A Decade of Inaction: Gender Biases Against Women Remain Unchanged

A Decade of Inaction: Gender Biases Against Women Remain Unchanged

June 12, 2023 : According to a United Nations (UN) report released on Monday, data tracking has revealed that biases against women have not improved over the past decade. Despite global campaigns advocating for women’s rights, such as the MeToo movement, prejudices against women remain deeply ingrained in society. The report, published by the UN Development Program, analyzed seven biases and found that nearly 90% of individuals, regardless of gender, held at least one bias.

The study emphasized that these biases are widespread among both men and women, indicating their entrenched nature and their equal influence on both genders. The UN agency updated its Gender Social Norms Index, which considers various metrics, including political, economic, education, and physical integrity, using data from the World Values Survey. The report found that biases against women have shown no improvement over the past decade, despite significant efforts to promote women’s rights globally.

For instance, the report revealed that 69% of the global population still believes that men are better suited to political leadership than women. Additionally, only 27% of respondents considered it essential for democracy to ensure equal rights for both genders. Nearly half of the population (46%) believes that men are more entitled to employment opportunities, and 43% believe that men are better suited for leadership positions in business. Shockingly, 25% of respondents found it justifiable for a man to physically abuse his wife, while 28% believed that higher education is more important for men.

The report warned that the persistence of these biases creates significant obstacles for women and has led to the erosion of women’s rights in various parts of the world. Overcoming these biases is crucial for achieving gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals, according to the report. It emphasized that biased gender social norms hinder progress toward women’s rights and impede broader societal development. Pedro Conceicao, the director of the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, highlighted the importance of ensuring freedom and agency for women, stating that it benefits everyone.

The UN report’s findings on gender biases coincide with declining human development metrics reported by the organization, particularly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report concluded that social norms impeding women’s rights pose a broader threat to human development worldwide.