Cuts harm gender equality

LONDON – Spending cuts are hurting public and social services that give women the chance to find paid work, independence and a chance at equality, a UN report has warned.

The United Nations’ organisation for gender equality, UN Women, said in a major study published on Monday that millions of women around the world are still consigned to low-paid, poor quality jobs.

Across the world, the report reveals that women are paid 24 per cent less than men, and this gender pay gap widens for women with children.

“From Wall Street to the sugarcane fields, the gender norms that work against women are strong,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women.

One major problem is that women still carry the burden of work in the home, whether it is caring for children or older people or walking kilometres each day to fetch water.

The report noted how the extension of childcare, maternity and paternity leave helped women into employment, which in turn gave them and their families a chance at a better life.

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