Graphic: Gordon Johnson/Pixabay
Graphic: Gordon Johnson/Pixabay

UN report finds that 90 percent of people are sexist

By Lauren Theisen/New York Daily News Time of article published Mar 6, 2020

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New York - Nearly nine in 10 people worldwide hold some form of gender bias, a new report from the United Nations Development Programme has found.

In a survey that included people from 75 countries, the UNDP found that progress toward gender equality has essentially stalled out over the past decade, after consistent progress over the previous century.

The survey, published Thursday, looked for gender bias across seven statements that respondents could either agree or disagree with on a sliding scale. Statements ranged from political assertions like "Men make better political leaders than women do" and economic statements like "Men should have more right to a job than women" to queries involving reproductive rights and intimate partner violence.

According to the report, only 13.9 per cent of women and 9.4 per cent of men showed no bias on all seven indicators, while everyone else showed bias on at least one and in most cases more. Nearly half of those polled believed men were better political leaders, while more than 40 per cent thought they were better business executives. Disturbingly, 28 per cent believed a man could be justified in beating his wife, according to the UN report.

The results, the UNDP says, shine a light on what they call "power gaps" and how they continue in our society. For example, fewer than 6 per cent of CEOs in S&P 500 companies are women. Additionally, only 24 per cent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and out of 193 member states, only 10 heads of government are female, despite the fact that men and women vote at roughly equal rates.

"The work that has been so effective in ensuring an end to gaps in health or education must now evolve to address something far more challenging: a deeply ingrained bias - among both men and women - against genuine equality," said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.

According to the organization's Gender Inequality Index, which is a measure of women's empowerment in health, education and economic status, progress toward resolving these inequalities has slowed in recent years. In the 20th century, women around the world won basic rights, including the right to vote and get an education, but in the 21st century, current trends show that disparities in economic power and political representation won't be fixed anytime soon.

"We have come a long way in recent decades to ensure that women have the same access to life's basic needs as men", said the head of UNDP's Human Development Report Office, Pedro Conceicao. "(But) gender gaps are still all too obvious in other areas, particularly those that challenge power relations and are most influential in actually achieving true equality."

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