Gender Inequality Facts & Figures

Only countries give women the same legal rights as men: Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden.

Pay & Benefits

When the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, the amount women were paid was 59 cents for every 1 dollar men were paid. Since then the wage gap has narrowed to .82 cents for every 1 dollar men are paid. This gap costs the average full time woman worker in the US between $700,000 to $2,000,000 over the course of her life. At this pace, it will take another 50 years to reach pay equity.

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In the U.S., the wage gap varies by other factors. For example, compared to every 1 dollar white, non-Hispanic men earn:
  • Asian-American women make $.90
  • African-American women earn $.62
  • Native American women earn $.57
  • Latinas earn $.54
  • And mothers make $.70 compared to fathers

At the current rate, it will take 202 years for women achieve equal pay.

Globally, women earn 73% of men’s average wages.

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In 2020 the U.S. ranked 53rd in the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index. (The top 5 countries are: Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Ireland).

World Economic Forum

In the U.S., men make 128% more than women do — even in fields where women are the majority of workers. For example, female pediatricians earn about 76% of what males do, or about $51,000 a year less on average.


In 1971, 40% of married women with children under age 18 were in the workforce. Currently it is about 76%.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

50% of the gender wage gap is due to women working in different occupations and sectors than men. Improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs can help close the wage gap and improve women’s economic security

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

One of the biggest differences between US society today and 50 years ago is the increase in the number of women in the paid workforce. But this change is not reflected in government policies. The US lags behind every other developed country in the world in recognizing the need for government to assist families in affording quality child care. Child care with an educational component has 2 basic benefits: it strengthens the safety net for low income working families and it adds to children’s human capital development.

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The US is the only developed country without paid maternity leave.

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Mothers with the same job as their childless female peers – with the same experience and education are paid an hourly wage that is 5% lower for each child they have.

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If women were paid the same rate as men, the poverty rate would be cut by 50%.

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Women are more than twice as likely than men to be contributing family workers. The share of women in informal employment in developing countries was 4.6% higher than that of men.

United Nations Women

There is a widening gap between the highest earning women and all other women.

Bread for the World

92% of childcare workers in the US are women.

Data USA

Child Care workers earn an average hourly wage of $9.40. This hourly pay rate translates to an average annual wage of $19,560. This which would be about $4,000 short of the federal poverty level for a family of 4.The median hourly pay rate is $8.94, which means half of the childcare workers in the daycare industry made more than $8.94 and half earned less.


Nearly 31% of childcare workers are women of color.

Data USA

Direct care workers for the elderly or disabled adults – another field dominated by women – are also one of the lowest paid workers in the US. Nearly 50% of these rely on safety net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “food stamps”)

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Women have a bigger stake than ever in the survival of unions and their continued ability to protect worker’s rights. At the time the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, women made up less than 20% of the union workforce in the country. By 2013, they were 46% of all union workers and if the current trend continues, they will become the majority by 2025.

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Women workers in unions earn 30% more than nonunion women. Union women workers in low wage occupations, such as childcare workers, make 24% or $2.75 per hour more than their non-union counterparts.

Belonging to a union reduces the gender gap by 50%.

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25% of mothers who have experienced homelessness reported leaving jobs or school due to lack of child care.

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With the same access to productive resources as men, women could increase yields on their farms by 20-30% and lift 150 million people out of hunger.

The United Nations


In 1920, when women gained the right to vote in the U.S., government spending on public health care increased dramatically, particularly on maternal health.

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Women in the U.S. consistently turn out to vote at higher rates than men. But they are significantly underrepresented as policy makers in government – particularly in the South.

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Compared to other high income countries, the U.S. has a much lower percentage of women elected to government office. Other high-income countries average 25% of women in national parliaments. Many countries, rich and poor, designate a specific share of seats for women in order to help ensure they are not isolated from political life but the US does not do this.

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Women, particularly women of color, are underrepresented in the types of jobs that typically lead to elective office, such as business ownership, military service and leadership and partnership in large law firms.

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The evidence shows that women who are elected to public office have different priorities and see very different results than their male counterparts. Women introduce many more bills on health care, education, and child care than men do.

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Women bear heavier debt burdens and use a greater share of their salaries to pay off education debt which inhibits them from running for office.

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There has been a 750% increase in number of women incarcerated in the U.S. since 1980.

Sentencing Project

Gender Violence

120 million girls around the world have experience sexual violence. 10% of girls under age 20 has been forced into sexual acts. They are also at higher risk for domestic violence and exploitation in the sex trade.

World Health Organization

Intimate partner violence affects 30% of women over a lifetime, and it is estimated that 13% of homicides globally involved intimate partners.


53% of homicide victims in Japan and Hong Kong are women, followed by South Korea with 52%.

U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Gender based violence has increased dramatically in parts of Central America and constitutes both one of the most compelling motivations to leave and one of the most frequent dangers encountered en route to the United States.

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

El Salvador and Honduras claim the 2 highest rates of female homicides in the world with 14.4 per 100,000 women in El Salvador and 10.9 per 100,000 women in Honduras. In addition, 90% of female homicides in Honduras go unresolved.

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

Women living in “deep poverty,” especially those who are young and have children, have the fewest options to “just leave the guy.”

Bread for the World

Every 10 minutes an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence.


Women make up 55% of forced laborers.

Solidarity Center

71% of people trapped in sex trafficking are women or girls.

The United Nations Sustainable Millennium Goals

Only 8 out of 31 countries in Europe have laws that state that sex without consent is rape.

“Honor Killings

“Honor killings” are murders of women by a family member for behavior deemed “shameful,” such as a relationship outside of marriage. There are approximately 5,000 “honor killings” internationally per year.

Honor Based Violence Awareness Network

There are 23-27 “honor killings” each year in the U.S. 91% of the victims are murdered for being “too Westernized,” and in incidents involving daughters 18 years or younger, a father is almost always involved.

U.S. Department of Justice

Water Collection

In Africa, 90% of the work of gathering water is done by women.

The United Nations

Women and girls often spend up to 6 hours a day fetching water.

The United Nations

According to one study, reducing the distance to a water source from 30 to 15 minutes increased girl’s school attendance by 12%

The United Nations

Involving women can increase the effectiveness of water projects 6-7%

The United Nations


The average cost of day care for 1 child is over $10,000 per year.



Women are 47% more likely to suffer severe injuries in car crashes because safety features are designed for men.

Financial Investment

The U.S. allocates about .01% of the federal budget on overseas ­­women’s health and child survival programs –including vaccines.


For every $1.00 invested in the education of a child under 3, can produce up to $9.00 in future productivity gains.

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

Investments can triple a girl’s lifetime income and increase a nation’s economic growth.

The United Nations


Women who had a male twin were 15% less likely to graduate from high school, 4% less likely to finish college, and 11% less likely to be married —compared with women with a twin sister. They also had 6% fewer children and earned 9% less money.

58% of girls around the world attend secondary school, compared to 62% of boys. Girls in conflict zones are 2.5 times more likely than boys to drop out.

World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index

34 million girls do not attend primary school. Girls usually have to overcome multiple hurdles to access the same learning opportunities as boys.

The United Nations

Every additional year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 – 20%, and an extra year of secondary school by 15 – 25%.


Girls with no education are 3 times as likely to marry by 18 as those with a secondary or higher education. Over 60% of women (ages 20-24) with no education were married before age 18.

Girls Not Brides

16 million girls between ages 6 and 11 will never start school. This is double the number of boys.

The United Nations

Leading causes of adolescent girls’ deaths are maternal conditions, self-harm and road injury.

World Health Organization

An adolescent girl dies from violence every 10 minutes.

The United Nations Population Fund

58% of all 10 year girls live in countries with high levels of gender inequality.

The United Nations Population Fund

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Across at least 30 countries, more than 200 million girls and women have been subjected to female genital mutilation. About 44 million of the survivors are younger than 15. Worldwide, more than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk every year of being subjected to the procedure.


Over 500,000 girls and women in the U.S have undergone or are at risk of genital mutilation. 33% of these are are under the age of 18.


In 1996 performing female genital mutilation on anyone under age 18 became a felony in the United States with the passage of the Female Genital Mutilation Act. However in 2018, this act was struck down as unconstitutional by a US federal district court, arguing that the federal government did not have authority to enact legislation outside the “Interstate commerce” clause.


15 states have not enacted laws against female genital mutilation.

The Aha Foundation

Child Marriage

Child marriage is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.” The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) states that women should have the same right as men to “freely choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent”, and that the “betrothal and marriage of a child shall have no legal effect.”

United Nations Population Fund

Globally, over 650 million (20%) women & girls around the world were married before their 18th birthday. In the U.S., child marriage occurs as well — the majority of states have exceptions in law that allows children to marry before the age of 18.


8% of child brides are under age 15. Child brides face a higher risk of domestic violence and girls under 16 face higher maternal mortality rates.


47,000 girls under 18 are at risk of child marriage in developing countries, every day.

Approximately 12 million girls aged 15–19 years and at least 777,000 girls under 15 years give birth each year in developing regions.

World Health Organization

Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15–19-year-old girls globally.

World Health Organization

Ending child marriage will help break the inter-generational cycle of poverty by allowing girls and women
to participate more fully in society. Empowered and educated girls are better able to nourish and care for
their children, leading to healthier, smaller families.


Obstetric Fistulas

Obstetric fistulas are abnormal openings between the bladder and the vagina or rectum, through which urine or feces flows uncontrollably. They often occur to women as a result of obstructed labor/obstructed transport without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment.

2 million women live with fistula world wide and 50,000-100,000 develop a fistula each year.

Common social implications of fistulas include divorce, isolation, abandonment by society, inability to participate in normal activities and an increase in poverty.

Fistulas are almost entirely preventable and treatable.

World Health Organization

For every 1 female film character, there are 2.24 male characters.