation and points out the lack of social norms and public policies that guarantee access to rights by women. For example, it highlights that women are currently more qualified and prepared than ever and that there are even 59 countries in which they have more studies than men. However, "the average difference in income between men and women is still 39% in favor of men."

This shows how little attention governments pay to creating a political and social environment in which gender equity exists. Although there are many women who fight for their rights every day, the lack of policies in their favor strengthens a culture of discrimination and violence that is fueled by detractors who are convinced that these prejudices are real and see in the fight of the woman, a threat.

This report reveals the reality regarding the position of women today and shows that, indeed, there is still much to do.

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