Inequality, discrimination key obstacles to development: UN

Feb 12, 2014

Inequality and discrimination, particularly towards women, are among the world's biggest obstacles to development, a UN report published Wednesday said.

The study, which collected data from 176 countries, stressed that growing inequality may undermine progress made in health, education and the fight against poverty in the last 20 years.

The report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) follows up on a study issued in Cairo in 1994 after its International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

The study, titled "Beyond 2014" recommends governments take legislative measures to protect their poorest and most marginalized populations, in particular adolescents, female victims of violence and rural communities.

"The report's findings point to why governments must enact and enforce laws that eliminate inequalities and that protect , why they must fulfill the commitments they made in Cairo," said Fund director Babatunde Osotimehin.

He said that young females are an especially good barometer for gauging progress or the lack of it.

"Adolescent girls are particularly at risk in the poorest communities. More girls are finishing primary school, but they are facing challenges in accessing and completing secondary education," he said.

"Supporting their aspirations, and the aspirations of all young people, is key," he said.

In the last 20 years, deaths due to pregnancy and child birth have decreased 47 percent, more girls go to school and population growth has slowed, the report said.

But some 800 women died giving birth each day in 2010, 222 million women still do not have access to contraception and one in three women across the globe says they have suffered physical or sexual violence, the report said.

"Research suggest a significant positive correlation between female education, healthier families and stronger GDP growth," the report said.

While child marriage is illegal in 158 countries, one in three females marries before age 18 in developing countries, ruining their chances for education and social mobility.

Osotimehin added that in addition, progress only benefits a small minority of people.

"The report reveals in stark detail the persistent inequalities and discrimination threatening to derail development," he said.

The report said that the world's "greatest shared challenge is that our very accomplishments ... are increasingly inequitably distributed, threatening inclusive development, the environment and our common future."

"Increasing is disruptive and highly detrimental to sustainable development," it added.

Explore further: Devices or divisive: Mobile technology in the classroom

Related Stories

UN: 7.3 million teen births in developing world

Oct 30, 2013

Recent research has suggested that teen pregnancies in the developing world are declining, but more than 7 million girls under the age of 18 are still giving birth each year and suffering drastic consequences, a U.N. report ...

OECD says Brazil inequality persists

Oct 23, 2013

Brazil may have cut the number of people living in poverty in recent years but inequality persists and better education is needed, the OECD said Tuesday.

Child marriages: 39,000 every day

Mar 07, 2013

Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

UN wants better family planning

Jan 24, 2013

(AP)—The U.N.'s top population official wants governments to do more to ensure that women have access to family planning.

Recommended for you

College rankings go under the microscope

6 hours ago

Parents, students and admissions officials have combed through college and university rankings for years. However, education researchers have largely ignored the controversial lists. That's about to change, according to a ...

A call to US educators: Learn from Canada

20 hours ago

As states and the federal government in the U.S. continue to clash on the best ways to improve American education, Canada's Province of Ontario manages successful education reform initiatives that are equal parts cooperation ...

Devices or divisive: Mobile technology in the classroom

Apr 17, 2015

Little is known about how new mobile technologies affect students' development of non-cognitive skills such as empathy, self-control, problem solving, and teamwork. Two Boston College researchers say it's ...

Forming school networks to educate 'the new mainstream'

Apr 17, 2015

As immigration increases the number of non-English speaking "culturally and linguistically diverse" students, schools will need to band together in networks focused on the challenges of educating what has been called "the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.