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The State of the World’s Children 2007

Women and Children: The Double Dividend of Gender Equality

Maputo, 11 December 2006 – Despite significant improvements on the status of women in the past three decades, far too many women and girls have been left behind and remain voiceless and powerless, says UNICEF’s The State of the World Children 2007 launched today in New York.

The report examines the discrimination and disempowerment women face throughout their lives and outlines what must be done to eliminate gender discrimination and empower women and girls.

As the report argues, healthy, educated and empowered women are more likely to have healthy, educated and confident daughters and sons. However, gender discrimination is still occurring in many ways around the world and throughout the life cycle. Women and girls are deprived of equal access to resources, opportunities and political power. The oppression of girls and women can include the preference for sons over daughters, limited personal and professional choices, the denial of basic human rights and outright gender-based violence.  

As the report concludes, enhancing women’s influence in the key decisions in the household, the workplace and political sphere will not only improve their lives but will also have a positive effect on child well-being and development.

In Mozambique, disparities related to gender affect women and girls in many aspects of their lives:

  • Female households – which represent a third of all households in Mozambique – are poorer than families headed by men.

  • Children whose mothers have no formal education are three times more likely to experience severe nutrition deprivation than children whose mothers have secondary level education or higher – Twenty five per cent and seven per cent respectively.

  • About 9 per cent of women suffer from malnutrition. The most critical factor affecting women’s nutrition is their workload – women, especially in rural areas, consistently work long, hard hours and their energy intake is not commensurate with their work output.

  • Out of 1.6 million Mozambican estimated to live with HIV or AIDS, 58 per cent are woman and 5 per cent are chldren under five.

  • The gender gap in rural in school attendance in rural areas is marked, with only 48 per cent of girls attending primary school compared to 57 per cent of boys.

  • Data from 2003 indicates that 18 per cent of girls aged 20-24 had been married before the age of 15 and 56 per cent before the age of 18.

For more information on The State of the World’s Children 2007 please click on the links in the blue box on the right.



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