Gender day 3 – Gender in our societies

Here we are in the middle of this week dedicated to gender. Today we invite you to better understand gender-related social issues with the following resources and information.



Subtitles in French and English




Wage inequalities between women and men persist.

According to the World Economic Forum, the global pay gap between men and women is so large, and changing so slowly, that it will take 202 years for women to earn the same as men. Currently women – globally – earn 63% of what men do. Women in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq have the largest difference compared to their male counterparts, with women earning only 30% of the wages that men earn. While there have been some increases in pay for women over the past year, challenges remain for women in the workplace, in terms of levels of education, recruitment, promoting women’s participation in employment, health care policies, etc.

Parental leave, still unequal.

Out of 193 countries in the United Nations, only a small handful still do not have a national paid maternal leave law, including New Guinea, Suriname, and the United States. According to the ILO, “currently, 119 countries meet the ILO standard of 12 weeks, with 62 of those countries providing for 14 weeks or more. Just 31 countries mandate a maternity leave of less than 12 weeks”.
However, when it comes to paternity leave specifically, six OECD countries provide no paid father-specific leave at all, and 15 offer two weeks or less.

In France for example, employed women are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave, while men have been entitled to 11 consecutive days of childcare or paternity leave since 2002. Today, 2/3 of men take this paternity leave.

The short duration of paternity and childcare leave contributes to certain gender stereotypes and roles, which attribute care of newborns and domestic tasks to women. Indeed, during the first months of a child’s life, women not only take care of their babies, but also, by staying at home, often take care of all domestic tasks. And it is a habit that remains, even after returning to work: for example in France in 2010, women living in couples with at least one child spent 34 hours a week in domestic work compared to 18 hours for men in the same situation. (INSEE and Ministry of Families, Children and Women’s Rights, Key Figures 2016 edition). Proposing a longer paternity leave would improve family organization and reduce women’s workload.
(Source : ILO, INSEE)

Understanding masculinity.

Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with boys and men. As a social construct, it is distinct from the definition of the male biological sex. Standards of manliness or masculinity vary across different cultures and historical periods.
Men both benefit from and are negatively impacted and limited by ideas and beliefs about manhood.

Toxic masculinity is thus defined by adherence to traditional male gender roles that restrict the kinds of emotions allowable for boys and men to express, including social expectations that men seek to be dominant (the “alpha male”) and limit their emotional range primarily to expressions of anger.

Here are some examples of stereotypes that men are subject to:

  • Authority, strength and virility: softness and fragility are typically associated with femininity, while courage, strength and power are assigned to men. A gentle, sensitive man can thus be rejected by certain codes of our society.
  • Public life: gender studies have shown that domestic space is associated with femininity and conversely, public space is associated with masculinity (politics, sport, etc.). Men who choose to stay home to care for their children or who want to spend more time with their families, leave work earlier or take paternity leave are sometimes misunderstood.

Gender equality is everyone’s responsibility and it is important that men use their power in a positive way and that as an organization we work with them to make a impactful change, as men continue to be in the majority of leadership, decision-making and resource-allocating positions in governments and households around the world.
(Source : Gender Unit)



The number of femicides is increasing.

According to UNODC, “a total of 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017. More than half of them (58% – 50 000) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day.

More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner ̶ someone they would normally expect to trust. Based on revised data, the estimated number of women killed by intimate partners or family members in 2012 was 48,000 (47 per cent of all female homicide victims). The annual number of female deaths worldwide resulting from intimate partner/family-related homicide therefore seems be on the increase. More than two thirds of all women (69 per cent) killed in Africa in 2017 were killed by intimate partners or family members, while more than a third (38 per cent) of women were killed by intimate partners or family members in Europe.

Although women and girls account for a far smaller share of total homicides than men globally, they bear by far the greatest burden of intimate partner/family-related homicide (64% of victims of homicides perpetrated by an intimate partner or family member were women), and intimate partner homicide (82% of victims of homicides perpetrated by an intimate partner were women, with men accounting for only 18% of victims), as a result of gender stereotypes and inequality. Many of the victims of “femicide” are killed by their current and former partners, but they are also killed by fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and other family members because of their role and status as women.

Tangible progress in both protecting and saving the lives of female victims of intimate partner/family related homicide has not been made in recent years, despite the many programs developed to eradicate violence against women and the amount of legislation adopted.

The killing of women by their partner is often the culmination of long-term violence and can be prevented. Local, national and international institutions need to scale up their efforts to help and protect women who fall victim to such violence. The development and effective implementation of national strategies to combat gender-based violence and legislation to address domestic violence, sexual harassment and marital rape can provide the tools to build a protective system and can ensure that there is no impunity for such crimes.”




Fluidity of gender identities and sexualities.

The term fluidity refers to all those who do not recognize themselves in the binary categorization of female and male gender. These people born with a female or male sex don’t want to be assigned gender stereotypes and roles (character traits, behaviour, clothing, tastes…) associated with the female and male gender. Similarly, for sexualities, the heterosexual norm does not apply to a number of people, who adopt other sexual orientations.

The I of LGBTI – People born intersex.

1.7% of the world’s population is born with sexual characteristics that do not correspond to traditional binary definitions of the male or female body. Intersexuation refers to many natural variations that affect the genitals, gonads, hormones, chromosomes or reproductive organs. These characteristics may be visible at birth, appear only at puberty, or may not be physically apparent at all.

Many intersex children undergo surgical interventions and hormone treatments from an early age to “normalize” them, to conform them to our society’s idea of what a girl or a boy “should” look like. Interventions on intersex children can lead to major problems, including infertility, pain, nerve damage, scarring, lifelong hormone treatment, incontinence and psychological suffering throughout life. These operations, both surgical and hormonal, are performed on people whose health and life are not at stake. They are often carried out on children too young to participate effectively in decision-making about their own bodies, and their parents are often not properly informed of the risks involved. (Amnesty International)



Complete report available here and infographics available here.




Subtitles in French and English




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Section: Uncategorized
Thematic Area: Gender
Location: Global
Language: English

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