6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where do we stand?

Much progress has been made towards women’s and girls’ equality in education, employment and political representation, but many gaps remain.

Since 1995, when the Beijing Platform for Action on women’s empowerment was adopted, the global average proportion of women in parliament has nearly doubled, growing from 11 per cent in 1995 to 22 percent in January 2015. Women in parliament have gained ground in nearly 90 percent of the 174 countries for which data are available for 1995–2015.

Proportion of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliament, 2000 and 2015 (Percentage). Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015.

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  • About two thirds of countries in developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education.
  • Globally, about three quarters of working-age men participate in the labour force, compared to
    half of working-age women.
  • Today, women make up 41 percent of paid workers outside of agriculture, an increase from 35 percent in 1990.
  • The average proportion of women in parliament has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, but still only one in five members is female.

Read more in The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015.

UNDP’s work around the globe

2015: Time for Global Action
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Ensuring that leaders take ambitious decisions to reduce poverty and inequality and protect our planet this year is everyone’s responsibility.

Here’s how you can do your part...
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