Six Ways To Look At The Global Status Of Women


The new UN agency for women has released a report on the progress of women worldwide. Despite the optimism implied by “progress,” spoiler alert — it’s all pretty terrible. But there are charts!

Tthe report focuses on developing regions, and there’s often a “good news/bad news” element to it. Good news: Domestic violence is outlawed in 125 countries. Bad news: 603 million women still live in places where it’s not considered a crime. Good news: As of this year, marital rape is a crime in 52 countries. Bad news: 2.6 billion women live in countries where it hasn’t been criminalized.

The report compiles data on the legal, political, and economic status of women, and has a handy country-by-country index of the same. Below are some of the most illuminating snapshots. (Click any image to enlarge).

Domestic Violence

Here are the countries in which more than a quarter of men think it’s okay to beat your wife. There are seventeen of them. Watch out for Thailand, Serbia, and Zambia, ladies.

Reproductive Rights

Every year, an estimated 68,000 women die from unsafe abortions, comprising one in seven of all maternal deaths worldwide. There are about 20 million unsafe abortions annually, as a result of abortion bans or near-bans in countries throughout the developing world.

HIV Status

Of the 33.3 million people living with HIV in 2009, “women were 53 percent of those in developing countries and 21 percent in developed regions,” according to the report. Most of the women were infected by husbands or long-term partners; in India, 90 percent of HIV-positive women contracted it in a long-term relationship. The report says, “Women’s risk of infection is increased by their lack of decision-making power,” including asking their partners to wear a condom. Here are the figures on in several countries on how many of them felt they could demand a condom.

Government Representation

Thirty percent of women in ministerial positions is the most anyone can brag about.

Judicial Representation

Latin America and the Caribbean win for female prosecutors! And Central Asia for female judges.

But the overall percentages of women in the police and judiciary are still pretty pathetic.

Progress Of The World’s Women [UN/pdf]
Progress Of The World’s Women [Official Site]

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