The Feminist Spring: #1 An exposè of political-social-economic flaws thwarting the road to equality Print E-mail

New Internationalist Issue 474 - July, 2014

Feminism - The Facts

Facts for feminists - the twists and turns along the road to equality.

The Gender Inequality Index is a composite measure that reflects inequality, reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market.

Girls have made important gains in literacy and education.

20% increase in girls attending primary school in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 2000-11.

Girls are more likely than boys to attend secondary school in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Canadian women as % of university graduates in selected subject areas, 20113

53% working women employed in ‘vulnerable’, insecure jobs globally.

10-30% the average pay gap between men and women.

Earnings / $1 paid to a white man in the US5

Women enjoy growing influence. In 1911, just 2 countries in the world allowed women to vote. Now the right is near-universal.

Number of countries with female heads of government since 1960s6

Among the most common human rights abuses worldwide, male violence is more likely to kill or maim women aged 15-44 than cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined.8

30% of women worldwide have experienced violence by an intimate partner.2

20,000 ‘honour’ killings estimated to take place each year, globally.9

117 million girls thought missing due to ‘sex selection’ before birth, neglect and infanticide.10

2 women are murdered every day in Guatemala.11

Sexual violence

Rape case attrition in selected European countries4

50% of sexual assaults world-wide are committed against girls under 16.11

10 lesbians are subjected to ’corrective’ rape every week in Cape Town, South Africa.12

500,000 women (adults, children and infants) are raped in South Africa every year, the highest rate worldwide.13

Legal redress4,14
64% drop in domestic violence in the US (1994-2010), following the Violence against Women Act.

125 countries outlaw domestic violence.

52 countries have explicitly criminalized marital rape.

68,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year.

61 countries severely restrict women’s right to abortion.

% of women in relationships using any method of contraception

Risk of maternal death
1 in 7,300 developed world

1 in 22 sub-Saharan Africa

Women spend at least twice as much time as men on unpaid housework, in all regions.

British men and women, daily housework in minutes.


Plastic surgery procedures in the US over 15-year period15


Share of total cosmetic (surgical and nonsurgical) procedures, 201116

1 in 5 women in South Korea undergoes cosmetic surgery – the highest ratio in the world.17


1 in 5 teenage girls in the US has been asked to send nude or suggestive pictures online.18

100 the number of women arrested daily in Tehran for not wearing proper Islamic head dress.20

80% of all 10-year-old girls in the US have dieted.21

1. Dan Smith, State of the World Atlas, Myriad/ New Internationalist, 2013. Based on UNDP Gender Inequality Index.
2. MDGs Gender Chart 2014, UN Women. 
3. Government statistics Canada.
4. Progress of the World’s Women 2011-2012, UN Women.
5. The American Association of University Women.
6. Dan Smith, State of the World Atlas, Myriad/New Internationalist, 2013.
7. Women in national parliaments as of 1 April 2014. Inter-Parliamentary Union.
8. Nicolas D Kristof, ‘Is Delhi So Different From Steubenville?’, 12 January 2013, New York Times.
9. Ahmed Maher, ‘Many Jordan teenagers “support honour killings”’, 20 June 2013, BBC News.
10. UNFPA, Sex Imbalances at birth: current trends, consequences and policy implications, 2012.
11. Fast facts: statistics on violence against women and girls.
12. Fihlani Pumza, ‘South Africa’s lesbians fear corrective rape’, BBC News, 6 November 2012.
13. South Africa: One in four men rape’, IRIN news.
14. US Bureau of Justice Statistics.
15. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
16. International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery global statistics.
17. Asian Century Institute.
18. Study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and, in 2008.
19. ‘11 facts about sexting’.
20. Hossein Fatemi, Veiled Truths, Panos photo story.
21. 80% of 10-year-old girls in the US say they’ve been on a diet,’ June 2012,

22. The World’s Women 2010, UN.
23. Beatrix Campbell, End of Equality, 2013, Seagull Books.