USAID to Release Women's Lives and Challenges Report

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Demographic and Health Surveys Program released Women’s Lives and Challenges: Equality and Empowerment since 2000, a report that assesses gains in women’s status and gender equality worldwide.

This report, among the most extensive recent assessments of women’s status, looks at women’s progress in four continents and more than 45 countries.  Women’s Lives and Challenges evaluates trends in women’s employment, domestic decision-making, exposure to violence, and access to education and health care. 

“Gender equality is still an elusive goal for many countries,” said Katie Taylor, USAID's Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health.  “Supporting countries to expand women’s and girls’ access to healthcare, education, clean water, proper nutrition, and more, USAID is committed to translating data into policies and programs that save women’s and girls’ lives, improve their futures, and promote women’s full participation.” 

Despite some notable gains, overall progress towards women’s empowerment and gender equality is halting and inconsistent, the new report shows.   For example, access to primary education is expanding for women worldwide, but more men than women are literate and have completed primary school in almost every country surveyed.  While more than half of women are employed in the majority of countries surveyed, women are still less likely than men to be paid in cash for their work.   

The new report will be released today at the event “USAID’s Enduring Commitment to Improving Women’s Lives: Closing the gender data gap with the Demographic and Health Surveys.” Invited guests include Carla Koppel, Chief Strategy Officer for USAID, Katie Taylor, USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health , Ken Cummings, Foreign Affairs Adviser to Representative Van Hollen of Maryland, Ambassador Amina S. Ali of the African Union, Ambassador Koukku-Ronde of Finland, and Ambassador Kare Aas of Norway.   The event will be live tweeted from 3-5pm EST from @USAIDGH and @DHSprogram using the hashtag #WomensLives.

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