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Chauvinism’s tenacity: the UN’s gender agenda

Progress towards equality for women has been “unacceptably slow”; in some areas there has been stagnation and even regression. So Ban Ki Moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, will tell a meeting today in New York to mark the 20th anniversary of a UN summit in Beijing at which leaders of 189 countries adopted an ambitious plan for gender equality. Two decades on, women make up half the workforce, up from 40% (though many still earn less than men doing the same jobs), and far more girls get an education. Maternal mortality is down by 45%, although the goal for 2015 was 75%; 140m women still have no access to modern family planning. At the current rate of change, calculates the UN, women will not achieve equality in parliamentary representation worldwide for another 50 years; economic equality will take 81. Time for a new plan.

First Appeared on The Economist Espresso.

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