Even before a child is born, gender inequalities shape their lives. Harmful social and gender norms often constrain girls’ health, education, and futures. For example, sex selective abortions are still prevalent in some countries. Girls are often less likely to complete secondary school due to child and early marriage, pregnancy, and unpaid care and domestic work.
But norms can also be harmful for boys, who are often expected to conform to and uphold restrictive ideas of masculinity, which limit their cognitive and emotional development.
These inequalities continue and are often exacerbated in adulthood and old age. Adult women are more likely to be poorer than men and face discrimination in the labour market, including the gender pay gap.
Despite considerable advancements in our understanding of how gender dynamics interplay from childhood to adolescence and through to old age, significant gaps remain that limit the acceleration of global progress towards gender equality. UNICEF Innocenti is contributing to UNICEF’s mission of achieving gender equality by building the evidence base on: