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Overview of data resources on gender equality across the world

Published 3 March 2023 in Facts and figures

On the occasion of the Generation Equality Forum, held in 2021 in Mexico and France, Focus 2030 has brought together key data on each of the six Action Coalitions of the Forum: Gender-Based Violence; Economic Justice and Rights; Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR); Feminist Action for Climate Justice; Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality; and Feminist Movements and Leadership. Two sections, on gender disparities in education and financing for gender equality, complete this overview.

The data presented in this article was updated in March 2023. For more recent information, please refer directly to the original source.

Cross-sectional resources

  • Focus 2030 and Women Deliver conducted a 17-country survey to measure the level of public support for gender equality, the actions people want their governments to take on each of the six Action Coalitions, and the gendered impact of the Covid-19 pandemic:
    • 80% of respondents say that gender equality is an important issue to them personally.
    • More women than men reported experiencing emotional stress and increased household chores during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • Overall, to advance gender equality, ending gender-based violence is the top priority.
  • The World Bank publishes a series of sex-disagreggated and gender indicators on agriculture, education, health, social development, and poverty. The World Bank Development Indicators also contain a Gender Data Portal:
    • In 1975, 70% of girls and young women aged between 15 and 24 were literate (compared to 84% of boys and young men). This rose to 79% in 1990 (87% for boys and young men) and to 91% in 2020 (93% for boys and young men).
    • In 2019, 26% of women and 28% of men in paid employment worked in agriculture.
    • 1.4% of employed women and 3.5% of men were company managers.
    • 33% of businesses are owned by women in the world.
    • In 2021, 54% of people over 15 living with HIV were women, a proportion which has been constantly growing since 1990 when 44% of people living with HIV were female.
    • Birthrates for adolescent girls aged 15-19 have fallen from 86 births per 1000 girls in 1990 to 41 per 1000 in 2020.
    • In 2020, more than 3 billion girls and women lived in countries with "poor" or "very poor" gender equality scores.
    • At the current rate, the world will reach an overall gender equality score of 71 out of 100 in 2030: the Sustainable Development Goals will therefore not be met.
    • To date, none of the 144 countries in the Index has achieved gender equality.
  • The OECD 2023 Social Institutions and Gender Index project provides data and country factsheets analysing the level of discrimination in laws, social norms and practices in 179 countries, across a variety of different themes: child marriage, inheritance, unpaid domestic or healthcare work, domestic violence, reproductive health rights, access to property rights, land and non-land assets, the right to work, participate in politics, or access to justice).
    • 16% of women worldwide live in countries where domestic violence is not criminalized.
    • 13% of girls worldwide are married before the age of 18.
    • Women make up only 27% of members of parliaments worldwide.
  • The World Economic Forum publishes the annual Global Gender Gap Report, which examines evolutions in gender gaps in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political power.
    • In 2022, the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take 132 years to close the global gender gap. In 2020, it estimated that it would take 99.5 years: the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed back the achievement of parity by another generation.
  • UN Women and UNDESA publish the annual Gender Snapshot, a report that compiles gender equality data related to each of the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2023 edition estimates that at the current rate, 340 million women and girls will still live in extreme poverty by 2030.
  • The book Equality within Our Lifetimes (2023) published by the World Policy Center analyzes solutions and progress on girls’ education, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and women’s gender care needs in 193 countries.
    • Nearly three-quarters of the world’s countries have laws specifically prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace.
    • Nevertheless, more than a quarter (28%) of countries that prohibit gender discrimination in the workplace do not guarantee protection from retaliation for reporting.
    • Nearly one in five countries offer women from marginalized racial or ethnic groups no protection from at least one common form of workplace discrimination.
    • Less than half of the world’s countries (46%) explicitly address gender discrimination as well as discrimination based on citizenship.


Based Violence

    • Throughout the world, one in three women and girls have already experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Less than 40% sought help, and of those, only 10% went to the police.
    • Of all of the women who were killed in 2020, 58% were murdered by their partner or a family member.
  • The World Bank also collects information on legal protection against gender-based violence in 190 countries, published as an annex to the Women, Business and the Law report:
    • In 2019, 31 countries did not have specific legislation on sexual harassment.
    • In 2020, in 57 countries, domestic violence was not considered a criminal offence (in the legal sense) and in 52 countries, there is no dedicated court nor specific procedure for dealing with domestic violence.
  • UNICEF publishes data on challenges faced by children and young adults:
    • Among women aged 20-24, 5% were married or in-union before the age of 15, and 19% before the age of 18 (rising to 11% and 37% respectively in developing countries). (source)
    • At least 200 million girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM) in 31 countries for which representative data is available (34%, compared to 49% 30 years ago). FGM affects almost every woman in certain countries such as Somalia (99%), Guinea (95%), or Djibouti (94%). However, in 23 of the 30 countries, the majority of women and girls who have heard of excision think that this practice should not be continued. (source)
    • In a third of the countries sampled, at least 5% of women aged between 18 and 29 have suffered sexual violence before the age of 18. (source)


Justice and Rights

  • ILOSTAT hosts data from the International Labour Organization on employment, the informal economy, social protection, youth not in unemployment, education and training (NEET), etc. Specific information on women’s employment is available here:
    • In 2019, women represented 50% of the working-age population, but only 39% of those in employment, and 28% occupying management positions. (source)
    • In 2021, 31% of women and girls aged 15-24 were not in employment, education or training (NEETs), compared to 16% of young men. (source)
    • In 2019, women were more exposed than men to informal employment
      in over 90% of sub-Saharan African countries, 89 % of Southern Asian countries, and almost 75% of Latin American countries. (source)
    • Across the world, 22% of working-age women perform unpaid care work on a full-time basis, compared to 1.5% of working-age men. Between 1997 and 2012, the daily time that women devoted to unpaid housework and caregiving fell by only 15 minutes, while for men it increased by just eight minutes. At this pace, it is estimated that the gender gap in unpaid care work will not be closed until 2228 (or in 205 years). (source)
    • Across the world, the gender pay gap is estimated at 20%.
  • Towards a better future for women and work: Voices of women and men (2016), a report from the International Labour Organization and Gallup, examines male and female attitudes and perceptions in 142 countries on women and work:
    • 29% of women worldwide would prefer to work at paid jobs, and a similar percentage would prefer to stay at home (27%). 41% of women would prefer to do both. Men want the same for the women in their families: 28% would like these women to have paid jobs, 29% would like them to stay at home and 38% would prefer they do both.
    • On average, 83% of women and 77% of men agree that it is acceptable for women in their families to work outside their home if they wish to. However, in households with children, this percentage drops to 73% for men (compared to 81% for men from households without children).
    • For 22% of the world’s population, work-family balance is the biggest challenge faced by women in paid work. In second place, 12% say the biggest issue is the unavailability of affordable care services for children or relatives, and in third place with 10% declare it is because women are treated unfairly at work.
  • The Women, Business and the Law World Bank dataset provides information on the laws and regulations that restrict women’s economic opportunities across 190 economies. Data categories include mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets and pensions.
    • On average, women have just three-fourths of the legal rights afforded to men in terms of economic security, career growth, and work-life balance.
    • 118 of the economies covered by the dataset guarantee paid maternity leave of 14 weeks or more. But in only 99 of these is maternity leave fully funded by the government. And in 41 countries, dismissal of pregnant workers is not prohibited.
    • 117 economies out of 190 offer paternity leave, of an average of 5 days. But only 53 economies offer paid parental leave that can be shared by mothers and fathers.
    • In 93 countries, the law does not mandate equal remuneration for work of equal value.
    • In 41 countries, sons and daughters do not have the same inheritance rights, and in 43 countries, widows do not have the same inheritance rights as widowers as surviving spouses.
    • In 83 countries, periods of absence due to childcare are not accounted for in pension benefits.
    • Analysis shows that where the law ensures greater equality of economic opportunity between women and men, female labour force participation is higher, regardless of income levels, fertility rates, and female education. Having fewer discriminatory laws and policies in place also results in larger investments in health and education (both for women themselves and for the next generation), lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases, lower rates of maternal mortality and higher levels of female education.
  • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor regularly publishes the results of its global entrepreneurship surveys. In 2021-2022:
    • In 45 of the 49 countries surveyed, more men than women started a business in 2021.
    • Long-established businesses are more likely to be run by men than new businesses: there are twice as many men running these businesses as women in 10 of the 49 countries surveyed, and three times as many in 5 countries.
  • The Fortune Global 500 ranking of the world’s 500 largest companies reveals that only 24 of the 500 were led by women in 2022.
  • The World Values Survey analyses public opinion from 100 countries (for the last wave of the survey, 2017-2022) on many issues, including women’s economic participation:
    • 42% of men and 40% of women think that a child of pre-school age will suffer if their mother works.
    • 21% of men and 16% of women think that a university education is more important for a boy than for a girl.
    • 36% of men and 25% of women think that men make better business executives than women do.
    • 61% of men and 61% of women think that being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay.
    • 35% of men and 28% of women think that when employment is scarce, men should have more rights to a job than women.
    • 34% of men and 33% of women think that if a woman earns more money than her husband, it’s almost certain to cause problems.
    • 7% of men and 5% of women say they are an active member of a trade union.
  • The (2021) Global Financial Inclusion Database from the World Bank brings together data on financial inclusion for women and men from 123 countries:
    • 78% of men and 74% of women over the age of 15 have a bank account.
    • 50% of men and 47% of women accumulated savings in the previous year.
    • 10% of men and 13% of women say that they do not have any contingency funding to fall back on.
    • 56% of men and 49% of women own a debit card. 25% of men and 24% of women possess a credit card.
  • The World Inequality Report (2022) includes data on income inequality between men and women worldwide and by region:
    • In 1990, women received 30% of global labor income; today they still receive only 34%.
    • No world region has reached parity.

Bodily Autonomy and

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)

  • The DHS Program STATcompiler presents data from the Demographic and Health Surveys from 90 countries, focusing on fertility, family planning, reproductive health, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, women’s empowerment, etc.
    • In 2020, the global maternal mortality ratio was 223 deaths per 100,000 live births. It was significantly higher in low-income countries (430 deaths per 100,000 live births) than in high-income countries (12).
    • On average, 121 million unintended pregnancies were recorded each year between 2015 and 2019.
  • The United Nations Population Fund’s State of the World Population Report annually reports on progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals related to maternal health, access to education, or sexual and reproductive health.
    • The 2021 edition of the report provides an update on girls’ and women’s bodily autonomy. Globally, 45% of women do not have a final say in choices about their own sexual and reproductive health. In addition, 27% lack access to sexual education.
    • The 2022 edition of the report documents unintended pregnancies around the world. A woman dies every 9 minutes from unsafe abortion. In developing countries, 13% of girls become mothers before reaching adulthood.
  • The  United Nations Population Fund  World Population Dashboard  provides data on fertility, sexual and reproductive health, or sex ratios. For example:
    • Among women aged 15-49, the average contraceptive prevalence rate (all methods) is 49%, rising to 63% for those married or in-union. 45% of women use a modern method of contraception, rising to 57% for those married or in-union.
    • Across the world, 9% of women aged between 15-49 have an unmet need for family planning. This percentage is slightly higher for married or in-union women, at 11%.
  • BMJ Global Health published a comparative analysis that estimates the rates of unintended pregnancies and the incidence of abortion in 150 countries between 2015 and 2019:
    • There is significant heterogeneity between countries within a region: in Niger, there is an estimated occurrence of 49 unintended pregnancies per 1000 women of reproductive age per year, compared with 145 in Uganda.
    • The incidence of abortion is the highest in Southeast Asia, with 43 abortions per 1000 women of reproductive age per year (64 in Vietnam, 49 in China).
  • The World Values Survey analyses public opinion from 100 countries (for the last wave of the survey, 2017-2022) on many subjects, including abortion.
    • 36% of men (36% of women) worldwide declare that it is never justified to have an abortion. 10% say that it is always justified (11% of women) and 51% of men are in between (compared to 50% of women).
    • Women and girls over the age of 15 are responsible for collecting water in 7 out of 10 households.
    • In 22 countries for which data are available, among households with shared toilets, women and girls are more likely than men and boys to feel unsafe walking alone at night, and to face sexual harassment and other safety risks.
    • In 51 countries for which data is available, women and adolescent girls living in the poorest households or with disability are the most likely to lack a private place to wash and change.

Feminist Action

for Climate Justice

    • Between 1990-2011, women represented 43% of agricultural workers, but only 15% of agricultural land holders.
  • The Women’s Environment and Development Organization’s Gender Climate Tracker provides data and analyses on women’s participation in climate diplomacy and gender-responsive climate policies.
    • At the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2022, women made up around 36% of national Party delegations. 20% of Heads of Delegation were women. In 2008, these two statistics were 32% and 15% respectively. In 2022, women were under-represented in many UNFCCC national Party delegations, in particular in senior roles and in delegations from the most climate-vulnerable countries.
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) represent each country’s commitments on reducing national emissions and climate change adaptation. Analysis of 190 NDCs shows that 64 countries refer to women or gender. Among those 64, 34 countries portray women as a vulnerable group, just 15 refer to their role as active parties in decisions or policies on climate change, and only 6 describe women as agents or actors of change. Nevertheless, of the 18 NDCs added or updated in 2020, 11 mentioned women or gender.
  • The World Values Survey analyses public opinion from 100 countries (for the last wave of the survey, 2017-2022) on many topics, including membership of different organizations:
    • 5.6% of men and 4.5% of women say they are active members of environmental organizations.
  • The Malala Fund produces data on girls’ education around the world. The report A greener, fairer future (2021) presents data on the positive impact of girls’ education on combating climate change:
    • In 2021, climate disasters prevented at least 4 million girls in low- and middle-income countries from continuing their education.
    • Yet, if all girls had access to quality education, fossil fuel emissions could be reduced by 37-41% by the end of the century.

Technology and Innovation

for Gender Equality

  • The UNESCO offers statistical insights into education, science, culture and communication.
    • According to the Women In Science database, less than 30% of researchers in the world are women.
    • According to the I’d blush if I could: closing gender divides in digital skills through education report:
      • 17.5% of technology sector employees are women.
      • Men are around four times more likely than women to have advanced information and communications technology (ICT) skills, such as programming.
      • In G20 countries, just 7% of ICT patents are filed by women.
      • Recruiters for technology companies in Silicon Valley estimate that the applicant pool for technical jobs in artificial intelligence and data science is less than 1% female.
      • 36% of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and 29% of ICT students are female.
      • Women hold only 24% of all digital sector jobs.
      • Only 6% of mobile application and software developers are female.
    • Chapter To be smart, the digital revolution will need to be inclusive from the UNESCO Science Report (2021) :
      • 44% of PhD graduates worldwide are women
      • 22% of professionals working in the artificial intelligence sector are women
      • 2% of capital directed to startups in 2019 went to startups founded by women
    • Women in low- and middle-income countries are, on average, 7% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, and 16% less likely to use mobile internet than men (25% in 2017). Cost remains the greatest barrier to owning a mobile phone.
    • These gaps have resulted in a loss of $126 billion in GDP for 32 low- and middle-income countries in 2020.
    • Closing these gender gaps could generate $140 billion in revenue for mobile operators over five years.
    • 73% of activities in the accommodation and restaurants sector, which employs a large proportion of women, are susceptible to automation. Conversely, education and health and social work, which are highly feminized sectors, exhibit the lowest risk of automation due to the personal interaction component that is embedded in such occupations.
  • The Global Financial Inclusion Database (2021) from the World Bank brings together data on the use of digital technology for business in 123 countries:
    • 67% of men and 61% of women over the age of 15 have made or received a digital payment in the last year.
    • 12% of men and 8% of women over the age of 15 have a mobile bank account.
  • Notably, only 39% of countries regularly produce gender-disaggregated statistics on information and communications technologies, according to the "Review of the implementation of the agreed conclusions adopted at the forty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women”.


Movements and Leadership

  • The Inter-Parliamentary Union database provides information on female politicians, ministers or heads of state and government, and on female portfolios and electoral quotas.
    • The Women in Politics: 2023 database tracks the number of women elected worldwide: as of January 1, 2023, 26% of the parliamentarians, 23% of the presidents of parliaments, 11% of the heads of state, and 10% of the heads of government in the world were women.
    • The Women in Parliament in 2022 report also provides an overview of the state of parity in parliaments around the world. By the end of 2022, 64 countries had at least 30% of women in their lower or single house, only three seats more than in 2021. The report highlights the key role of quotas in advancing parity: chambers with legislative quotas elected 31% of women in 2022, compared to 21% in chambers without quotas.
    • In 2019, out of 180 countries and territories, 104 had introduced quotas, reserved seats or other measures to promote female political participation at the national level, and 93 countries at the local level.
    • Globally, 47% of the population think that men make better politicians than women.
    • Female membership in national social dialogue institutions (economic and social councils, tripartite commissions and labour advisory boards) ranged from 20% to 35% in 2018.
    • Since 1945, only 47 women have headed one of the 33 organizations of the United Nations system, compared to 335 men.
    • Overall, women have led these organizations 12% of the time since 1945.
    • By 2023, one-third of these organizations are headed by women.
  • The World Values Survey analyses public opinion from 100 countries (for the last wave of the survey, 2017-2022) on many subjects, including membership of different organizations. For example:
    • 2.6% of men and 8.5% of women say they are an active member of a feminist organization.


    • The UIS factsheet no. 56 provides additional data on out-of-school children. For example:
      • In 2018, 9% of primary school-age girls and 7% of school-age boys were out of school, compared to 12% and 18% respectively in 2000.
      • The male and female out-of-school rates for the lower secondary and upper secondary school-age populations are now nearly identical (at 16% and 35% respectively)
      • Inequality continues across all levels of schooling in certain regions and countries. The biggest gap between girls and boys is in central Asia, both at primary as well as secondary level.
    • The I’d blush if I could: closing gender divides in digital skills through education (2019) report presents data on inequality in higher education, revealing that girls and young women are overrepresented as students in the fields of Education (70%), Health and Welfare (69%), Art and Humanities (62%), Social Sciences (61%) and Natural Science 56%). Conversely, women and girls are minority students in the fields of STEM (36%) and ICT (29%).
  • The OECD report Gender, Education and Skills: The Persistence of Gender Gaps in Education and Skills (2023) presents gender inequalities in education and access to employment in OECD countries and their partners.
    • Young men are more likely than young women to lack an upper secondary and a tertiary qualification, on average across OECD countries. This gender gap in favour of women has only increased between 2000 and 2020.
    • Women in tertiary education choose fields of study with relatively less mathematical content, therefore they are also much less likely than their male peers to practice advanced mathematics daily.
    • In all OECD and partner countries, men are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages, than women.

Funding for gender equality

  • Ahead of the Generation Equality Forum, the OECD published an analysis of development finance directed to each Action Coalition.
  • Data2x published a report in 2021 on the state of funding directed to gender data production:
    • Funding has stagnated since 2009, despite growing needs for gendered statistics production.
    • To build and maintain key gender databases, an additional $500 million in donor funding is needed annually by 2030.
  • In addition, Paris 21, a partnership hosted by the OECD Statistics Directorate, analyzed official development assistance for strengthening gender statistics around the world. The PRESS 2022 report reveals that due to the Covid-19 crisis, funding for strengthening the collection and use of gender-related data has declined by 55% in 2020, compared to 2017-2019 averages.
  • Open Data Watch produces an annual report that in 2020-21 provided an assessment of the coverage and openness of official statistics in 187 countries. Between 2016 and 2020, the publication and transparency of gendered data improved by 21%, only half as much as other types of data.
    • In 2014, only 0.5% ($192 million) of aid for gender equality went to women’s rights organizations in the North and South, compared to 1.2% in 2011. 92% of the funding for gender equality went to international NGOs or NGOs in donor countries, and only 8% to local NGOs.
  • The Donors Delivering for SRHR report analyzes funding for sexual and reproductive health in the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries:
    • The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and the European Institutions are the five largest donors to sexual and reproductive health (by amount of ODA allocated).
    • Despite an overall increase in funding in 2020, only 5 out of 30 donors devoted at least 4% of their ODA to sexual and reproductive health.
  • An OECD note published in 2022 takes stock of funding for gender equality in Sahelian countries: in 2018-19, 41% of official development assistance to the region had gender equality as a primary or significant objective, up from 18% in 2010.

While the collection of gender-disaggregated and sex-specific data has progressed considerably in recent years, many inequalities remain undocumented. As such, Data2x has identified the current gaps.
Moreover, where data exists, it is not always sufficiently accessible. The organization Open Data Watch publishes an annual indicator measuring the completeness of each country’s statistical supply, as well as the compliance of these data with international standards of openness. The indicator includes a specific measure for gender statistics: in 2020, the world scored an average of 34, on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 represents the best performance in collecting and opening gendered data.

Documents to download

Social Institutions & Gender Index - OCDE