Womankind Worldwide > About Us > Why women? > Inequality statistics

Inequality statistics

Women at a self help group meeting in Ethiopia

Why do we fight for women’s rights?

In the face of statistics like these, how could we not?

Read them yourself then find out what we are doing to make a fairer future for women.


For facts and figures about women’s rights in the different places that we work in – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – visit Where We Work and choose a country.

Violence against women and girls

  • Violence causes more death and disability worldwide amongst women aged 15-44 than war, cancer, malaria and traffic accidents (World Bank Study World Development Report: Investing in Health, New York, Oxford University Press, 1993.)
  • Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least 1 in 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her (General Assembly. In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women: Report of the Secretary General, 2006. A/61/122/Add.1. 6 July 2006)

Violence against women and girls in armed conflict

  • In modern conflict almost 90% of casualties are civilians, most of whom are women and children (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1999, SIPRI, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 2)
  • In Rwanda, up to half a million women were raped during the 1994 genocide.
  • Up to 60,000 women were raped in the war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
  • In Sierra Leone, the number of incidents of war-related sexual violence among internally displaced women from 1991 to 2001 was as high as 64,000 (Vlachova, Biason. Women in an Insecure World. Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. 2005). Free resources

Women’s civil and political participation

  • Globally, women make up just 17% of parliamentarians (UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2007, UNICEF, New York: 2006, p.56)

Lack of resources for women

  • Since 2003, only 3.8% of overseas development aid has been allocated to gender equality. (Brian Tomlinson, World Aid Trends: Donors Distorting the Reality of Aid in 2008, in Chapter 5, World Aid Trans and OECD Reports PDF)
  • Less than 8% of actual budgets for Post-conflict Needs assessments (PCNAs) addressed women’s needs. (UNIFEM)
  • UNIFEM analysed five countries’ poverty reduction strategies in 2009, and found that women’s rights and priorities were hardly considered, especially in their budgets.

Women’s health

  • WHO studies in Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa show that women who have experienced violence are three times more likely to be at risk from HIV infection. (Source: World Health Organisation briefing)

Women and girls’ education

  • Globally, 10 million more girls are out of school than boys (Calculated from data contained in the UN’s The Millennium Development Goals report 2007, New York: 2007, p11)
  • 41 million girls worldwide are still denied a primary education. (UNESCO, Education for all: Global monitoring report 2008, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 2007, p184.)
  • Women account for nearly two thirds of the world’s 780 million people who cannot read. (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Adult Literacy Rates and Illiterate Population by Region and Gender,” 2006)

Women and poverty

  • Women produce up to 80% of food in developing countries, but are more likely to be hungry than men, and are often denied the right to own land (Food and Agriculture Organization, The feminisation of hunger what do the surveys tell us?2001, and The state of food insecurity in the world 2005, Rome: 2005, p17)

If you find these statistics as shocking as we do, please consider making a donation to support our work.