Posted by: mulrickillion | October 10, 2011

Asia’s Women Catching Up

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This is equality?

Asia Sentinel, 19 September 2011 —

But World Bank reports there’s a long way to go, Muslim women mostly falling behind

Women still get a raw deal in many parts of the world. But, suggests a World Bank report, they have been gaining ground very rapidly overall – to the point where men may be feeling their assumed roles seriously threatened. However, many countries still have a long, long way to go before equality by measures such as income, educational opportunities and inheritance rights is even close.

Needless to say, the report does not actually say so but a high proportion of the laggards relative to their income levels are Muslim. For instance Pakistan and Egypt stand out for their abysmal failings in women’s education and the whole Middle East-North Africa region exhibits a high degree on inequality in inheritance rights, an often-forgotten key element in women’s ability to exercise power equal to their numbers. However, there are standouts such as Bangladesh where female school attendance rates are almost twice the level of its former, and richer, master Pakistan. More than that, Bangla girls stay longer in school than boys.

Taking the world as a whole, life expectancy among women has risen more sharply than among men. Indeed there is no country now where male life expectancy is more than that of women. A key reason has been the decline in maternal mortality almost everywhere. Nonetheless not only is it still appallingly high in sub-Saharan Africa but in India, which is no less than six times that of Sri Lanka. Indeed, Sri Lanka and Malaysia are both held out as examples to follow.

China stands out in employment for women – as does Cambodia — and in most countries employment of woman has advanced even if much of it is often irregular self-employment. Contributing factors to gains include globalization, which has brought women-intensive industries to low income countries and most recently the impact of mobile phones. In many developing countries mobile phone usage is almost as high am among women as men and has created new earning opportunities.

China may be tops in many things but is near bottom of the world league in terms of gender imbalance at birth. In 2008 China was short almost 1.1 million female births, two thirds of the global total. India was a mere 257,000 short – though still comparing very unfavorably with its South Asian neighbors. India also show an extraordinarily high rate relative mortality of girls under 5, a nasty characteristic not found in China or elsewhere East Asia. The implication is that while abortion of female fetuses is the main problem in China, neglect of young females is a major one in India.

The report also comes up with some data which may seem surprising. . . .

Asia Sentinel – Asia’s Women Catching Up

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