Empowering women and girls to reach their full potential requires that they have equal opportunities to those of men and boys. This means eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against them, including violence by intimate partners, sexual violence and harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
Despite much progress toward gender equality half of women are economically active, compared with over three-quarters of men.
Empowering women’s economic opportunities
Legal frameworks that protect men and women equally are an important first step toward gender equality, but discriminatory laws persist. Around 60 percent of countries lack legislation that ensures equal opportunities in hiring practices, requires equal remuneration for work of equal value, or allows women to perform the same jobs as men. While almost all countries mandate maternity leave, almost half do not guarantee mothers an equivalent position on their return, discriminating against women who become pregnant and want to come back to work after the birth of a child (figure 5a).