Saturday December 7, 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

gender inequality
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.

gender inequality
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.

gender inequality
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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Bollywood Has A Long Way To Go: Taapsee Pannu

Taapsee Pannu hopes that gender-neutral wages should become a reality in Bollywood

Taapsee Pannu
Taapsee Pannu talks about the gender inequality in Bollywood. Wikimedia Commons

Bollywood has a long way to go as far before pay parity between male and female actors happens, actress Taapsee Pannu claimed on Saturday, hoping that gender-neutral wages would become a reality in her lifetime.

“We have a long way to go. It is insane,” Taapsee said, at an interactive session during the ongoing 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which is underway in Goa.

She said the amount that actresses get in Bollywood are “not even half of (what) the leading men (get paid)”, and added: “It is way less than one-fourth at times — to be honest, even less. Half of the salary of the leading hero is the entire budget of a female-driven film of an A-list actress,” Taapsee said.

Taapsee Pannu talks about wages
Taapsee Pannu said that the amount that actresses get in Bollywood are not even half of what the leading men get paid. Wikimedia Commons

The ‘Pink’ actress also said that at times, even top female leads were paid one-fourth of the remuneration paid to a male star, and added that only box-office success of women-oriented films would end the sexist lopsidedness.

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“I hope it changes in my lifetime. That can happen when more and more people walk into a female-driven film in theatres. Only box-office can change this. Yes, women-driven films have increased drastically over the last four to five years but the big difference will happen when the (box-office) numbers come in. There is no other way,” she summed it up. (IANS)