International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate women and their many accomplishments, but also shine a light on the deep gender gap that persists in every corner of the globe. That’s why the theme for 2016 is gender parity, and the pressing need to affect change in the many, many places around the globe where forward momentum has stalled or stopped altogether.
Because the stark fact is that women lag behind men in just about every aspect of equality, from restrictive social and cultural norms, to important economic and political measures. And no country is immune.
Here are seven charts that show why being a woman in 2016 is an occasion for celebration, and for outrage:
Women In Politics
Women are chronically underrepresented in politics, which means far too few have the power to create laws and policies that shape daily life. When women have equitable political power, conversations about women’s rights take on a different tone, and sexism in laws and government is more likely to get called out. As Senator Elizabeth Warren has said, "If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu."
Women's Economic Security
When women work, economies grow. And when women have the power to save and manage their earnings, they have much more agency in their own lives. Empowering women economically means valuing the work women already do, and giving them the opportunities they need to expand their role in the global workforce.
Despite the fact that maternal deaths are largely preventable, thousands upon thousands of women die every year delivering babies, largely in developing countries. At the same time, teenage childbearing remains startlingly high, which has negative effects on young women, their families and on broader society. As the World Health Organization has said: "While motherhood is often a positive and fulfilling experience, for too many women it is associated with suffering, ill health and even death."