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According To UN’s Latest Report, 90% Of The Population Is Biased Against Women And It’s Getting Worse. We Didn’t Need A Study To Tell Us That

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In 2015, several countries came together to sign up for UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that aim to end poverty, hunger and make the world more inclusive and equal. Speaking specifically in terms of gender inequality, UN’s deadline is 2030 to fix things but seems like we are far from it. In fact, it seems like we are not just slow at making progress but we are actually going backwards. We’ve been feeling that way because of the terrible news we hear of every day apart from our personal experiences. But now we have a number to the gap in gender equality and the kind of prejudices women face every day.

New findings in the Gender Social Norms Index released by the United Nations have revealed that prejudice against women and gender bias exist on a scale larger than we even expected. This index measures the prejudices that are a threat to gender equality in areas like politics, career and education. It uses data collected from 75 countries which cover 80% of the world’s population.

The data when analysed reveals that around 90% of both men and women are biased against women. Around 50% of the population believe that men make better political leaders. Over 40 % people feel men make better business executives. In fact, they also feel that men have more right to a job in an economic crisis when there is a dearth of opportunities. A third of the sample here also thought it’s okay for a man to beat his wife.

Pedro Conceiçao, director of the UNDP’s human development report office explained, “What our report shows is a pattern that repeats itself again and again. Big progress in more basic areas of participation and empowerment. But when we get to more empowering areas, we seem to be hitting a wall.” He further added, “While in many countries these biases are shrinking, in many others the biases are actually sliding back. If you take the overall average of the information we have, we show that on average we are sliding back – that biases, instead of shrinking, are growing back.”

Raquel Lagunas, acting director of UNDP’s gender team suggested, “We need to invest and double efforts to address the hardcore areas of power – political power, economic power – and we think, we hope, this publication is going to have impact in the countries we [UNDP] work, and open conversations with governments, because gender equality is a choice.”

Sweden, Finland and Norway are progressing at a good pace and are almost on track with their goal of achieving gender equality by 2030. US seems to be sliding back in progress and India, is not even close to reducing the inherent gender-bias in our society. Women here have the lowest status and even a cow is given more importance. We breathe and live sexism and it runs with blood in our veins.

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“We have come a long way in recent decades to ensure that women have the same access to life’s basic needs as men. We have reached parity in primary school enrolment and reduced maternal mortality by 45 percent since the year 1990. But gender gaps are still all too obvious in other areas, particularly those that challenge power relations and are most influential in actually achieving true equality. Today. the fight about gender equality is a story of bias and prejudices.” said Pedro Conceiçao, head of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office. This should serve as a reminder to speed up and actively introduce policies that reduces gender inequalities.

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