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Examples of Gender InequalityThe fight for gender equality is an ongoing struggle for men and women throughout the world. Many aspects of gender inequality are events that men will never face, but that constantly shape women’s mental health and opportunities. Listed here are the top 10 examples of gender inequality found in the daily lives of women across the globe.

10 Examples of Gender Inequality

  1. Infant Life Expectancy: In India and China, the two most populous nations in the world, there is significant data that shows a survival disadvantage for girls under five years of age. In China, girls have a seven percent higher infant mortality rate than boys, and in India, a study conducted in the first decade of the 2000s found that the risk of death between the ages of one and five was 75 percent higher for girls than for boys.
  2. Access to Prenatal Care and Maternal Mortality: As of 2017, there are 1.6 billion women of reproductive age in the developing world. Of the 127 million women who gave birth in 2017, just 63 percent received a minimum of four antenatal care visits and only 72 percent gave birth in a health facility. Among women who experienced medical complications during pregnancy or delivery, only one in three received the care they or their newborns needed.

    In 2017, an estimated 308,000 women in developing nations died from pregnancy-related causes and 2.7 million babies died in their first month of life. Many of these deaths could have been prevented with full access to healthcare.
  3. Education: Less than 40 percent of countries offer girls and boys equal access to education and only 39 percent of countries have equal proportions of the sexes enrolled in secondary education. By achieving universal primary and secondary education attainability in the adult population, it could be possible to lift more than 420 million people out of poverty. This would have its greatest effect on women and girls who are the most likely to never have stepped foot inside a school.

    Even once girls are attending school, discrimination follows. One in four girls states that they never feel comfortable using school latrines. Girls are at greater risk of sexual violence, harassment and exploitation in school. School-related gender-based violence is another major obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls.
  4. Illiteracy: There are approximately 774 million illiterate adults in the world and two-thirds of them are women. There are approximately 123 million illiterate youths and 61 percent of them are girls. Women’s share in the illiterate population has not budged in 20 years. These facts not only affect women but their children as well. A child born to a mother with the ability to read is 50 percent more likely to survive past age five.
  5. Economic Independence: Increases in female labor force participation result in faster economic growth, but women continue to participate in labor markets on an unequal basis with men. In 2013, the male employment-to-population ratio was 72.2 percent compared to 47.1 percent for women, and women continue to earn only 60-75 percent of men’s wages globally. It is estimated that women’s income could increase globally up to 76 percent if the employment participation gap between men and women was closed, which could have a global value of $17 trillion.

    Women also carry a disproportionate amount of responsibility for unpaid care work. Women devote one to three hours more a day to housework than men, two to 10 times the amount of time a day to care (for children, elderly and the sick) and one to four hours less a day to income-based activities. The time given to these unpaid tasks directly and negatively impacts women’s participation in the workforce and their ability to foster economic independence.
  6. Violence Against Women, Sexual Assault and Rape: The mental health effects of sexual assault and rape can have jarring results on women’s stability and livelihoods. Women who have experienced sexual or physical abuse at the hands of their partners are twice as likely to have an abortion, almost twice as likely to have depression and, in some regions, 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV compared with women who have not experienced partner violence.

    The prevalence of sexual assault and violence against women is deep and systemic, making it one of the most important examples of gender inequality. Worldwide, around 120 million girls, a number which represents slightly more than one in 10, have experienced forced intercourse or another forced sexual act in their lifetime.
  7. Female Genital Mutilation: At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation. In most of these cases, the majority of girls were cut before age five. In these instances, proper anesthesia is rarely used or is ineffective, causing severe pain. Excessive bleeding is also possible, resulting from the accidental cutting of the clitoral artery or other blood vessels during the procedure. Chronic genital infections, reproductive tract infections and urinary tract infections are common.Female genital mutilation is also associated with an increased risk of Caesarean section, postpartum hemorrhage and extended maternal hospital stay. All of these subsequent complications along with the shock and use of physical force during the procedure are some of the many reasons why survivors describe the experience as an extremely traumatic event.
  8. Child Marriage: Globally, almost 750 million women and girls alive today married before their eighteenth birthday. Those who suffer from child marriage often experience early pregnancy which is a key factor in the premature end of education. As mothers and wives, girls become socially isolated and are at an increased risk for domestic violence. Child marriage is one the most devastating examples of gender inequality, as it limits women’s opportunities and their ability to reach their full individual potential.
  9. Human Trafficking: Adult women and girls account for 71 percent of all human trafficking victims detected globally. Girls alone represent nearly three out of every four children trafficked. Women and girls are clearly the disproportionate victims of human trafficking with 75 percent trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
  10. Representation in Government: As of June 2016, only 22.8 percent of all national parliamentarians were women. There is growing evidence that women in positions of leadership and political decision-making improve the systems in which they work.

These are 10 of the countless ways in which women are oppressed, abused and neglected. These top ten examples of gender inequality cannot begin to do justice to the discrimination and obstacles that women around the world face each day. Women’s rights are human rights and affect every person in every community.

– Carolina Sherwood Bigelow
Photo: Flickr

be a senator
The United States Congress is made up of two chambers: an upper chamber known as the Senate and a lower chamber known as the House of Representatives. This is modeled after the British Parliament bicameral (two chamber) system. In England, this system is composed of a House of Lords and a House of Commons.

Today, the United States Congress is made up of 100 senators and 435 representatives. That is two senators from each state and one representative from each of the 435 recognized congressional districts in the United States. Members of Congress are voted in by the public and serve a six-year term if elected to Senate and a two-year term if elected to the House of Representatives.

When one considers the history, size and power of the United States Congress, there are many questions that may come to mind. One common question asked is: how old do you have to be to be a senator? To answer this question, one can look to the United States Constitution for the answer.

The Constitution reads, “No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.” From this, one can see that the answer to the question of how old one must be to be a senator in the United States is a minimum of  30 years old.

Answering this question often leads to another question: why did the writers of the United States Constitution choose this age as opposed to other ages? In addition to the structure of the two chamber congress system, the framers of the Constitution also looked to England when trying to determine the details for what the requirements to be a member of Congress would be.

At the time of the writing of the United States Constitution, England’s law required members of Parliament to be a minimum of  21 years old. Though the United States did not adopt the same age requirement, the adoption of an age requirement at all was significant.

Ultimately, it was determined that one must be 25 years of age to be a representative in the House of Representatives, a number similar to England’s, and 30 years of age to be a senator. The answer to the question of why 30 is the age that was determined by the writers of the Constitution is addressed by James Madison in The Federalist, No.  62. Madison explained that because of Senate’s deliberative nature, the “senatorial trust,” called for a “greater extent of information and stability of character,” than would be needed in the more democratic House of Representatives.

The United States Congress is a complex and integral part of the United States government. When determining the requirements to be a member of Congress, the framers of the Constitution had many factors to consider. Ultimately, they determined that as far as the requirement of age went, 30 was the appropriate age for a member of the Senate.

– Nicole Stout

Photo: Flickr

Qualifications for the SenateThe United States Senate has been meeting since 1789 to ensure the prosperity of the country through legislation. The people of this legislative body are some of the most important leaders in the country, and 16 of our presidents were once a part of this institution. But what does it take to gain one of the 100 respected positions in the U.S. Senate?

There are informal as well as formal qualifications for the Senate in the United States. The formal qualifications are clearly outlined in Article I of the U.S. Constitution. First, senators must be at least 30 years old. The youngest person to become a senator, John Henry Eaton, was actually only 28 years old when he was elected in 1818, but many believe his age was unknown when he was sworn in and therefore no one realized he was violating the Constitution.

The second qualification states that senators must have U.S. citizenship for at least nine years before being elected. This qualification is slightly more flexible in comparison to the qualification for president, which requires candidates to be natural born citizens.

This qualification also allows for immigrant representation within the U.S. government. Many have been born in Europe or Canada and then immigrated to the United States and gained citizenship, allowing them to become senators.

The last of the specified qualifications for the Senate read that candidates must be a resident of the state which they represent at the time of the election. Former president and senator Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, yet represented Illinois in the Senate, as this was the state in which he resided at the time.

There are clear advantages to actually growing up and living in the state a potential senator wishes to represent, including making it easier to be elected. However, this qualification allows for politicians to move around more freely and live in a state where they are more likely to be elected than the one in which they grew up. Again, this benefits those born outside the United States, who can choose which state to reside in and represent.

Informal qualifications for the Senate have also emerged over the years. These are more like trends which have shown the type of people that citizens tend to deem qualified and choose to elect. Most senators have college educations, both private and public, and law school attendance is popular among these. Law also ranks as the number one declared profession by senators, followed by public service or politics. However, these qualifications are by no means necessary and many elected senators have not met them.

United States Senators are directly elected by the people they represent. This began when the 17th Amendment was adopted in 1913 to ensure Senate seats were not left open due to disagreements or corruption. The 17th Amendment stated that Senators serve six-year terms without term limits.

The Senate is crucial to the American political system. Its members are respected and work to pass laws that will advance the country. Because of the power they are given, their most important qualification is that the people have chosen them to serve and represent their interests to the best of their ability. When they are elected, they accept this responsibility and must value it above all else.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr


The differences between congressmen and senators are often confusing. Oftentimes, the two roles are used interchangeably to represent someone who works and composes the legislature of the United States. However, the roles, influences and powers of congressmen and senators vary.

Congress refers to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. A congressman is any member of either the Senate or the House of Representatives. There are a total of 535 voting congressmen, 435 of which are representatives and 100 which are senators.

To become a senator of the U.S., the potential candidate must be elected by the people of the state. Like any election, the candidate with the most votes wins. Each senator has an office in Washington, D.C., as well as one in the home state.

Senators are members of the legislative branch – their job is to represent the people living in their state. For example, to support a bill which aims to reduce poverty, individuals can contact their state senator. These bills are voted on and passed by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, which are then signed by the president to become law. Each state within the U.S. has two senators representing it, regardless of the size or population of the state.

In accordance with the Constitution, “all legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” The Constitution grants the Senate its own unique power: ratifying treaties, approving presidential appointments and a two-thirds vote of Senate is required before a person is impeached from office.

The differences between congressmen and senators also relates to their level of authority. Congress has an important role in national defense, including the power to declare war, raise and maintain armed forces and create rules for the military.

The Senate and the House of Representatives must approve and ratify legislation before it is executed.

– Jennifer Serrato

Photo: Flickr