Today is March 8, also known as International Women’s Day. IWD has
been recognized since the early 20th century as a day honoring women’s advancements in the world while drawing attention the inequalities that still remain.
What does this inequality look like in 2016? Here’s a peak into five places where gender bias still lurks today.
Hollywood has a less-than-shiny record of treating women equally — just try researching movie star pay gaps and the disparity of female directors nominated for awards. But did you know that female roles were only 28% of the total characters 2014’s top 100 movies? Out of those 100 films, a only 21 starred a female lead character, none of whom were older than 45. (For an interesting read, check out this article that reveals how little Disney princess characters actually speak in their own movies)
Under 40% of the world’s countries give girls the same access to education as boys, and the ratio of boys to girls in secondary education is only slightly less. It turns out that even materials used in schools sometimes have a gender bias. A recent study found many textbooks to include more male names and associate men with higher-paying jobs.
In the workplace
Recent estimates say that women earn between 79% and 84% of the salary that their male counterparts earn — for the same job. One particularly stunning disparity shows a significantly greater gap for women of an ethnic minority when compared to their white male counterparts: 60% for African American women, and 55% for Hispanic women.
Women and girls make up 60% of the world’s chronically hungry. An interesting fact: women are also the majority of farmers and food producers in the Global South. It’s estimated that if women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
According to the UN, up to 70% women worldwide will experience violence first-hand, such as rape or domestic abuse, in their lifetime. Women between 15 and 44 have a higher risk of rape and domestic violence than the danger posed by cancer, malaria, motor accidents, or war.
Why it matters
These statistics serve as a sobering reminder of why we are still calling attention to women’s issues today: it’s because they aren’t just “women’s issues” but the world’s issues. Today on International Women’s Day, let’s reject ignorance and seek to recognize and address the injustice around us.