The report, World’s Women 2015, is released by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations. The report is published every five years. The report pulled together all the available data related to women and girls. It covers eight key areas – education, health, violence, population and families, work, power and decision-making, environment and poverty- as identified by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that was adopted by the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The Beijing Declaration seeks to promote and protect the full enjoyment of all human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all women throughout their life cycle.
Population and Families
- There are about 62 million more men than women worldwide. In younger age groups, men outnumber women; in older age groups, women outnumber men.
- Child marriage has declined; still, almost half of women aged 20 to 24 in Southern Asia and two fifths in sub-Saharan Africa marry before age 18.
- Adolescent birth rates declined almost everywhere but are still high in many African and Latin American and Caribbean countries.
- Life expectancy over the past 20 years has risen for both sexes—reaching 72 years for women and 68 years for men in 2010–2015. The gender gap tends to widen as life expectancy increases.
- Men are at a higher risk than women of the same age of dying from cardiovascular disease, but more women than men die from the disease since they tend to live longer.
- Despite progress, only one in two children in developing regions receive pre-primary education compared to nine in 10 in developed regions.
- An estimated 58 million children of primary school age—31 million of whom are girls—are out of school.
- Nearly two thirds of the world’s 781 million illiterate adults are women, and almost all of them live in developing regions.
- Globally, about three quarters of men and half of women participate in the labour force; the gender gap in participation has narrowed in only some regions and remains widest in Northern Africa, Western Asia and Southern Asia.
- Vulnerable employment—that is, own-account and contributing family work—constitutes half of women’s and men’s employment globally, but is most common in Africa and Asia, especially among women.
- Women earn less than men across all sectors and occupations, with women working full-time earning between 70 and 90 per cent of what men earn in most countries.
- Power and decision-making
- The number of female Heads of State or Government reached 19 in 2015, only seven more than in 1995.
- Around 30 per cent of electoral candidates in lower or single houses of parliament are women.
- The glass ceiling appears to be most impenetrable in the world’s largest corporations; less than 4 per cent of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are women and the gender composition of executive boards of private companies is far from parity.
Violence against women
- Women across the world, regardless of income, age or education, are subject to physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence.
- At least 119 countries have passed laws on domestic violence, 125 have laws on sexual harassment and 52 have laws on marital rape.
- About half of population in developing regions lack access to improved drinking water on the premises; and the burden of water collection falls mostly on women.
- The number of deaths from diarrhoea due to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in developing regions was 0.8 million in 2012; the majority of such deaths in some parts of Asia were among women and girls.
- On average 1 in 3 married women in developing countries have no say about major household purchases, and 1 in 10 are not consulted on how their own cash earnings are spent.
- Globally, 47 per cent of women have an individual or joint account at a formal financial institution compared to 55 per cent of men.
- India is among the countries with the largest surplus of men and a worrying under-five sex ratio with more girls dying before the age of five than boys.
- The three regions have the highest surplus of men in absolute numbers: 50.5 million in Eastern Asia (mainly due to China), 49.5 million in Southern Asia (mainly due to India), and 12.1 million in Western Asia (mainly due to Saudi Arabia and the UAE). In absolute terms, countries with the largest surplus of men are China (52 million), in Eastern Asia, and India (43 million), in Southern Asia.
- In India, while sex-selective abortions have been technically illegal since 1996, the law has had little effect so far on the sex ratio at birth.
- India has the lowest sex ratio in under-5 mortality, with a ratio of 93 (93 boys die before age 5 for 100 girls that die by that age).
- In China and India, between 1995 and 2013, women's participation in the labour force declined from 72 to 64 per cent and from 35 to 27 per cent, respectively.
- Child marriage is also most common in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with India accounting for one third of the global total of child brides.