Part One of a two-part series on looking at gender equality before this year’s G7 summit.
As we congratulate the USA on victory at this year’s World Cup – and celebrate the huge strides being made towards gender equality worldwide – it was the bellowing call for equal pay heard during Saturday’s final that has reverberated around the world.
Because the truth is that the combined salaries of ALL the 1,693 women playing football in the top seven leagues worldwide adds up to just $41.6m per year – a sum total less than the $41.7m paid to Brazillian superstar, Neymar, by his club Paris St. Germain.
And that’s for those who are allowed to play at all; millions of women face legal and cultural barriers that stop them from stepping on to a pitch, or even celebrating in a stadium.
But it’s not just sports where women’s opportunities are restricted.
At current rates, it will take 108 years for gender equality to be achieved around the world, and removing discriminatory laws and practices will be a critical step in speeding up this process.
That’s why we’re calling on world leaders to take practical steps to improve the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide at this year’s G7 Summit. Because 2019 must be about real progress, not empty promises.
To do this, we call on G7 nations and their African counterparts to commit to a range of new laws that ensure gender equality for all. In case those leaders need reminding, here’s just a few of the reasons why laws must change. Immediately.
Women can be…
raped – In Senegal, it is not yet a crime for a man to rape a woman.
married as a child – Child marriage is legal in over 100 countries. In Sudan, the law allows for girls as young as 10 to be married off as long as they have the permission of a judge, while in the US there is no federal law regarding child marriage.
beaten – In multiple countries, there are no legal protections against domestic violence. Under Nigeria’s penal code, violence “by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife” is perfectly legal.
kidnapped – In Malta, a man can be exempt from punishment for kidnapping a woman if he marries his victim.
work certain jobs – In Russia, women are barred from working 456 different jobs that the government has deemed a threat to women’s health.
get a divorce – In Israel, marriages and divorces sit under rabbinical law, which states that divorces can only take place if requested by the husband.
work without their husband’s permission – in 18 countries, married women cannot get a job without their husband’s consent.
leave the house – in over a dozen countries, married women need their husband’s permission to travel outside their home.
This year’s G7 marks a moment where the world must wake up to this discrimination, and reverse these antiquated laws, once and for all.