Humanity will not be truly civilised until people of all genders enjoy equal rights and equal economic opportunity. Some countries are approaching this goal, but none has attained it fully.
Women generally enjoy fewer freedoms and rights than men: their condition varies across the globe but women generally earn less than men, have poorer job security and have less access to the upper levels of political and corporate power. Much of the work that women do, including child rearing, maintaining family sustenance and shelter, and agricultural labour, goes unpaid although it is essential to the global economy.
An estimated one-third of all women suffer some kind of physical or sexual abuse, and in many countries injustices against women are entrenched in law. But men can also be victims of domestic violence. They are twice as likely to die from violence, and they are more than four times as likely to commit suicide.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include promoting gender equality, empowering women and improving maternal health. As well as advancing the wellbeing of all human beings, these goals are crucial prerequisites for eradicating extreme poverty. More girls are now attending school, the literacy gap has narrowed and women’s representation in parliaments is increasing. But much remains to be done if the SDGs are to be achieved.
The Australian-hosted International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) is the only Australian development organisation entirely focussed on women’s rights and gender equality. IWDA’s vision is for a just, equitable and sustainable world where women have a powerful voice; it works in partnership to create positive change across Asia and the Pacific. IWDA has three key themes: women’s power, women’s money and women’s security.