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Progress of the World's Women 2002: Volume 2: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals

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At the Millenium Summit in September 2000, the largest ever gathering of world leaders agreed to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of time-bound and measurable goals and targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and gender inequality. Gender equality is not only a goal in its own right (goal number three), but is taken to be a means to achieving the other MDGs. This volume examines the strengths and weaknesses of the MDGs in tracking progress for women and suggests improvements and alternatives. The main section consists of a largely statistical international cross-country assessment of women's situation at the beginning of the new millennium, using the MDG indicators for goal three. Women in sub-saharan Africa face the greatest challenges with the highest level of maternal deaths and prevalence of HIV/AIDS, low levels of education and literacy, and low wage employment among women. Nevertheless, women are beginning to play a greater role in decision-making, as members of parliament and as activists.