Women are discriminated against in almost every country around the world, a UN-commissioned report has said. It said that this is despite the fact that 185 UN member states pledged to outlaw laws favouring men by 2005. It adds that 70 per cent of the world’s poor are women and they own just one per cent of the world’s titled land.
The report, which was prepared for UN Human Rights Commissioner, Louise Arbour, said rape within marriage has still not been made a crime in 53 nations. The report was compiled by Fareda Banda, a law professor at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
At a news conference in Geneva, Prof. Banda said that other laws discriminating against women included statutes on divorce, maternity benefits and pensions. She said that even basic laws like the legal ages for marriage could have a huge impact on women’s lives: “Many states still have different ages of marriages for young women that they have for young men, and the age for girls is always lower than the age for boys.
“This leads to violation, for example, of a girls’ right education, if she has to leave school at 14 to get married, and this impacts upon her life chances. “It ends up being a life-long violation of her rights in terms of forfeiting education and having children too early, possibly being damaged herself.”
The report recommends the introduction of a new, separate mechanism to fight discrimination because existing UN and international human rights laws are not being upheld. – BBC