Across the Asia Pacific, many countries have laws and policies that protect women and girls from discrimination and promote gender equality. However, the situation on the ground can often be very different.
Entrenched roles, attitudes and stereotypes also mean that many experience poverty, discrimination and unequal access to health services and the education and justice systems.
Women and girls in the region also face serious violations of their human rights, such as gender-based violence, harassment and human trafficking.
While positive changes are taking place, the pace of change remains slow. It is also made more difficult when women in the Asia Pacific region continue to be significantly underrepresented in political decision-making.
Graphic: Mother and daughter smiling
More and more, women and men are living in greater equality and harmony. But the change is too slow. Gender equality is critical if we are to address all the global challenges we face.
Roberta Clarke, UN Women