UN Mongolia: End Disparity - Promote Equality

Mar 7, 2016

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (March 7, 2016) – Ending poverty and reducing inequality starts with empowering women. The theme of this year’s International Women's Day (IWD) is "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality". Gender equality is integral to the overall 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and today we highlight the need to accelerate actions towards this end.

Mongolia has made good progress in enhancing women’s role in society. However, in accordance with this year’s IWD theme, there are three areas that merit further attention – namely increasing women’s political representation, transforming gender inequalities in employment, and eliminating gender-based violence against women and girls.

Currently, the percentage of women in Mongolia’s national parliament stands at 14.5% and is below world average of 22.9% and Asia-Pacific average of 18.8%. The recent introduction of the legal quota of 30% of female candidates is expected to contribute to increasing women’s political representation. With the upcoming parliamentary elections voters and political parties have an opportunity to support women candidates. 

Inequality in the labor market is also a challenge. Despite their high level of educational attainment, women in Mongolia merely earn an average of 85% of men’s wages.  Women are often engaged in less paid professions and irrespective of their individual competencies, women tend to occupy lower ranks than men in the job hierarchy both in the public and private sectors.  To add to the challenge, Mongolian women spend double the time of men on household and care duties. The lack of social support systems for unpaid family responsibilities exacerbates the problem forcing women to choose between employment and care, or to carry a double burden. This impacts women’s participation in productive employment and in high-growth sectors in the economy, and has implications for their career progression, pensions and overall well-being. As elsewhere, the so called “sticky floor” and the “glass ceiling” are a reality for women in Mongolia that calls for effective response.

Lastly, as in many other countries violence against women and girls is widespread in Mongolia. It is estimated that one out of 5 women suffers physical violence within the family; and one out of 2 children is subjected to domestic violence. Statistics show that 88% of victims of domestic violence are women, and 40% of victims are young women and girls aged 15-34. Violence against women is a human rights violation that needs addressing.  

International Women’s Day is a time to call for broad based societal change to take action towards gender equality without which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be achieved. Planet 50-50 by 2030 is not a women’s agenda but a whole of society agenda.