U.N. Study: 90% of All People Hold ‘Deeply Ingrained Bias’ Against Women

Protesters fill the street and pass the Space Needle during a women's march that brought tens of thousands Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Seattle. Women across the Pacific Northwest marched in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington and to send a message in support of women's rights and other …
AP/Elaine Thompson

Nearly 90 percent of the world’s population — of both genders — holds some form of prejudice against women, according to a U.N. study published Friday as a preview to International Women’s Day.

The “Gender Social Norms” index analysed biases in areas such as politics and education in 75 countries.

Its release came as twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attributed the shortfalls of failed female presidential candidates — Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and most recently Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — to “unconscious” gender bias.

Globally, close to 50 percent of men said they had more right to a job than women while almost a third of respondents thought it was acceptable for men to hit their partners, the U.N. report found.

The percentage of those holding at least one sexist bias was largest in Pakistan — where 99.81 percent of people held similar prejudices — followed by Qatar and Nigeria, both at 99.73 percent.

The United Nations Development Programme studied 80 percent of the world’s population to reach its conclusions and found that nine in 10 people — including women — hold such beliefs.

The prejudiced views include: that men are better politicians and business leaders than women; that going to university is more important for men than women; and that men should get preferential treatment in competitive job markets.

Countries with the lowest population of those with sexist beliefs were Andorra, at 27.01 percent, Sweden with 30.01 percent and the Netherlands, 39.75 percent.

France, Britain and the United States each came in with similar scores, 56 percent, 54.6 percent and 57.31 percent of people respectively holding at least one sexist belief.

The numbers show “new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality” despite “decades of progress,” the U.N. Development Programme said in an accomanying press release.

“The work that has been so effective in ensuring an end to gaps in health or education must now evolve to address something far more challenging: a deeply ingrained bias — among both men and women — against genuine equality,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said.

The agency called on governments and institutions to change discriminatory beliefs and practices through education.

Beyond inequalities in education, health and the economy, the U.N. pointed to one of the report’s most damning findings: 28 percent of people believe it is okay for a man to beat his wife.

Pedro Conceição, head of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office said: “We have come a long way in recent decades to ensure that women have the same access to life’s basic needs as men.

“But gender gaps are still all too obvious in other areas, particularly those that challenge power relations and are most influential in actually achieving true equality. Today. the fight about gender equality is a story of bias and prejudices.”

Supporters of  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) echoed some of the report’s talking points Wednesday when they blamed her lackluster Super Tuesday performance, in part, on sexism, contending that she would have been the frontrunner if she were a man.

Warren has since retired from the race although claims of anti-female prejudice have long resonated in Washington.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
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