Gina Mei
March 29, 2015 6:00 am

Let’s talk about living as a lady.

In 1979, the United Nations created the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international treaty devised as a global bill of rights for women. Read that again: A global bill of rights for women. Awesome. Ok, moving on.

The treaty was instituted in 1981, and has since been ratified by almost all of the countries around the world — to date, Iran, Tonga, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and the Holy See are the only places that have not signed the treaty at all and the U.S. actually hasn’t ratified it FYI. But regardless, CEDAW was a landmark move for women’s rights on a global scale, and it paved the way for 1995’s Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a document resolution by the UN which provided an extremely detailed plan of action to tackle gender inequality.

In honor of the Beijing Declaration’s 20th anniversary this year, the WORLD Policy Analysis Center decided to analyze different countries’ treatment of women to see if we are making any real progress when it comes to women and our rights — and what resulted was a bunch of ridiculously interesting maps. (Yes, maps.)

It’s obviously no secret that gender equality is still very much an issue worldwide, and this study helps pinpoint where we need to be focusing our efforts. According to the study, there were some major wins (the percentage of CEDAW countries’ constitutions that guarantee women’s rights went from 56% to 97% — amazing), and some major bummers (it’s legal for girls to be married at a younger age than boys in 30% of countries; and while 97% of countries provide paid leave for new mothers, only 51% offer the same for fathers — not ok). Many of the findings were as interesting as they were surprising.

Check out some of the maps for yourself below, and let us know what you think. (Since the legends for these maps are on the smaller side, the general rule of thumb is that dark green is good for equality and orange/red is bad.) You’ll note, to our huge dismay, that the U.S. is not doing very well at all.

Does the constitution take at least one approach to gender equality?

Does the constitution guarantee the right to equal pay for equal work based on gender?

Does the constitution guarantee protection from gender discrimination at work?

Countries with known barriers to equal opportunities for women at work

Does the constitution protect the right to education regardless of gender?

What type of education rights does the constitution guarantee for girls? (Primary School)

What type of education rights does the constitution guarantee for girls? (Secondary School)

Does the constitution protect women’s right to equality in marriage in all aspects including entering, exiting, and within marriage?

When all exceptions are taken into account, what is the minimum age of marriage for girls?

When all exceptions are taken into account, what is the minimum age of marriage for boys?

Is paid leave available to parents of infants? (Mothers)

Is paid leave available to parents of infants? (Fathers)*

*It’s important to note that there’s a huge time shift here — the dark green for the “mothers” map represents 52+ weeks, whereas here it only represents 14+.

There are a ton more maps available on the WORLD Policy Analysis Center website regarding education, health rights, work, marriage, and more. It’s definitely worth a perusal — and who knows? It might just get you worked up enough to go out and change the world.

(Featured image via.)

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