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    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    The UN Makes a Discovery That Could Change Your Life

    I never really thought about it, but maybe there's a problem with gender inequality:

    The UN Population Fund's annual State of World Population report said "gender apartheid" could scuttle the global body's goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

    "We cannot make poverty history until we stop violence against women and girls," the fund's executive director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, said at the report's launch in London on Wednesday.

    "We cannot make poverty history until women enjoy their full social, cultural, economic and political rights."

    The report said gender equality and better reproductive health could save the lives of two million women and 30 million children over the next decade - and help lift millions around the world out of poverty. . .

    Gender discrimination, the report said, lowered productivity and increased health care costs and mortality.

    Improving women's political, economic and education opportunities would lead to "improved economic prospects, smaller families, healthier and more literate children, lower HIV prevalence rates and reduced incidence of harmful traditional practices". . .

    The report said progress had been made in many countries, but was too slow.

    Women fill only 16% of parliamentary seats around the world, an increase of 4% since 1990.

    The highest rates are in Rwanda - where 49% of parliamentarians are women - and Sweden.

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