The world’s population count reveals that women outnumber men; however, improving their lives and lengthening their lifespan is not on every government’s agenda. Women do enjoy better health services and greater rights in the developed world, but as the featured infographic suggests, the disparity can’t be missed as you scan and compare different areas of the world’s map.
Women live the longest in Japan, which is something you might be already familiar with. The Guinness World Record for oldest woman fairly often goes to supercentenarians coming from the Far East island nation. Countries such as Australia, Spain, or Finland also rank excellently on this global chart. But the bottom of the list is occupied by 30 African countries. At 54.5 years life expectancy average, Chad is the 2nd lowest – a striking contrast to Japan’s 87.2 average.
African countries also score high in maternal mortality rates, with the most devastating figure coming from Sierra Leone where 1,360 women die on average per 100,000 live births. Although, a number of wealthier countries also face with unexpectedly high mortality rates. Romania, which is part of the European Union, has a rate of 31 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births – that is the highest figure on the European continent. The United States has a rate of 26 deaths per 100,000 live births, similar to Russia with 25 per 100,000.
In relation to the percentage of women who have been subjected to intimate partner violence, perhaps the most shocking fact is that data is missing from over half the countries across the world. And for most countries which do have data, it seems violence remains a painstaking issue: from Bolivia in South America where 64% of women have reported violence, to Europe’s Denmark which scores 32%, to Bangladesh in Asia where the figure stands at 53%.
It is considered that many women around the world who have fallen victim to violence, may also be subject to early marriages as well. Besides that, women who are early married, between 15 and 19 years of age, are also often unable to complete education or may face other obstacles such as life in poverty and lack of proper health services and contraception. The implications of early marriage are further felt among the daughters of early married women, who just might be next in marrying young. As another section of the infographic highlights, with 61% Niger in Africa has the world’s highest rate of early marriage.
In regards to women’s suicide rates, the final issue reviewed by the featured infographic, India takes a lead in Asia with 14.5 suicide rate per 100,000 women. In Africa’s Lesotho, this figure jumps to 32.6 suicides per 100,000, while the U.S. joins the two in bottom 25%, albeit with a more modest 6.4 figure.
A plethora of questions remain open after looking at these figures. One of them certainly is how the world can improve the stats in general, and especially for those countries and continents where the figures are really disappointing. Can developing nations adopt better policies from developed ones? How much time will it take until all governments of the world take proper measures to keep all women and girls healthy and improve their lives?
This blog post and the featured infographic have been created for WomanStats use courtesy of MuchNeeded.com, using data from the World Bank.