6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where do we stand?

Women continue to gain representation in parliaments, but the pace is slow.
Proportion of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliaments, 2000 and 2012 (Percentage). (source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012)

Bar Chart

By end-January 2012, women accounted for 19.7 per cent of parliamentarians worldwide. This amounts to nearly a 75 per cent increase since 1995, when women held 11.3 per cent of seats worldwide, and a 44 per cent increase over the 2000 level. While trends point to an increase in women’s parliamentary representation, the rate of representation remains low overall, and progress is spread unevenly.
Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012)

Quick Facts

  • Parity is achieved in developing world primary schools, even though some regions lag behind
  • Gender disparities emerge at different points through the education system
  • Girls from the poorest households face the highest barriers to education
  • Equal access to job opportunities remains a distant target for women in some regions
  • Women, more often than men, turn to the informal economy

Read more in The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

Featured Publication
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

Three important targets on poverty, slums and water have been met three years ahead of 2015, says this year’s Report. Meeting the remaining targets, while challenging, is possible ─ but only if Governments do not waiver from their commitments.

More MDG-related publications
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament