Twenty years ago, representatives of 189 countries convened in China to hammer out the Beijing Declaration—the most comprehensive road map ever drafted to promote women’s rights around the world. Starting March 9 and for the next two weeks, delegates from almost all of those countries are gathering again, this time at the United Nations in New York, to assess just how far women have really come since then. (Spoiler alert: not far enough.)
Exactly how far are we from meeting these goals? Researchers at UCLA’s World Policy Analysis Center have boiled down reams of data into five global maps to help answer that question as part of their new report, Closing the Gender Gap. (Their work was funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also funds Take Part World.) They found that in more than 170 countries, women’s and girls’ freedom and social mobility are restricted in areas from education to employment. Some of that legal discrimination exists right here in the United States.
Bleak as these findings seem, the report notes that most areas are seeing some progress. Recent landmark cases have served up justice for women, and Emma Watson recently spread the word about the “He for She” campaign on International Women’s Day. As U.N. Women, the organization’s gender equality branch, puts it, “From the political to the economic spheres, progress has been made, but not enough.”