- Development & Aid
- Economy & Trade
- Human Rights
- Global Governance
- Civil Society
Monday, March 1, 2021
NEW YORK/PARIS, Jan 28 2021 - A first-of-its-kind international survey finds that the global public overwhelmingly supports gender equality, and a resounding majority is ready for their governments and business leaders to take action to bridge the gender divide. At the same time, women and girls around the world are suffering the worst impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, which has disproportionately affected their mental and physical health, as well as their economic prospects. The vast majority of respondents—80% on average across the 17 surveyed countries—said gender equality is a priority to them personally, and 65% said their government should do more to promote gender equality in their country.
The global public perception survey, released in a new report by Women Deliver and Focus 2030, includes 17 countries across six continents whose inhabitants represent half the world’s population.
The results come two months before the Generation Equality Forum, a civil society–centered, global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France. There, leaders in government, the private sector, and civil society will have a critical opportunity to commit to bold, specific actions on gender equality issues. The forum will galvanize political action and secure financial commitments for the period of 2021-2026 on measures to advance women’s rights and opportunities around the world. Sixty-one percent of respondents urged their governments to use this forum as an opportunity to increase funding for gender equality initiatives.
“2021 promises to be a milestone year for accelerating global progress on gender equality. The Generation Equality Forum will call on governments, corporation, civil society and people of all ages and backgrounds around the world to step up with bold commitments to make gender equality a reality,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. “At such a critical moment it is invigorating to see that global public opinion is not only behind us, but pushing us to do more. The world is affirming that gender equality cannot wait. We can and we must achieve it in our generation, and it must be intersectional and intergenerational.”
Despite 25 years of progress since the landmark World Conference on Women in Beijing, no country has fully met its commitments to gender equality. More than half of the world’s girls and women—as many as 2.1 billion people—live in countries that are not on track to reach key gender equality-related targets by 2030.2
“We’ve made a lot of progress on gender equality over the last 25 years, but there’s so much work left to do. Now, with COVID-19, just as women are assuming an outsized role in responding to the pandemic in their communities and at home, they are also experiencing enormous added burden, and we could see the consequences of that strain playing out for years to come,” said Divya Mathew, Senior Manager, Policy and Advocacy at Women Deliver.
“This survey shows us where the world has fallen short, but it also delivers the encouraging news that the vast majority of women and men around the world expect their leaders to take action to advance gender equality.”
Fielded in July and August of 2020, the survey offers a comprehensive picture of public experience and perception across six major gender equality issues, in addition to insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic had affected respondents’ lives, livelihoods, and emotional health. It also asked participants about their personal experiences with gender discrimination, their attitudes about sexist practices, and their beliefs about the causes of gender discrimination.
Key findings on these questions include:
The public’s support for gender equality cuts across generations, political leanings, and socioeconomic groups. While women are stronger supporters of most gender equality issues than men, a great majority of men also support gender equality. Young people under the age of 25, women in particular, are especially likely to hold their governments accountable for advancing gender equality initiatives.
The survey asked respondents for their opinions on six major gender equality issues, all of which the public resoundingly expects governments to address on the occasion of the Generation Equality Forum:
Despite the widespread support for greater gender equality, persistent discriminatory attitudes towards women continue to hinder progress towards ending domestic violence and closing the gender pay gap. At the current rate of progress, it will take another century to achieve professional, political, and economic equality between women and men worldwide.3
Against this backdrop, the survey offers a roadmap for actions that the public most wants to see, spotlighting where leaders’ and decision-makers’ focus and investments can have the most striking impact.
“Our survey shows the extent to which gender equality has become a universal aspiration across all cultures. A majority of citizens support gender equality in the 17countries surveyed and aspire to more commitments from their governments.The alleged lack of public support for these issues is no longer a valid excuse to delay action”said Fabrice Ferrier, Director of Focus 2030. “There is no longer anything preventing decision-makers around the world–if notpolitical will -to addressthe most pressingneeds of girls and women and to take the necessary measures to promote gender equality,” he added.
1 Australia, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, China, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, and the United States
2 Equal Measures 2030, Bending the Curve Towards Gender Equality by 2030(Surrey: Equal Measures, 2020), https://data.em2030.org/2020-index-projections/bending-the-curve-towards-gender-equality-by-2030/.
IPS is an international communication institution with a global news agency at its core,
raising the voices of the South
and civil society on issues of development, globalisation, human rights and the environment
Copyright © 2021 IPS-Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. - Terms & Conditions
You have the Power to Make a Difference
Would you consider a $20.00 contribution today that will help to keep the IPS news wire active? Your contribution will make a huge difference.