which figures on gender inequality?

On this new International Women’s Day on March 8, here are numbers on gender inequalities and their evolution, but also keys to the origin of the date!

[Mis à jour le 8 mars 2022 à 12h05] This March 8 marks the date of International Women’s Day. Formalized by the United Nations in 1977, this initiative each year highlights the inequalities that have yet to be bridged between women and men, with supporting figures… especially in the professional world. Notably, on March 7, 2022, the Department of Labor published its fourth annual edition of the Professional Equality Index. This is used to measure equal pay within companies with a minimum of 50 employees. And the average rating of companies has increased from 85 out of 100 in 2020 to 86 out of 100 in 2021.

Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne also announced to Echos on March 7 that 16 companies that “have not reached 75 points for three consecutive years” will be subject to financial sanctions for the first time. According to INSEE, the average monthly net salary of women in France is 16.8% lower than that of men at the end of 2019, according to INSEE. Women’s rights activists also denounce violence against women and femicide, against a backdrop of sexism and patriarchy, knowing that in 2021 113 women were murdered by their husbands or ex-husbands (source: Femicide by Companions or Ex).


Find out on our dedicated page, by browsing using the summary at the topthe history of Women’s Rights Day and its origins, the reason for choosing the date of March 8 or even the theme chosen by the UN this year to symbolize the fight for women’s rights.

If the United Nations formalized this celebration (and the date) in 1977 and it was instituted by President François Mitterrand in France in 1982, the origins of Women’s Day, which has become “Women’s Rights Day”, must be sought further back in time: at time of the struggle of working women for better working conditions, and that of the suffragettes for the right to vote, in the first half of the 20th century. In 1957, the newspaper l’Humanité saluted the centenary of March 8, 1857, the day when “the garment workers of the city of New York paraded like men through the streets, with placards and banners” for better working conditions and respect for their dignity. . In 1908, this time on June 21, it was the turn of 250,000 suffragettes to claim women’s suffrage in London. A late 19th – early 20th century with a penchant for emancipation that would encourage the rise of International Women’s Rights Day decades later. The first International Women’s Day took place on March 19, 1911 (in Europe and the United States) and already called for more rights.

women’s suffrage. Poster published by the “Union Fraternelle des Femmes”. Paris, 1925. © YLI COLLECTION / SIPA

After the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco in 1945 to proclaim gender equality as a fundamental right, the demonstrations multiply once a year around the world for gender equality. These days are also an opportunity to take stock, especially in figures. Activists’ associations are also taking the opportunity to celebrate recent achievements and voice the demands still on the agenda.

The choice of March 8 as the date for women’s rights comes from communist Russia. In 1921, Lenin invoked March 8 as “International Women’s Day”, in memory of the first demonstration that launched the Russian Revolution, in 1917. That year Russian workers had decided to go on strike on the last Sunday of February to demand “bread and peace”† It was February 23, but in the Julian calendar… The date will be March 8 in our Gregorian calendar. It will be necessary to wait until 1977, in full succession of relaxation between the Eastern and Western blocs during the Cold War, before the United Nations adopts this day of the calendar after hesitating between several dates, such as that of March 19, memory of the first parades in the United States in 1911.

For each edition of “Women’s Day” a different theme is designated by the UN. For 2022 this is: “Equality today for a sustainable future”† A theme, the United Nations specifies, “in recognition of the contribution of women and girls around the world who are leading the offensive in adapting and responding to climate change and its mitigation, in favor of building a more sustainable future for all people. “

We might have expected a different evolution of the numbers on this topic: according to a recent study by YouGov* Only 64% of the French consider women and men to be equal, compared to 69% in 2015† According to the same survey, 88% of French residents surveyed believe that women and men should receive equal pay in general… compared to 93% in 2015. The study also gives different figures regarding the life experience of women in terms of societal perception of their strength and intelligence: When confronted with the statement “Someone assumed I was weak because of my gender”, 54% of the women surveyed stated that this situation has already happened to them, compared to 13% of the men surveyed. 36% of women in the YouGov panel also admit that someone has already assumed they are “less intelligent because of their gender”, compared to 16% of men.

* online, from February 1 to 2, 2021, with 1,001 people representative of the French national population aged 18 and over from YouGov France’s own panel

© YouGov