Gender Gap for Development Goals

With five years to go until the endpoint of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015—objectives set in 2000 to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of the world’s poorest people—many countries are falling short. Peru’s maternal mortality rate—240 mothers die per 100,000 live births—has dropped by half in rural areas but is still far higher than those of other Latin American countries, which highlighs a problem the overall statistics conceal. Even if countries hit their M.D.G. targets, poverty rates remain high among indigenous people, women, children and rural residents. The urban-rural gap also holds true for primary education and access to water and sanitation. Some millennium goals also show a gender gap. In Latin America, although girls outnumber boys in high school and post-secondary education, women hold only one-third of top-level jobs. In places like Panama, Venezuela, urban Brazil and Mexico, more than half of all women in nonfarm jobs work in the informal economy, with no benefits or security. The figure rises to more than 70 percent in cities in Peru and Ecuador.

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