On International Women’s Day, 8 March, we mark progress in the fight for gender equality, and we face a reality that is still starkly unjust. Today, 62 million girls are still denied the right to education, half a billion women cannot read and 155 countries still have laws that discriminate against women.
That is unacceptable, and we must work together to change it. In a report entitled “Poverty is Sexist,” published by ONE, leaders in global development call on the world to act on gender inequality and create more opportunity for women.
Gender inequality often leaves women and girls prone to diseases and other life-threatening conditions. Adolescent girls and young women are disproportionately affected by HIV. Currently, more than 7,000 young women and girls are getting infected with HIV every week.
We must address social factors that put adolescent girls and young women at increased risk for infectious diseases, and provide them with more opportunities in life. Education can make a transformative difference, and keeping girls in school can create a solid foundation for better choices on building a career, owning property, and deciding whether and when to marry and have children. We must strive for a world where human beings, no matter their gender, can live a successful and healthy life.