March is Women’s History Month in the United States. Historically, the government proclaims these four weeks as a celebration of women’s achievements, attempting to highlight our importance in the development of society.

However, for those of us who live the day-to-day life of being a woman, there really are as many things to celebrate as there are things to fight for.

Even more so when we see the reality experienced by millions of women around the world.

These are just some of the harsh realities that women live in the world today, and that make us fight for our rights every day of the year.

The rates of gender-based violence worldwide are shocking

Credit: CNS/Reuters/Sumaya Hisham.

At least one-third (or 30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.

In Latin America, a woman is murdered every two hours for gender-related reasons, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). There were over 4000 victims in the region in 2023.

In the United States, about 1 in 3 Latinas (34.4%) will experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime. And 1 in 12 Latinas (8.6%) has experienced some kind of intimate violence in the last 12 months.

Believe it or not, millions of women in the world do not have access to education

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According to World Bank numbers, girls’ enrollment in primary school in low-income countries is 78%, compared to the world average of 88%. Only 31% are in secondary school, compared to the global average of 66%. The main causes of this disparity continue to be poverty, gender-based violence, and child marriage.

More than 130 million girls in the world are out of school. And half a billion women in the world can’t read, according to

The good news is that in regions such as Latin America, 76.6% of women between 20 and 24 years old completed secondary education in urban areas, compared to 69.9% of men. While the lack of access to education for either gender is troubling, this demonstrates a reversal of the trends of previous decades in which women were often the first to sacrifice their professional careers.

The horrible reality of child marriage

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In the world today, 33,000 girls are being married per day. According to United Nations figures, more than 650 million women alive married as children. That’s double the population of the United States.

Every year, at least 12 million girls marry before they reach the age of 18. One in every five girls is married or in union before reaching age 18.

According to Girls Not Brides research, the Latin American country with the highest prevalence of child marriage is Honduras, with 34%. In Mexico, there are approximately 284,000 girls forced to marry before the age of 18. The figures in Brazil are not much different.

However, in countries such as Nigeria, 76% of girls are forced to marry before the age of 18. Some 28% are married before the age of 15.

Labor disparity remains the norm

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According to the most recent surveys, women perform more than three-quarters (76.4%) of unpaid care work worldwide, while men only perform 23.6%.

The proportion of women in developed countries is somewhat lower (65%), while in developing and emerging economies, women perform 80.2% of unpaid care.

Globally, girls aged 5-14 spend 550 million hours every day on household chores, 160 million more hours than boys their age spend.

Similarly, 104 countries have laws prohibiting women from accessing some jobs.

Afghan women protest the Taliban regime’s decision to ban them from work. Credit: PBS.

As explained, in sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls spend roughly 40 billion hours a year collecting water — the equivalent of a year’s worth of labor by the entire workforce in France.

According to the International Labour Organization, the current global labor force participation rate for women is just under 47%. For men, it’s 72%. That’s a difference of 25 percentage points, with some regions facing a gap of more than 50 percentage points.

This means nearly 2.4 billion women don’t have the same economic rights as men.

In Latin America, the gender wage gap is 20%. Meanwhile, in the United States, women typically earn 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. A Latina earns only 57 cents.

Women and girls make up 96% of those trafficked for sexual exploitation

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According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the global sex trade is the fastest-growing form of commerce, worth $32 billion annually. There are approximately 800,000 victims of human trafficking across international borders annually. Of These, 80% are women or girls, and 50% are minors.

More than 90% of detected female victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and they’re usually victims of sociopolitical crises.

In South America, the sexual exploitation of women and girls remains the most common form of human trafficking. A 2019 Polaris report found that 77 percent of immigrant victims from Latin America and the Caribbean were trafficked into labor situations, primarily into agriculture labor (Polaris). The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor generates annual profits of $12 billion from Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the United States, between 15,000 and 50,000 women and children are forced into sexual slavery every year.

Genital mutilation remains a reality for more than 200 million girls and women

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According to figures from the World Health Organization, women in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia continue to be victims of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Around 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM, most of them between infancy and the age of 15. This gruesome practice involves the partial or total removal of the glans clitoris, labia minora, or even the narrowing of the vaginal opening by creating a covering seal.

FGM has no health benefits and is only harmful to girls and women. According to the United Nations, it reflects a deep-seated inequality between the sexes. It is also an extreme form of discrimination against girls and women, is almost always practiced by traditional practitioners, and is a violation of human rights.