Monday April 22, 2019

Gender Inequality Strips Women to Control Sexual, Reproductive Options and Limit their Rights: Report

Director of UNFPA in Geneva, Monica Ferro, says gender inequality is often used to control women's sexuality and reproduction

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FILE - A woman adjusts cardboard boxes assembled to form a display highlighting the issue of teenage pregnancy in Mexico City, May 29, 2014. VOA

A new report finds gender inequality strips women of their ability to control their sexual and reproductive options and limits their right to choose when and if they wish to start a family. The United Nations Population Fund released this year’s State of the World Population report titled “Unfinished Business: The Pursuit of Rights and Choices for All.”

Since the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was created 50 years ago, the number of births per woman has dropped by nearly half to 2.5 births. Also, there has been a significant decrease in fertility rates in the least developed countries, as well as deaths from pregnancy-related causes.

But the UNFPA reports more than 200 million women worldwide are subjected to unwanted pregnancies because they have no access to modern contraceptives. In addition, more than 800 pregnant women die each day from preventable causes because of limited access to reproductive health services. Two-thirds of maternal deaths today occur in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report.

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FILE – A community health worker holds up contraceptives during a lecture on family planning at a reproductive health clinic run by an NGO in Tondo city, metro Manila, Jan. 12, 2016. VOA

Director of UNFPA in Geneva, Monica Ferro, says gender inequality is often used to control women’s sexuality and reproduction.

“Gender inequality limits the ability of women to freely make fundamental decisions about when and with whom to have sex, about the use of contraception or health care, and about whether and when to seek employment, or whether to seek higher education,” Ferro said.

The report says hundreds of millions of women worldwide — typically poorer, rural and less educated — are being left behind, unable to enjoy their rights to sexual and reproductive health.

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Director of UNFPA in Geneva, Monica Ferro, says gender inequality is often used to control women’s sexuality and reproduction. Wikimedia

Women fare best in countries that have invested most in gender-equality policies and programs, Ferro tells VOA, adding that most of these countries are in the developed world.

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“If you look at the countries who are the most challenged ones, it is countries where women still face many barriers in accessing health, in accessing especially sexual, reproductive, health and rights,” she said. “And this has to do also with specific challenges, be it specific economic crises, shortfalls.”

The UNFPA has set several goals timed to meet the sustainable development goals by 2030, including eliminating preventable maternal deaths, creating universal access to family planning, and achieving zero tolerance for violent and abusive practices that harm women and girls. (VOA)

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Equal Pay Day Highlighting The Pay Gap That Exists Between Working Men And Women

The legislation would ban the practice of companies prohibiting discussion of wages in the workplace, while making it easier for employees to challenge pay discrimination and provide those who are discriminated against stronger remedies.

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Equal Pay Day
People carry bags reading 'equal pay day' in Bern, Switzerland, March 7, 2015. VOA

Days after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the latest version of a bill focused on ensuring protections against pay discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, Tuesday marks the symbolic Equal Pay Day highlighting the pay gap that exists between working men and women.

The date is meant to show the disparity by pointing out that if a man and a woman each start working on January 1, what the man is paid by the end of December will not be paid to the woman until the beginning of April the following year.

According to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income for women working full-time is about 80 percent of that earned by men.

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The legislation would ban the practice of companies prohibiting discussion of wages in the workplace, while making it easier for employees to challenge pay discrimination and provide those who are discriminated against stronger remedies. Pixabay

Among specific industries, women suffer from the largest pay gaps in securities and financial sales, financial management, credit counseling and retail sales.

In securities and financial sales, the median income for men was $101,423 while for women it was $61,936, according to the data released last year.

Pay is most equal among food preparation workers, writers and authors, pharmacists, counselors and social workers. Those working as retail or wholesale buyers earn more than their male counterparts.

A 1963 federal law prohibits wage-based discrimination for men and women who work jobs requiring “equal skill, effort, and responsibility.” While the gender pay gap has narrowed since the law went into effect, discriminatory practices in compensation endure.

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Among specific industries, women suffer from the largest pay gaps in securities and financial sales, financial management, credit counseling and retail sales. (Pixabay)

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed the House by a 242-187 margin last week, seeks to build on the old law and address the remaining pay gap.

“These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. Pay disparities are especially severe for women and girls of color,” the bill’s authors wrote. “In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination. After controlling for educational attainment, occupation, industry, union status, race, ethnicity, and labor force experience roughly 40 percent of the pay gap remains unexplained.”

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The legislation would ban the practice of companies prohibiting discussion of wages in the workplace, while making it easier for employees to challenge pay discrimination and provide those who are discriminated against stronger remedies.

Similar bills in recent years have failed to gain enough support to pass, particularly among Republicans. Critics say the measures would invite too many lawsuits and discourage companies from hiring women. (VOA)