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The state of the world's women 1985: World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women, Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, Kenya, July 15-26, 1985.
[Unpublished] 1985. 19 p.This report, based on results of a questionnaire completed by 121 national governments as well as independent research by UN agencies, assesses the status of the world's women at the end of the UN Decade for Women in the areas of the family, agriculture, industrialization, health, education, and politics. Women are estimated to perform 2/3 of the world's work, receive 1/10 of its income and own less than 1/100 of its property. The findings revealed that women do almost all the world's domestic work, which combined with their additional work outside the home means that most women work a double day. Women grow about 1/2 the world's food but own very little land, have difficulty obtaining credit, and are overlooked by agricultural advisors and projects. Women constitute 1/3 of the world's official labor force but are concentrated in the lowest paid occupations and are more vulnerable to unemployment than men. Although there are signs that the wage gap is closing slightly, women still earn less than 3/4 of the wage of men doing similar work. Women provide more health care than do health services, and have been major beneficiaries of the global shift in priorities to primary health care. The average number of children desired by the world's women has dropped from 6 to 4 in 1 generation. Although a school enrollment boom is closing the gap between the sexes, women illiterates outnumber men by 3 to 2. 90% of countries now have organizations promoting the advancement of women, but women are still greatly underrepresented in national decision making because of their poorer educations, lack of confidence, and greater workload. The results repeatedly point to the major underlying cause of women's inequality: their domestic role of wife and mother, which consumes about 1/2 of their time and energy, is unpaid, and is undervalued. The emerging picture of the importance and magnitude of the roles women play in society has been reflected in growing concern for women among governments and the community at large, and is responsible for the positive achievements of the decade in better health care and more employment and educational opportunities. Equality for women will require that they have equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in every area of life.
Lexington, Massachusetts, Women's International Network News, 1982 Nov. 338 p.This report documents the existence and prevalence in Africa and in other regions of the world of the cultural practice of female circumcision and genital mutilation (FC/GM). This serious problem is examined so that it can be abolished. Until recently the problem was hidden from the public, and most health, government and international agency officials denied that the practices were widespread. In 1979 at a World Health Organization (WHO) seminar on traditional health practices, the problem received international attention. Recommendations made by the seminar participants urged nations to adopt policies to abolish FC/GM, to establish commissions to coordinate activities aimed at abolishing the practices, and to intensify efforts to educate the public and health professionals about the problem. In 1984 it was estimated that 79.97 million women in Africa had FC/GM operations performed at some time during their life. The proportion of women who have had FC/GM operations was almost 100% in Somalia, 90% in Ethiopia, 80% in Sudan, Mali, and Sierra Leone, and 60% in Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Gambia. Information is provided on 1) the extent of the practices, 2) the health problems associated with FC/GM, 3) the 1979 WHO seminar, 4) the history of FC/GM, and 5) the cultural beliefs supporting the practices. Case histories provide detailed information on the practices in 11 African countries, 4 countries on the Arab Pennisula, and 2 Asian countries, including Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Upper Volta, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The existence of FC/GM practices in many other countries, including Western nations, is also documented. These practices are also discussed in reference to the depressed status of women in many African countries, and the role of women in these countries is examined in regard to legal matters, education, employment, agriculture, family planning, development, and urbanization. Political factors hindering the abolition of the practices and the hesitancy of international agencies such as WHO, US Agency for International Development, and the UN Children's Fund, to deal with the problem are discussed. There is some evidence that FC/GM operations are being conducted in hospitals in a number of African countries, and efforts must be made to prohibit the introduction of these practices into the modern health care system. Suggestions are provided for action and education programs aimed at abolishing FC/GM practices. An annotated bibliograpy, containing 78 references, is also provided.