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5 positive stories for World Population Day

Words by Tess Becker

July 11 is World Population Day and historically, it's a day to discuss and raise awareness of issues affecting people around the globe. Previous years focused on topics like “the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on fertility” and “Family Planning is a Human Right.” This year the theme is “Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world's infinite possibilities.”

Women and girls make up 49.7% of the global population, yet they are often ignored in discussions on demographics, with their rights violated in population policies. Those injustices keep them out of schools, underrepresented in the workforce and leadership positions, and limit their agency to make decisions about their health, sexual relationships and reproductive lives.

Women are at a higher risk of violence and medical malpractice such as preventable maternal death, with a woman dying every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth.

With all that in mind, the fight for gender equality continues, and here are a few wins in that fight. 

  1. A global study found that in places where there's gender equality, people tend to live longer.

“Globally, greater gender equality is associated with longer [life expectancy] for both women and men and a widening of the gender gap in [life expectancy],” the study concludes

  1. The World Economic Forum has reported that the global pay gap has closed, but only slightly.

They’ve kept track of the gender wage gap in over 100 countries since 2006, and since last year, the global gender gap improved reaching 68.4% closed, an improvement of 0.3 percentage points over the prior year.

  1. Girls and women are accessing education.

Not being able to read or write is a significant barrier to progress and sadly, women account for more than two-thirds of the world’s 773 million illiterate people. But thankfully, women are now getting educated at a higher rate. Between 2000 and 2018, the number of primary school-aged girls out of school fell by 44%, and by 2019 nearly two-thirds of countries had achieved gender parity in primary education.

  1. The number of child marriages is shrinking.

Each year, 12 million girls under the age of 18 are married. Globally, 1 in 5 women was married before their 18th birthday, down from 1 in 3 in the 1980s. This opens up the opportunity for young girls to direct their own lives as they see fit without as much outside intervention.

  1. Women are starting to make it big in business and are being more represented in leadership. 

In 2020, the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 hit an all-time record, with 37 of the companies being led by women compared to 33 in 2019. Now, that number has continued to grow to 52 female CEOs, representing a relatively rapid growth in the business sector. 

All that being said, everyone deserves to be seen, heard, and represented, and even though there’s progress being made we still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality.

Happy World Population Day!

This article aligns with the UN SDG Gender Equality.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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