Gender inequality, denial of reproductive rights and shortcomings in sexual education are among major obstacles to reaching the 2030 UN development goals, a new report by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) found.
According to the UNFPA, women in the bottom part of the economic ladder do not have sufficient access to services and products needed to exercise their reproductive rights such as birth control or prenatal and antenatal care. The biggest improvement in this area was made in Cambodia, Senegal and Rwanda, as since 2005 these countries made the biggest progress in reducing the inaccessibility to these health services.
The report “Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights in an Age of Inequality” further stated that women in developing countries living in cities often have better education and more income and are thus more likely to realize their reproductive rights. “This inequity has lasting repercussions for women’s health, their work life, their earnings potential as well as the well-being of their family and the development of their communities and nations,” warns UNFPA Brussels Office Director Sietske Steneker.
In 2015, only about 50% of women participated in the world’s labor market in comparison to 76% of men, while women make up about 52% of the world’s population. “Once in the paid labor force, women everywhere find themselves earning less than men for the same types of work; engaging more frequently in unskilled, low-wage labor; or spending less time in income-generating work and more time in unpaid care-giving work at home,” the report concludes.