- Only 20% of Parliamentarians around the world are women, with the majority working in developed nations;
- The non-agricultural workforce in the Latin America and Caribbean region remains a male dominate workforce (56% men/44% women);
- 90% of the more systematic, persistent and injurious violence that is instrumental in the maintenance of power, is perpetrated by men.
- In 2006, the gender wage gap confirmed that men made 17.6% more than women. A 2012 study by the OECD confirms that Korea has the highest gender wage gap of all the OECD member countries, with a rate of 37% (Belgium has the lowest with a rate of 9%).
Given current statistics, it would seem that the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG3), which seeks to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women by 2015, will not be reached. Indeed, the World Health Organization confirms that every day, approximately 800 women continue to die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of all maternal deaths in fact occur in developing countries.
In the concluding report of the Rio +20 Summit to the UN Secretary-General, entitled “Realizing the Future We Want for All”, there was a strong call for the need for gender equality and women’s empowerment. This was reiterated several times during the negotiation sessions of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
Up-to-Date Outcomes of the SDG Negotiations
Although the final draft of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be presented to the United Nations General Assembly until September2014,, many proposals for inclusion in the draft SDGs have already been put forward by numerous UN Member States. Some of these proposals include:
- A stronger push to end violence against all women and girls;
- Enhanced decision-making and participation of women at all levels, within both public and private entities;
- A substantial increase in access to decent work, social protection, control of assets and income, and the redistribution/reduction of unpaid work;
- Improved and equal access to quality education at all levels as well as life-long learning;
- Enhanced sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Current Situation in Dominican Republic
According to the Latin American Bureau (LAB), a United Kingdom-based news agency, the Dominican Republic is still facing high levels of gender inequality. Approximately 15 years ago, the Dominican Republic implemented a law to defend women and girls from domestic violence. Although it was initially effective, the total number of domestic violence cases now continues to rise every year. 800 children per year are orphaned due to femicides. To put this figure into perspective, were it apportioned to the United States’ population, then the country would have 24,000 children orphaned per year due to femicides.
Additionally, according to the Statistics Department of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the National District in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, there were 8,316 official reports of gender violence recorded between January and September of 2008, yet only 17 convictions were secured.
GFDD is an active contributor to the empowerment of women through its initiatives. The ReCrearte Program (www.r3crearte.org) was launched in 2013 following the success of Bertha Santana’s Recycled Art workshop during the second edition of the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) in 2012. The main objectives of the program are to raise awareness for environmental issues among Dominicans, while at the same time enhancing the protection of the planet and its natural resources through the promotion of the three golden rules of proper waste management: reduce, reuse and recycle. Via this system of proper waste management, the program seeks to empower women, youth and children by launching a unique recycling scheme that can become a source of income and entrepreneurship for individuals and communities.
Questions for the Reader:
- How has gender inequality affected your life and/or community?
- What changes would you like to see?