I love trivia and learning new things, so I tend to read far and wide. The following is a list of 25 Fast Facts About Women Around the World. Some are quirky, some serious, and others are just downright depressing. I tried to offer a balance of each, and hope that there’s something to make you smile, as well as something to make you think.
Here’s the 25 that got my attention and made the list.
1. 80% of the 50 million people around the world who are affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacement are women and children
2. In 2004, 48.8% of the seats held in parliament in Rwanda were held by women. Contrast that to Cuba where 36% of the seats were held by women, and the USA, where 14.3 % of the seats were held by women. Saudi Arabia and the Solomon Islands are just two countries where there are no women in parliament (UNDP, Human Development Report 2004)
3. In 76 countries, less than half the eligible girls are enrolled in secondary school
4. Women own only 1% of the world’s land
5. Approximately three million women in the USA sport tattoos
6. A Saudi Arabian woman can get a divorce if her husband doesn’t give her coffee
7. 43% of Australian marriages end in divorce. of those who remarry, 65% of them will divorce again. By the time you try for marriage number 3, your chance of getting divorced is about 75%
8. The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth
9. It is illegal to be a prostitute in Siena, Italy, if your name is Mary
10. In parts of Malaya, the women keep harems of men
11. The two highest IQ’s ever recorded (on a standard test) both belong to women
12. In Kenya where 38% of the farms are run by women, those women manage to harvest the same amount per hectare (2.47 acres) as men, despite men having greater access to loans, advice, fertilizers, hybrid seeds, insecticides. And when women were given the same level of help, they were found to be more efficient than men, and produced bigger harvests
13. Over half a million women die in childbirth every year in Africa and Asia
14. Nearly 1/2 of all Indonesian women have had their first child by the time they are 17
15. In the USA, unintended pregnancies account for almost half of all pregnancies
16. According to The World Health Org., 40 per cent of girls aged 17 or under in South Africa are reported to have been the victim of rape or attempted rape
17. In Sweden, 76% of mothers work, the highest percentage in the developed world
18. Australia, New Zealand and the US are among a handful of governments that do not require women to be paid some form of maternity leave. In countries as diverse as Russia, Colombia, Laos and Morocco, the government foots the entire bill for three to six months of maternity leave
19. By age 55, 95% of all U.S. women have married
20. In 2007 the world’s richest self-made woman was Ms Zhang Yin, a Chinese paper recycling entrepreneur
21. Only 5% of Hollywood feature films are directed by women
22. Today, Japan leads the world in condom use. Like cosmetics, they’re sold door to door, by women
23. Seventy percent of women would rather have chocolate than sex (Poll taken in a 1995 women’s magazine)
24. Australian women have sex on the first date more than women the same age in the USA and Canada
25. China is considered the next big marketing opportunity for the tobacco industry because only 3.8% of Chinese women smoke, compared with 63 % of adult males
When you research the state of women around the world, I am sad to say that finding inspiring facts and figures is difficult. There is much that I left off this list, simply because I didn’t want to send everyone into a black mood for the day!
We may look around at progress in developed countries and feel women are better off than they’ve ever been, but we are such a minority. The story is completely different for much of the world’s women, who are suffering from the same persecution, and deplorable health and living conditions that they’ve endured for centuries. I’ll try to remember that the next time I’m complaining about my life.
If you have access to a computer, shelter, breakfast in your tummy and are able to read this, then you already have so much to be grateful for.
Have a great day.
Photo by elchapincito.