The Persistent Global Gender Gap in 5 Maps

Despite gains, equal rights for women remain elusive.

Despite progress in establishing equal rights for women, the gender gap persists. In more than 170 countries, women still lack the same rights, protections, and liberties as men.

To mark the 104th anniversary of  International Women’s Day on Sunday, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) World Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) issued a report documenting the state of gender equality around the world.

The report—a road map to understanding gender inequality—tracks the progress made in the 20 years since 189 countries signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a global commitment to advance women’s rights.

“When policymakers see these maps, they’ll be able to understand where their country is leading and lagging behind,” says Jody Heymann, dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “That way, leaders can decide how their country stacks up against neighboring or economically similar countries, hopefully encouraging long-term change.”

Though laws and constitutions are generally a matter of public record, deciphering their meaning can be difficult. In relying on a team of economists, lawyers, political scientists, and public health officials, WORLD was able to create an easy-to-comprehend database.

Major strides have been made in advancing gender equality, though much work remains. “The data points to the feasibility of closing the gender gap,” says Heymann. “Countries of all development levels are improving, so there are no more excuses.”

Gender Equality Laws
More than 95% of the 56 constitutions adopted in the past 20 years guarantee gender equality, compared with only 79% of constitutions enacted previously. Even so, 32 countries, including the United States, still lack explicitly guaranteed gender equality.
Guaranteed, but custom or religious law can supersede
Some protection for women
Equality guaranteed, gender not mentioned
No data / Not applicable