U.N. report shows women inching slowly, unevenly toward equality
By Ellen Wulfhorst
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women are more educated, marrying later and living longer worldwide but millions remain illiterate and trapped by work that pays little or nothing, according to a United Nations report on Tuesday assessing progress over the last two decades.
Despite many advances, too many obstacles remain in women's path to global equality, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in releasing "The World's Women 2015," which looks at developments since a landmark U.N. conference on women held in Beijing in 1995.
"Far too many women and girls continue to be discriminated against, subjected to violence, denied equal opportunities in education and employment, and excluded from positions of leadership and decision making," he said.
Among the findings, women's life expectancy has risen globally to 72 from 64, and women's average age at marriage has risen by about a year to 25 since 1995.
Maternal deaths dropped overall by 45 percent between 1990 and 2013, it said, but remain high in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Child marriage - before age 18 - declined to 26 percent of young women in 2010 from 31 percent in 1995 but remains a significant problem in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as well, it said.
Female participation in education beyond high school has increased, surpassing male participation in nearly all developed countries and half of developing countries, it said.
However, almost two-thirds of the world's 781 million illiterate adults are women, a ratio that has not changed in the past 20 years, the report said. Continuación...