Gender bias has not improved over the past decade, says UN

By Federica Urso

(Reuters) – Gender inequality has remained stagnant for a decade, according to a United Nations study released on Monday, as cultural biases and pressures continue to hinder women’s empowerment and prevent the world from reaching the UN gender parity target by 2030.

Despite a rise of women’s rights groups and social movements like Time’s Up and MeToo in the United States, skewed social norms and a broader human development crisis compounded by COVID-19, when many women lost their income, blocked progress on inequality.

In its latest report, the United Nations Development Program tracked the issue through its Social Gender Norms Index, which uses data from the international research program World Values ​​Survey (WVS).

The survey is based on datasets covering the period 2010-2014 and 2017-2022 from countries and territories covering 85% of the world’s population.

The latest analysis showed that almost nine out of 10 men and women hold fundamental biases against women, and the proportion of people with at least one bias has barely changed over the decade. In 38 of the countries studied, the proportion of people with at least one bias fell to just 84.6% from 86.9%.

The degree of improvement over time has been “disappointing”, said Heriberto Tapia, UNDP research and strategic partnership adviser and co-author of the report.

The survey also noted that nearly half of the world’s population believe men make better political leaders, while 43% believe men are better business leaders.

“We have to change gender biases, social norms, but the ultimate goal is to change power relations between women and men, between people,” Aroa Santiago, a gender specialist in inclusive economies at the University, told Reuters. UNDP.

Although education has always been hailed as key to improving women’s economic outcomes, the survey revealed the breakdown of the link between the education gap and income, with an average income gap of 39% even in the 57 countries where adult women are more educated than men.

A more direct detriment to women’s well-being could be seen in views on violence, with more than one in four people believing it was justified for a man to beat his wife, the UNDP said.

(Reporting by Federica Urso in Rome; Editing by Simon Jessop and Matthew Lewis)

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