So, you read that title right? Pretty shocking. Here’s what’s even more shocking…. since women account for right around 50% of the population, this means a good portion of women are biased against their own sex.
Messed up, right?
While there are women in the highest leadership roles around the world, there are other places where people have proven again and again that they don’t think women are capable of holding the same power positions as men. Not only that, but the continued practice of valuing women less, be it in the workplace or at home, continues to be as pervasive as it is frustrating.
If you’re wondering why these issues are still mountains women have to climb in the year 2020, well, look no further than this recent report from the United Nations.
After gathering data from 75 countries that account for 80% of the world’s population, the Gender Social Norms Index has concluded that 91% of men and 86% of women worldwide hole at least one clear bias against the idea that men and women are equal.
Up to half of those surveyed believe that men make better political leaders, and over 40% still think men make better business executives. Close to 50% believe men have more right to jobs than women, especially when times are hard.
Also? 28% of people think that, in the right circumstances, it’s fine for a man to beat his wife.
Even though girls and women have fought hard for rights and improved lives around the globe, this report highlights the truth: there’s still a long way to go as far as addressing bias in pretty much every aspect of life, from education and work to politics and healthcare.
We’re still nowhere close to equality, fact that not even women in the “civilized” USA can ignore.
Pedro Conceicao, head of the U.N. Development Programme’s Human Development Report Office, issued a statement on the matter:
“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 enrollment 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 in a story of bias and prejudices.”
These numbers are averages, of course, and some countries – most notably Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium all scored significantly better than others on the Index.
Men in Chile, Australia, the US, and the Netherlands have made the most progress over the past 15 years while a “backlash” occurred in countries like Sweden, Germany, India, and Mexico that resulted in a growing increase in bias against women.”
The report concludes that gender equality in the workplace is at least two centuries away. Which is…a long time.
Says Raquel Lagunas, Gender Team Acting Director at the UNDP,
“We must act now to break through the barrier of bias and prejudices if we want to see progress at the speed and scale needed to achieve gender equality and the vision laid out in the Beijing Declaration over two decades ago and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
I know we can do it, ladies. We can fight like hell, like the women who came before us, so many our granddaughters won’t have to.
Because honestly, I’m not sure this poor, tired old earth will be around to witness anything in 200 years.