Gender inequality is a truly global concern. From our own patriarchal sexist churches and missions structures to a classroom in Pakistan, women and girls are still fighting for equal rights and the chance to determine the shape of their future. The issues that face women and disadvantage girls are wide-ranging but fundamentally inter connected. Denied equality in pursuing their careers, exercising personal freedoms or even in something as fundamental as their right to learn, here are some facts for you to chew on today as we meditate on the role of women everywhere, and work to make a better world for everyone! 

Women account for 70% of the population living in absolute poverty (on less than $1.00 a day).

603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.

Women make up 80% of all refugees and displaced people. Instruments of genocide such as sexual violence and rape are often directed at women and girls.

Every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable, but due to gender-based discrimination many women are not given the proper education or care they need.

1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime . According to UN estimates, up to 35% of women alive today have experienced sexual or physical violence. American women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are more likely to be raped by a comrade then killed by an enemy. The most common form of gender-based violence is committed by an intimate partner. The prevalence of violence against women across the world means that women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria. 

Over 150 countries have at least one actively sexist law. From “legitimate” rape in India to unfair inheritance laws in the UK, the majority of countries still harbour laws that make life more difficult – or more dangerous – for women and girls. Many of these laws reinforce the notion that a woman exists as the property of a man. In Yemen, a married woman cannot leave her house without her husband’s permission, whilst in Cameroon, a husband can prevent his wife from taking a job if he does not approve of it. Denying a woman equality before the law or agency over her own decisions, these countries effectively institutionalise inequality. 

There are approximately 781 million illiterate adults worldwide – two-thirds of whom are women. Too many people around the world never learn how to read or write. This is a tragedy for both men and women, but the imbalance reflects a deep structural inequality rooted in one clear cause: a woman is twice more likely to be illiterate than a man because she is twice as likely to miss out on education completely. 

Female genital mutilation (FGM) affects more than 125 million girls and women alive today. It is recognized internationally as a human rights violation.