The State of the World's Children 2007

Women and Children - The Double Dividend of Gender Equality

image of The State of the World's Children 2007
Millions of girls and women continue to live in poverty, disempowered and discriminated against. They are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, less likely to attend school and often subject to physical and sexual violence. In most places, men continue to earn more pay than women for the same jobs. This year’s edition of UNICEF’s flagship publication, examines the status of women around the world. It concludes that an end to gender discrimination produces the ‘double dividend’ of benefiting women and children – which, in turn, has a positive impact on the health and development of societies everywhere.

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Reaping the double dividend of gender equality

For children to achieve their fullest potential and to grow up in families and societies where they can thrive, gender discrimination must be banished once and for all. A world free of discrimination may seem like an impossible dream, but it is a dream within our reach. In recent decades, the goal of reducing gender discrimination has steadily grown in importance on the international agenda. Corresponding successes in empowering women and girls have become increasingly apparent. Since 1945, the proportion of women in parliament has increased more than fivefold. Girls’ education has increased dramatically in many regions, and more than 90 developing countries are on course to achieve the goal of gender parity in primary education, albeit only by 2015, which is already 10 years later than the original deadline set by the international community. Discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls have been changing, not only over the course of generations, but also in some cases, through focused campaigns and discussion forums, in a matter of months. Throughout the preceding chapters of this report, it has been clear that great change in favour of women and girls is possible and that for all children, such change is essential.

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