Much has been done to increase gender equality in education over the past 15 years. National governments and the international community have followed through on promises made in various international forums to increase investments in girls’ education. Overall female enrollment at the primary level in low-income countries has accordingly grown from 87 percent in 1990 to 94 percent in 2004, considerably shrinking the gender gap. This progress is the result of recognition of centrality of girls’ education in development and the overall progress made under the Education for All (EFA) agenda.
The results towards gender equality are mixed at the halfway point of completion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the new report by the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says. Women’s health and education have improved substantially in most countries, but progress is lagging on improving their economic opportunities, and investments of some US$13 billion a year are needed to achieve the overall goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
This report provides the first update of Gender Equality as Smart Economics: A World Bank Group Gender Action Plan (GAP), a year after implementation began in January 2007. The plan commits the Bank Group to ‘do more’ to help achieve gender equality by more fully utilizing its comparative advantage in the economic sectors and in analytical work. The plan’s objective is to advance women’s economic empowerment in Bank client countries to promote shared growth and accelerate implementation of MDG3. It does so by making markets work for women (at the policy level) and empowering women to compete in markets (at the individual level), focusing on four key markets: land, labor, agriculture, and finance, and on infrastructure, which underpins access to all markets. It has a four-year time frame (FY07-FY11) and four main activities or ‘windows:’
Through the Global Gender Gap Reports for the past three years, the World Economic Forum has been providing a framework for quantifying the magnitute of gender-based disparities, tracking their progress over time and designing effective measures reducing them. In addition, in 2008, the Global Gender Parity Group and Regional Gender Parity Groups were launched in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Recent events capture not only the impact of prejudice, but also the need to look closely at what is going on in the labor force and talent pool, where lack of opportunity is felt by non-whites and women from the very bottom on up to the very top rungs of power: white men are 95 percent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies, 92 percent of the top earners. In 2006, only one Fortune 500 CEO is a minority woman.
The Passport to Equality is a document that presents, explains, and reproduces the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in the form of a personal passport.
The increased representation by women among corporate boards continues a trend that has been present for several years; however, women still lag far behind their male counterparts. Both established women directors and those seeking board seats for the first time revealed in the survey that they still find themselves fighting an uphill battle for equal representation.
Starting, funding, and growing a new venture are significant challenges for every entrepreneur. For women, the hurdles are even higher, due to widely held perceptions about them, their capabilities, and their businesses. Now, five leading experts on women dedicated to achieving success and claiming the rewards.