close this bookDevelopment in practice: Toward Gender Equality
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View the documentWhy Do Gender Inequalities Persist?
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Progress to Date

Over the past two decades considerable progress has been made in reducing the gender gap world wide.

• In 1960. for every 100 boys enrolled in primary school. there were 65 girls. In 1990 the ratio had risen to 85.

• In 1980 an average six-year-old girl in a developing country could expect to attend school for 7.3 years. By 1990 this figure had Increased to 8.4 years.

• Since the 1950s the female labor force has grown twice as last as the male labor force. Worldwide, more than 40 percent of women over 15 years of age are now in the labor force; in developing countries women account for 30 percent of the labor force (These figures. it should be noted, do not fully reflect women's participation in the informal sector as unpaid family members in agriculture.)

Nevertheless. inequalities between men and women persist in many important areas.

• Despite women s biological advantage, their mortality and morbidity rates frequently exceed those of men, particularly during childhood and the reproductive years.

• Traditionally women are employed in lower-pay jobs and in a narrower range of occupations than are men. Women's wages are typically only 60-70 percent of wages earned by men.

• Whether in private sector employment or public sector decisionmaking, women are less likely to be in positions of responsibility than are men.


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