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Gender Equity and Women Empowerment Index

Home > Research Program > Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Index

Why Gender Equity and Women Empowerment Index (GEWE Index)

The millennium declaration of September 2000 set 2015 as the year of counting achievements and failures in as far as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are concerned, and on the other hand, exactly 20 years now, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 was a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments that set the agenda for realizing women's rights. Therefore, 2015 is the year of global action. This is the year when countries will shape and adopt a new development agenda that will build on the MDGs and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action going forward in championing the Women Agenda. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is not only a human rights, but also a pathway to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development.

According to the United Nation women form 50.4% of the population of the world (7,162,119,434) while 49.6% are men. While women are slightly more than half of the world’s seven billion people, in Africa, statistics has it that only 2% of women own land while over 70% of crop production that supports the population of Africa depends on women. Two decades after the Beijing declaration girls as young as seven not only targeted but used as weapons by violent extremist, from Nigeria and Somalia to Iraq and Syria,  women are being abused on daily basis, women have been attacked for trying to exercise their right to education and basic services; they have been raped and turned into sex slaves; they have been given as prizes to fighters, or traded among extremist groups in trafficking networks. According to the UNDP GEPA report, 11 of 13 GEPA case study countries, women hold less than 30% of decision-making positions in public administration; in 7 of the 13 case study countries, women occupy 15% or less of decision-making positions.

To date no single country or government in the world has achieved the ultimate goal of 50:50 gender equality, world gender parity statistics is alarming:

  1. Globally, only 8 percent of cabinet members and 19 percent of parliament members are women.

  2. Close to three quarters (70 percent) of those who live on less than $1 per day are women. Women also account for three quarters of the world’s 876 million illiterate adults.

  3. Women work two thirds of the world’s working hours, yet receive only 10 percent of the world’s income.

  4. Women own only 1 percent of the world’s property. Although they predominate in world food production (50 to 80 percent), women own less than 10 percent of land.

  5. Women do not have easy and adequate access to funds to cover weather-related losses or adaptation technologies.

  6. Women face gender-based barriers to access to land, financial services, social capital and technology, which render them vulnerable to food insecurity.

  7. In Africa, the proportion of women affected by climate-related crop changes could range from 48 percent in Burkina Faso to 73 percent in the Congo.

  8. There are 2 million deaths per year (mainly women and children) related to the burning of biomass fuel indoors. About 36 percent of these deaths are in low HDI countries.

Studies demonstrate that gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to development, environmental sustainability and achievement of the MDGs.

While acknowledging that social, economic, cultural, climatic, ecological and other fac­tors, in part, determine human ability, the RED PACT-AFRICA initiative has identified the following as essential com­ponents of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, they form the main dimensions of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Index:

  • Women and Economic Productivity

  • Women and Access to Basic Service

  • Women and Education

  • Women and Health

  • Women and poverty

  • Women and Security/Safety

  • Women and the Media

  • Women and Public life , Business and Decision making

  • Human rights of women and girl children

  • Women and the Environment

Its prudent and mandatory that, regardless of their level of development, countries and cities must take certain steps im­mediately to guarantee the rights of women.  One such step is monitoring to ascertain the full extent of Gender Equality and Women empowerment within relevant jurisdiction.

The index should spar a race against time between countries and cities in aiming at the planet 50:50 by 2030, the goal is set and the line is drawn and the time is now.

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