One of the major issues facing the world today is the continued push for the promotion of gender equality. Believe it or not, there are plenty of women in the world that do not get the same rights that we take for granted. In some countries, women are not allowed to vote, are not even allowed to work professionally, and are relegated to spending their whole life at home caring for their family simply because it is the mandate of social, cultural and religious traditions. At the very worst case, women are not allowed to pursue their own education. There’s no such thing as courses like a degree in business management or entry into nurse practitioner schools because education is not even in the cards for them.
The agency required to keep tabs on these issues is the United Nations Development Program designed to empower lives and transform social limitations to give women equal opportunities to do something with their lives. More than just allowing these marginalized people to take courses like Master in Public Administration or a Masters degree in Criminal Justice, the goal of the UNDP is to promote greater awareness of the issues surrounding gender inequality and to push governments to take positive steps towards reducing these cases of inequality.
To this end, the United Nations Development Program has developed an index which quantifies the degree of marginalization experienced by women all over the world. This index looks at essential elements like reproductive health, empowerment, and access to the labor market. Within each of these frameworks are sub-indicators which paint the whole picture of gender inequality. Among these are maternal mortality and adolescent fertility as an adjunct to reproductive health, parliamentary representation and educational attainment under empowerment, and labor force participation as the main precursor to labor market involvement.
From these data, the UNDP scores each participating country in the world in order to come up with a quantifiable number for gender equality. For example, while we may have, say, a San Diego therapist that is female in orientation in the United States, these are not even possible in some countries. That country gets a point that expresses how it is not a conducive environment for gender equality. The same can be said of dying mothers due to AIDS in sub-saharan Africa, or women in Afghanistan who are not allowed to work, even in the most mundane ways like operating a geothermal heat pump or owning a business like selling car batteries online, during the Taliban regime.
In 2011, the top 3 countries with the most egregious gender equality record according to the UNDP index are Yemen, Chad, and Niger.
YEMEN. On a scale of 0 to 100 – 100 having the most susceptibility to gender inequality, Yemen scores a dismal 76.95. The main concern in the country is women’s access – or lack thereof – to reproductive health. Yemeni women give birth to 5 children, on average. There is no minimum age for marrying which means women can be wed as young as 10 years old. There are also many reports of abject and obvious discrimination and violence against women. You won’t need a contractor Leads sheet to see why Yemen has one of the most notably gender inequality ratings worldwide.
CHAD. Chad scores a 73.52 on the same index scale. Chad is a country located in Central Africa where a hippy tree t-shirt is farthest from anyone’s mind. Of the many gender problems in Chad, the most alarming is the humanitarian crisis surrounding the immigrants from nearby Darfur, Sudan. There are no sound infrastructures for child-bearing in the country. Combined with the problems related to the humanitarian crisis, women in Chad are greatly marginalized.
NIGER. The third on the list is Niger, another country in Western Africa. Famine primarily affects Niger and is an unstable political structure owing to various warlord and gang mentalities that aim to control the country. There are also no labor opportunities for women and combined with the absence of reproductive health facilities underscores some of the most critical concerns in the country.
The work of the UNDP should help raise further awareness to the plight of many marginalized women groups. It does not take the top online MBA programs to see that something has to be done with regard to these social issues. With continued awareness and pressure from international agencies, the hope is for women to enjoy the same rights and privileges as men wherever they may be in the world.