Women and Gender Equality


ILOSTAT data show that progress is needed in many areas and in every region to achieve gender equality in the labour market. While most of us are aware that women are often paid less than men in the same occupation, ILOSTAT data show where the gaps are largest. The median gender wage gap for 115 countries with available data is 14% in favor of men. And male-dominated occupations have even higher wage premiums for men.

women in Guinea

Women and girls make up half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality of rights and opportunities between men and women, warns UN Women. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, and 5 years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Let’s make 2020 the year of equality!

Francy Jaramillo

Francy L. Jaramillo Piedrahita is a human rights defender with over a decade of experience working on women’s rights, LGBTQ issues and peacebuilding in Colombia. Read her story.

illustration of women's human rights

Women are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of all of their human rights and to be free from all forms of discrimination. See the full infographic on the various aspects of women's human rights, prepared by UN Women.

family planning in Iraq

The world has seen both peril and promise in the last 10 years. But it is worth looking back at the gains humanity has made – especially in addressing gender inequality. Here are four changes that have helped define the last 10 years as a decade of growing voices and choices for women and girls. 

collage of women's achievements in 2019

From the first all-woman spacewalk to Sudanese women leading the country’s revolution, the last 12 months have seen some incredible achievements by and for women. Next year, 2020, is expected to be an even bigger year for women’s rights worldwide. It will mark several milestones, such as the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the most progressive global agenda for women’s rights adopted by 189 countries in 1995, and five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, among others. Women’s rights can’t wait, won’t wait. As 2019 comes to an end, we’re taking a look back at some of the memorable moments for gender equality and women’s rights around the world.

Kenyan girl

Access to health is a basic right, one that is central to a life of dignity. Maternal health is still one of the biggest concerns worldwide. In a three-part series, UNOPS explores the trials, triumphs and hopes of a community that live in Turkana, one of Kenya’s poorest counties.

women and children in orange t-shirts perform

The world went orange: Putting a spotlight on ending violence against women

Wael Abu Ismael, Freeh Abu T’ema and Mossa Abu Taema

Wael Abu Ismael, Freeh Abu T’ema and Mossa Abu Taema are ambassadors of change to end early marriages in Khan Younis, a border town in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, where early and child marriages are common. They have undergone a training delivered by a community-based organization, the Future Brilliant Society, as part of UN Women’s Regional Men and Women for Gender Equality Programme. The ambassadors have prevented early marriages in 50 families and counting.

women and children holding up SDG cards

Violence against women is one of the biggest violations of human rights and a major impediment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Violence against women and girls is preventable if we address the risk factors and underlying harmful social norms that perpetuate and excuse violence, and if hold perpetrators accountable.

Dina Smailova

Consent is active, given freely, informed, specific and reversible. Creating a culture of consent requires all of us to consciously shift the way we engage with others. Use consent to create a safe sexual space.

One story about rape is one story too many.

illustration: women and men stand in solidarity

Rape culture is the social environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized and justified, fueled by the persistent gender inequalities and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Naming it is the first step to dismantling rape culture. From the attitudes we have about gender identities to the policies we support in our communities, we can all take action to stand against rape culture.

Ajna Jusić

Ajna Jusić, 26 years old, is the President of the Forgotten Children of War Association, a psychologist and a feminist from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

silhouettes of 3 women

For the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, and under the umbrella of the Generation Equality campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign is calling upon people from all walks of life, across generations, to take our boldest stand yet against rape. It’s time to take a stand to dismantle rape culture.