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Gender equality: what do the data show in 2016?

Eliana Rubiano-Matulevich's picture

This is part of a series of blogs focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and data from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Disparities between men and women are fewer + smaller than 20 years ago, but critical gaps remain

We have seen significant progress in closing gender gaps over the last two decades, especially in education and health. Most countries have reduced disparities between girls and boys in enrollment and completion of primary school, and in transition to secondary school.  And both women and men are living longer and healthier lives. But critical gaps persist: Women have limited access to economic opportunities, and their ability to make decisions about their lives and act on them—their agency —is restricted in many ways.

Hurdles to gender equality

These gaps are related to entrenched social norms and biases that constrain women and girls and prevent them from fulfilling their potential. In many economies, women face legal provisions that restrict their capacity to access opportunities—these include requirements that they obtain a husband’s permission or produce additional documentation to open a bank account in their own name. Persistent gender-based violence is pervasive and reflects the imbalance of power relations in the household and society more generally. Women’s responsibility for family care and household chores, which is necessary for social reproduction, restricts the time they can spend on paid work and disadvantages men.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 seeks to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” and represents an opportunity to tackle structural constraints and shift social norms, which would potentially enable permanent pathways out of poverty and achieve the gender equality targets of the 2030 agenda.

Shifting entrenched norms isn’t easy. A key step in this process is to create an enabling environment by changing legal frameworks. Countries have taken important steps in enacting laws to protect women from harmful practices: In 2016, 137 countries have laws on domestic violence and 149 countries prohibit or void child marriage. On the other hand, many economies still have legal differences affecting women’s economic opportunities. Almost 60 percent of the 188 countries for which data are available lack legal frameworks that mandate equal opportunities in hiring practices, equal pay for equal work, or allow women to perform the same jobs as men.

Protecting life on land to protect the poor

Mahyar Eshragh Tabary's picture

This is part of a series of blogs focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and data from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Forests cover 30 percent of the Earth's land but around 13 million hectares vanish each year, despite efforts to protect them. Between 1990 and 2015 the world lost more than 129 million hectares—over 3 percent of its forest area. Despite efforts to protect forests, natural habitats and biodiversity, the impact of of human activity on the environment continues to affect the world’s poorest communities and deforestation, desertification and the loss of biodiversity all pose major challenges. Sustainable Development Goal 15 looks to “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss".

Troubled waters: ensuring sustainable fishing and healthy oceans

Randall Brummett's picture

This is part of a series of blogs focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and data from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Fish is the main animal protein for more than 1 billion people. Average worldwide fish consumption is about 20 kilograms per person per year. Marine resources are essential to the food security of much of the world’s population and Sustainable Development Goal 14 looks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Monitoring progress toward this goal is paramount but raises substantial challenges.

The world now farms more fish than it catches 

Capture fisheries have dominated the seafood market until recently. Since the 1980s there has been a rise in aquaculture (fish, shellfish and seaweed farming), which now accounts for more than half of all seafood production. Countries in East Asia dominate capture fisheries and aquaculture production and together account for over 90 percent of global output.

Chart: 1 in 3 Companies Constrained by Corruption

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Interviews with managers and business owners in more than 130,000 firms across 135 economies found that 1 in 3 companies identify corruption as a major constraint to operating their establishments. Almost a fifth of firms are expected to give gifts to public officials in order to "get things done.” Read more about the World Bank Group's Enterprise Surveys.

Sustainable development and the demand for energy

Mahyar Eshragh Tabary's picture

This is part of a series of blogs focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and data from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Between 1990 and 2013 worldwide energy use increased by about 54 percent, more than the 36 percent increase in the global population. Access to energy is fundamental to development, but as economies evolve, rising incomes and growing populations demand more energy.  Sustainable Development Goal 7 seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and achieving this will require increasing access to electricity, the take-up of clean fuels and renewable energies, and energy efficiency.

The World Bank is again in the top 10 of the Aid Transparency Index

Stefan Koeberle's picture

Image from the 2016 Aid Transparency Index

On April 13, 2016, Publish What You Fund (PWYF) launched the 2016 Aid Transparency Index (ATI), a broadly recognized measure of donors’ aid transparency. We were pleased to see that for the second consecutive year the World Bank (IDA) is in the top (“very good”) category— this year as number 6 on the list, with a score of 86. So, we are among the only 10 donors that, according to PWYF, have lived up to the Busan commitment on aid transparency.

Of course, we are proud of our standing. At the same time, it is worth noting that the ATI to a very high degree measures the publication of machine-readable data in compliance with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard, while other aspects of transparency have hardly any weight in the index.

Transparency is a priority for the World Bank. Since the launch of our Access to Information Policy in 2010 we have not looked back; the just-released World Bank Group Access to Information Annual Report and 5-Year Retrospective makes this clear. The World Bank joined IATI when it was launched in 2008, and we published our first IATI data in 2011, but publication of IATI data is just a small part of our efforts to be an open institution. Detailed information on Bank supported projects, including procurement data, is available from the projects and operations database; we were among the first to map projects; details on financial transactions are available at the portal for open financial data; and the open data platform gives access to thousands of development indicators.

Chart: How Do Asia's Apparel Exporters Compare?

Tariq Khokhar's picture

China remains the world’s largest apparel exporter, but apparel as a share of its total exports has been falling. The "Stitches to Riches" report finds that countries in South Asia have an opportunity to grow their apparel exports, creating much-needed jobs, especially for women.

How do Causes of Death Vary Between Men and Women?

Dereje Ketema Wolde's picture

This is part of a series of blogs focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and data from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Source: World Development Indicators and World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Estimates Note: Causes of death by communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions are grouped together by WHO.

As Emi Suzuki wrote last week, the causes and patterns of death rich and poor countires vary and they're changing.  But what about the gender dimension? 

Women can expect to live longer than men in almost every country of the world. Globally, women's life expectancy remains about 3 years longer than men's, and you see the data for different countries in the interactive chart below:

Chart: Globally, Over 8 in 10 Children Have Measles Immunizations

Tariq Khokhar's picture

According to the World Health Organization, about 85% of the world's children received a measles vaccine by their first birthday in 2014 - up from 73% in 2000. Between 2000 and 2014, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 17.1 million deaths making it one of the "best buys" in public health.

Are people living longer, healthier lives?

Emi Suzuki's picture

This is part of a series of blogs focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and data from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators.

The incidence and patterns of serious diseases in rich and poor countries differ and they’re changing.  In low-income countries more than half the population dies from communicable diseases, or maternal, prenatal, or nutrition conditions. In middle- and high-income countries more than two-thirds die from noncommunicable diseases.  However, as health care and targeted medicine in poorer countries improve, the incidence of diseases such as malaria and HIV are starting to fall, whilst deaths due to heart attacks and strokes are on the increase.

Sustainable Development Goal 3 looks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. One of its aims is to reduce deaths and adverse consequences of non-communicable diseases and injuries—for example, by halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020. Traffic injuries caused 27 deaths per 100,000 people in low-income countries in 2013, three times more than in high-income countries. Rates in middle-income countries are also high.