Holding Up Half the Sky?

The …In Shanghai blog looks at a recent UNDP report titled, “Power, Voice and Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific,” which reports that 96 million and girls are “missing” from the Asian continent:

In terms of China, research published last year in the BMJ also showed that this imbalance peaks in rural areas, and will continue be affected since women are ‘marrying out’ into cities. UCL’s Therese Hesketh, one of the paper’s co-authors, told The Guardian,

In the past, migrants have tended to go back home to permanently settle. But women [now] are finding partners in urban areas and not going back. Men are unable to do that. Urban women will not marry a migrant man; men can’t marry up.

Besides this imbalance, the report also revealed how women’s access to health, education and employment, their political participation and protection from violence are dire in South Asia in particular. The report said,

Nearly half of the countries in South Asia, and more than 60 percent of those in the Pacific, have no laws against domestic violence. Nor are there many provisions against sexual harassment in workplaces, though 30 to 40 percent of working women report experiencing verbal, physical or sexual abuse.

But, highlighting the merits of East Asia, a piece by Ananth Krishnan in The Hindu today proclaimed China’s achievements over India’s in improving the social and economic status of women.

Read the UNDP report here.



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