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Under-representation of women in power remains the norm, UN says

UN says women in power are underrepresented
UN says women in power are underrepresented 00:58

United Nations – A report released Thursday by U.N. Women says "under-representation of women in power and decision-making is still the norm."

The executive director of the U.N. agency dedicated to the empowerment of women said that men account for 75% of parliamentarians and hold 73% of managerial positions globally. They account for 70% of climate negotiators, and almost all peace negotiators are men, she said. 

"Equality isn't just one quarter of the seats at the tables of power. But that's the current reality of women's representation," Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N Women and the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in the report.

The report, which highlights gender equality in areas including government and the workforce, says women between the ages of 25 and 34 are 25% more likely than men to live in extreme poverty. It says 31% of women and girls between 15 and 24 are not being educated, employed or trained in 2020, compared to 14% of men and boys in the same age range.

It says digital spaces "have opened up a new front in gender-based violence," and that one in 10 women in the European Union have reported experiencing cyber harassment since they were 15.

Some gains, though, have been made. More girls are in school than ever before and global maternal mortality rates, while still high, fell 38% between 2000 and 2017. 

"Today, a 15-year old girl in the developing world has more opportunities than ever before. Compared to previous generations, she is much less likely to live in extreme poverty, and has a better chance of growing up healthy and nourished," says the report. 

"Yet, she will still be fighting against the odds," because progress has been "incremental, uneven and insufficient," it says. 

U.N. Women is directing its focus, the report points out, on a new multi-generational campaign to improve women's rights and recommends that a continued focus must be to avoid what the agency, and the Secretary General, call a "pushback" on women's rights. The report says there has been a "damaging reversals of hard-won advances in women's rights and the broader development agenda."

Last week, the U.N. chief told students in a major address at The New School in New York City that "the state of women's rights remains dire" and violence against women, including murder, "is at epidemic levels."

There has been progress, Francoise Girard, president of the International Women's Health Coalition told CBS News, "There's been incredible progress in the last 25 years ... but there is real cause for concern."

"Women are leading the fight against authoritarianism and against the plundering of natural resources in their communities, and they're getting murdered for it," Girard said.

She said the gender pay gap around the world has not gone as far as they would have hoped: "It's clearly moving at a snail's pace, so there's plenty that needs to be done there for sure … at the current rate, what is it, 150 years before we have pay parity?"

Girard said young women have taken up the fight.

"Young women are just fierce and amazing…there's lots that's really disheartening for sure, but I also see so many great signs of progress and certainly of the determination of women."

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