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10.3% of women globally live in extreme poverty and are poorer than men

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10.3% of women globally live in extreme poverty and are poorer than men

Currently, 10.3% of women globally live in extreme poverty, and are poorer than men. Progress towards eradicating poverty must be 26 times faster to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Gender equality is fundamental to the achievement of human rights and is an aspiration that benefits all of society, including girls and women. The universal advantages of gender equality have been well-documented, and several international frameworks have affirmed its centrality to human rights and sustainable development. However, despite the promise of equality, progress towards it has been slow, fragile, incremental, and reversible, and in every region of the world, girls and women are still more likely to be poor, illiterate, hungry, and unhealthy, underrepresented in leadership positions, legally constrained, politically marginalized, and endangered by violence.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), established by the UN in 1946, is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The UNCSW provides a unique opportunity for coalition-building with other trade unions and progressive organizations, and for influencing global policies on gender equality. The 68th session of the CSW, taking place from 11-22 March 2024, focused on accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

The Commission recognized with deep concern that women and girls experience higher poverty risks and rates than men and boys and that the gender-poverty gap is projected to persist, acknowledging that currently, 10.3% of women are living in extreme poverty, and an estimated 88 of women worldwide (342 million) will be subsisting on less than USD $2.15 a day in 2030, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, if current trends continue.

Concerns were also expressed about unequal pace of social and economic development and the structural and systemic barriers undermining women’s and girls’ ability to securely access equitable and quality education, especially in developing countries, including the least developed countries, and small island developing States and African countries.

The Commission also recognized the significant contribution of women and girls of African descent to the development of societies, and the importance of ensuring the full, equal and meaningful participation and decision-making of women of African descent in all aspects of society, including by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

As emphasized by the Commission, the impact of poverty should be examined on different groups of women and girls, including those facing various forms of discrimination, including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced, and migrants, women and girls of African descent, those belonging to national or ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities.

Finally, the Commission emphasizes that measures should be adopted, and legislation and policies need to be developed to provide all women and girls, including women of African descent, with the support required in different dimensions.


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