More than half of the population holds the belief that men are more adept at assuming the role of competent political figures. Simultaneously, a quarter of men deem it acceptable to engage in physical violence against their spouses. These distressing findings raise apprehensions about the feasibility of establishing a society characterized by gender equality.
Taipei, Taiwan (ADH News) – Sustained and diligent efforts are still essential in practicing gender equality. The United Nations Development Program recently released the latest Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI), which shows that nearly 90% of the world’s population still holds a certain degree of prejudice against women. More than half of the population thinks that men are more capable of being better politicians than women. Only 27% of the population believes that women need to have the same democratic rights as men. Even a quarter of men believe that beating their wives is justified. It makes us worry about the realization of a gender-equal society.
The survey data covers 80 countries and regions around the world, covering 85% of the population. The study found that despite the prevalence of various feminist movements and the “MeToo” movement in recent years, gender bias has not improved significantly. Even after a decade of stagnation, discrimination against women is still high in some countries. Women’s social status is further reduced as they become the primary caregivers at home during COVID-19 or lose their jobs due to the economic downturn.
In terms of the right to education, 28% of people think that a college education is more important for men. This problem is very serious in Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban. The United Nations Development Program mentioned that women in Afghanistan today have been erased from the public sphere, and their rights to education and reproductive rights have been affected. Women are required to receive only 6 years of primary school education, are not allowed to enter higher education schools, and cannot appear in public places including parks. This can be said to be the most obvious regression of gender equality in the world.
In terms of the right to work, even though women’s education levels are now the highest in recent years, in the 59 countries where women’s education levels are higher than men’s, men still earn 39% more than women on average. 46% of people think that men should have more work rights, and 43% of the respondents think that men are more suitable for senior management. According to the survey data of the yes123 job search network in Taiwan in 2022, 57.7% of female workers believe that there is gender discrimination in the workplace, and gender discrimination in job hunting is as high as 66%. And women do suffer from unequal pay and questions about their ability to work.
Looking at reproductive rights, 58 percent think abortion is wrong. Taking Japan as an example, affected by patriarchal culture and traditional mother image, even though the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare approved oral abortion pills in May 2022, Japanese women still need the written consent of their partners or husbands to terminate their pregnancy. And abortion is expensive and must be performed in a hospital. In the United States, after Roe v Wade was overturned, many controversies arose. Take Ohio, for example, which enacted a “heartbeat bill” after abortion rights were overturned. As long as women are pregnant for more than six weeks, after measuring the heartbeat of the fetus, even involuntary pregnancy cannot terminate the pregnancy, which has caused serious social problems.
From the perspective of political participation and corporate management, since 1995, the proportion of female political leaders has remained at about 10%, and the proportion of female management positions in the labor market has been less than one-third. Nearly 69 percent still believe men make better political leaders. The United Nations suggests that women’s rights to participate in politics can be improved through bill promotion and policies, and education can also be used to change public perceptions, reduce differences, and improve women’s status.
Sima Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Women’s Organization, also mentioned the issue of the new generation of the digital divide. There are obvious differences in internet technology and online persecution between men and women. In 2022, more than 259 million men than women connected to the Internet globally, and more than 18% of men used smartphones than women. And in the survey, it was found that three-quarters of female journalists suffered cyber violence at work.
What is worried is the perception of relationship violence. One-quarter of men think it is normal to beat their wives. This is unacceptable to many people, especially women, then we could find a huge difference in this issue. Pedro Conceição, Director of the Human Development Report Office of the UNDP, was shocked and worried by the results of the report. He believed that gender social norms had not only made no progress but even showed a crisis of regression. The Human Development Index has declined for two consecutive years since 2020.
According to the current situation, the world will not be able to achieve the goal of gender equality by 2030. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that gender equality could be 300 years away with current progress. Aroa Santiago, an economic and gender expert from the United Nations Development Program, suggested that everyone should try to reverse traditional gender prejudices and social norms and move towards changing the power relationship between men and women to move towards a gender-equal society.