International Women’s Day: The Truth About Worldwide Inequity & Bias for Women

Yesterday, we shared an infographic that attempted to debunk statistics that say there is gender inequality in pay in the United States. Today, on International Women’s Day, we report statistics from a new World Bank which points out significant inequality and inequity that remain in ever sector of life for women world wide.
We spotted some of these numbers noting out that “even in countries where women have advanced, gender economic inequality remains a serious problem,” summarized in a recent report in The Nation .
For example, as The Nation summarized:
  • Women continue to trail behind men by every economic measure.
  • Their labor force participation of women worldwide has stagnated over the past two decades, declining slightly from 57 percent to 55 percent today. Female labor force participation has sunk as low as 25 percent in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • According to an ILO analysis of eighty-three countries, on average, women earn between 10 and 30 percent less than comparable men. There is no country in the earth where women have reached wage parity.
  • Sexist bias and social norms continue to impose an enormous penalty on women’s economic well-being. Women worldwide spend at least twice as much time as men do on unpaid housework and care work. According to the report’s authors, close to 40 percent of people worldwide “agree that, when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to jobs than women.”
  • Women’s lack of access to credit, land, and education remains serious obstacles. Though girls’ access to education is improving in many areas of the world, in sixteen countries in 2010–12, female-to-male enrollment ratios in primary education were less than 90 percent, and millions of children in those countries were not enrolled at all.
  • Various forms of sex-based economic discrimination are perfectly in the vast majority of countries in the world. 128 of 143 countries had some sort of sex-based legal differentiation in 2013. In some countries, women still need their husbands’ consent to work.

This month, Essence magazine has an article “Money & Power: Earn What You’re Worth”,  about pay inequality that challenges claims that pay inequity is an outcome of statistical manipulation. It quotes DC lawyer Debbie Hines who shared that after a male colleague with nearly identical credentials got offered a job he couldn’t take, she interviewed for it at his suggestion, got the job but was offered $30,000 less. 
“I can’t see this huge disparity being caused by anything other than discrimination against me for being a woman and an African-American, because it wasn’t my resume,” said Hines who authors the blog LegalSpeaks.com and who ultimately took the job at the now-defunct law firm. She said that accepting the lower salary made it tough for her to negotiate her next position having to start at a lower salary. “It follows you,” she stated.
It is an anecdotal reminder that pay inequity is real as is unconscious bias. 
This International Women’s History Month, we, women, all should acknowledge our greatness and power, but also make sure we spread awareness to others about how far yet we have to go and if, possible, do something to move the world towards greater parity. 
Do it for our sisters. Do it for Sisterhood!
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