Women’s Welfare: The Facts

Gender based violence

Women around the world, especially those in less developed countries, face a daily struggle for equality and security. According to the United Nations, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual violence at the hands of another. 

Almost 750 million women and girls worldwide today were married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage is common in both West and Central Africa, where over 4 in 10 girls were married before age 18, and about 1 in 7 were married or in union before age 15. Children are our future, and deserve the right to make their own decisions, free from coercion. 

Adult women account for 51% of all human trafficking victims detected globally [1]. Women and girls together account for 71%, with girls representing nearly three out of every four trafficking victims - this is unacceptable. 

Economic empowerment

When more women work, and are able to sustain their own, independent livelihood, the poverty floor in the local community is proven to rise, by paving the way for the improvement of local services, child education and other advantages. Simply put, the economic empowerment of women is one of the tried and tested ways to break apart the poverty cycle.

According to the UN, “When more women work, economies grow. An increase in female labourforce participation—or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labourforce participation—results in faster economic growth.” Simply put, the economy benefits from having women in the workforce.

Evidence from a range of countries shows that increasing the share of household income controlled by women, either through their own earnings or cash transfers, changes spending in ways that benefit children.

Increasing women and girls’ education contributes to higher economic growth. Increased educational attainment accounts for about 50% of the economic growth in countries over the past 50 years, of which over half is due to girls having had access to higher levels of education and achieving greater equality in the number of years spent in education between men and women.[2].

Humanitarian Action

Within conflict zones and areas of disaster, women and girls are more vulnerable than men and boys, and suffer crisis differently.

Displacement causes a heightened risk because of the breakdown of support networks and protection structures that may have been in place in their own homes. According to the UN, over 70 % of women have experienced gender-based violence in certain crisis settings.

As of February 2017, 6.5 million Syrian people were displaced within the country and more than 4.9 million people were living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Approximately half of these refugees were women, leaving them vulnerable and at risk. 

As with all humanitarian emergencies, women and girls are among the most vulnerable. Women and girls face a significantly increased risk for unwanted pregnancy, gender-based violence, STIs and maternal mortality.


Access to education for women and girls remains a profound problem in developing countries according to UNESCO; 130 million girls between the age of 16 and 17 are out of school. In addition to this, 15 million girls of primary school age will never enter a classroom.

Poverty remains the most important factor in determining whether a girl can access an education. Girls who face multiple disadvantages created through poverty, such as low family income, and living in remote and underserviced areas are furthest behind in terms of access and completion of education, which enables the cycle to continue. 

Two thirds of the 774 million illiterate people on the planet are female. By committing to educating women and girls, we ensure that women are less likely to die in childbirth. Studies suggest 15% fewer child deaths worldwide could be achieved through more prevalent education in girls at a young age – and ensure more women can find stable, full-time work. 

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