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From domestic abuse to the gender pay gap; what every woman should know about the world we live in today

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How many girls are forced to get married before their 18th birthday? How many countries in the world don't support mums with paid maternity leave? What proportion of the global female population suffers sexual or physical violence? 

We tend to think women's rights around the world are improving - and they are - but newly released figures cast a stark light on the work still to be done.

This week has seen the release of the No Ceilings report with the most comprehensive set of data to date providing information on the current status of women and girls globally.

The report has the backing of Hillary Clinton, her daughter Chelsea Clinton and philanthropist Melinda Gates, who presented the findings at a United Nations event in New York this week. 

United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Hillary Clinton and other world leaders at the UN event on women's rights this week

The numbers presented look at everything from girls' education to female executive levels and women's access to the internet around the world. They show exactly how much progress has been made since the last major conference on global women's rights in Beijing 20 years ago - and the challenges that still remain. 

There are plenty of barriers to overcome; currently one in three women suffer some form of sexual or physical violence in her lifetime, a quarter of girls are married under the age of 18 and one in nine countries don't provide mothers with paid maternity leave, including the United States.

The folks over at Refinery29.com have cleverly put together this infographic as a snapshot guide to the headline figures: 

(Graphic from Refinery29)

(Graphic from Refinery29.com)

The report shows that progress has been made in the past two decades, and there's both good news and bad news to draw from.

Health and education have vastly improved for women worldwide since 1995, with the maternal mortality rate halved since 1995 and attendance at primary school nearly equal among boys and girls. 

But women’s economic participation has not kept pace and the gap in secondary school education for women and wage equality is severely lacking.

Actress Patricia Arquette recently brought up the issue of the gender pay gap in an impassioned Oscars acceptance speech. "It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America," she said, to a crowd of leading Hollywood directors and actors. 

Hillary Clinton presenting the report to the UN

Hillary Clinton

Clinton, who is expected to run for president in 2016, said the figures should be used as a blueprint for the barriers we, as women, need to overcome in the coming years. 

"This data is a benchmark of our progress but also a roadmap for the work ahead," she said, speaking to the UN this week. "We’re excited for you to dig into this data yourself: to use it, to share it, to get motivated by it.

"When women and girls have an opportunity to participate, we can lift up not just ourselves but our families, communities, and even our countries. This isn’t just a story about women and girls. It is a universal story about the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren."

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