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Inequality and failure to protect the rights of poorest women could undermine peace and world’s development goals, the 2017 State of World Population report warns

22 October 2017

According to the State of World Population report published in London, on 17 October, only about half of the world’s women hold paid jobs, globally, women earn 77 per cent of what men get and three in five women worldwide lack maternity leave, many pay "motherhood penalty".

Unless inequality is urgently tackled and the poorest women empowered to make their own decisions about their lives, countries could face unrest and threats to peace and development, this new UNFPA report says.

The costs of inequalities, including in sexual and reproductive health and rights, could extend to the entire global community’s goals, adds the report, entitled, “Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights in an Age of Inequality.”

Failure to provide reproductive health services, including family planning, to the poorest women can weaken economies and sabotage progress towards the number one sustainable development goal, to eliminate poverty.

Economic inequality reinforces and is reinforced by other inequalities, including those in women’s health, where only a privileged few are able to control their fertility, and, as a result, can develop skills, enter the paid labour force and gain economic power.

“Inequality in countries today is not only about the haves and have nots,” UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem says. “Inequality is increasingly about the cans and cannots. Poor women who lack the means to make their own decisions about family size or who are in poor health because of inadequate reproductive health care dominate the ranks of the cannots.”

See the Press release on : http://www.unfpa.org/press/state-world-population-2017