Nine in 10 people are prejudiced against women, such as thinking university education is more important for men or that men deserve jobs more if work is scarce, the United Nations said on 5 March 2020. More than a quarter of men and women also think it is justified for a husband to beat his wife, found the Gender Social Norms Index by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), designed to measure how social beliefs obstruct gender equality.
  1. Today the fight about gender equality is a story of bias and prejudices, Pedro Conceicao, head of UNDP's Human Development Report Office, said in a statement ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March 2020.
  2. Using data from more than 80% of the global population, the index found some progress, including an increase in girls enrolled in primary school and a drop in maternal deaths, but also deeply ingrained prejudices.
  3. It said 91% of men and 86% of women held at least one clear bias, such as thinking men make better political leaders or better business executives.
  4. The work that has been so effective in ensuring an end to gaps in health or education must now evolve to address something far more challenging: a deeply ingrained bias among both men and women - against genuine equality.
  5. The report was released ahead of meeting of the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women, which has been shortened to one day due to the spread of coronavirus.
  6. Deeply-held biases could be addressed through education, raised awareness and incentives such as tax structures that encourage equally shared childcare or by encouraging women to enter male-dominated job sectors, the UNDP said.
  7. In Sweden, bias against women has grown the most. India saw the second-largest growth in prejudice against women, but much more so among women than men.
Women in political roles
  1. According to the report, about half of the world's men and women feel that men make better political leaders.
  2. In China, 55% of people thought that men were better suited to be political leaders.
  3. Around 39% of people in the US, which is yet to have a female president, thought men made better leaders.
  4. However in New Zealand, a country that currently has a female leader, only 27% of people thought that.
  5. In New Zealand, a country which has a female leader, 27% of people think men would be better leaders than women
  6. The number of female heads of government is lower today than five years ago with only 10 women in such positions in 193 countries, down from 15 in 2014.
  7. Latin America and the Caribbean had the highest share of seats in parliament held by women with 31%. South Asian countries had the lowest percentage at just 17%.