1 in 3 women abused, UN report shows

By Elaine Carey
Toronto Star Demographics Reporter

At least one in three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or abused in some way, most often by someone she knows, says a United Nations report that decries ongoing prejudice against women.

Despite the tremendous gains of the 20th century, discrimination and violence against women and girls ``remain firmly rooted in cultures around the world,'' says the UN in its annual report on the State of World Population, released today.

`But all of us in the development community realize that, unless we make progress in gender equality, we can't make progress in any of these (other) areas.'
- Alanna Armitage UN program officer

``Girls and women the world over are denied access to education and health care,'' it says. ``Millions are subjected to abuse and violence. Women's legal rights are not protected. Their medical concerns are given less attention than men's are. They are denied opportunities in the workplace and receive less pay than men for the same work.''

While many countries have started taking steps to protect women's rights, ``actual progress has been slow,'' the report says, chronicling a host of abuses:

Around the world, there are 80 million unwanted pregnancies, 20 million unsafe abortions, 500,000 maternal deaths and 333 million new sexually transmitted diseases each year. Adolescent girls are particularly at risk.


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