This Report focuses on the critical question of advancing gender equality, as seen through the prism of women’s unequal power, voice, and rights. Despite the region’s many economic gains, the Report chronicles how in many instances women across the region continue to be held back and disadvantaged. Even as many women have benefited from their countries’ improved education, health, and prosperity, they continue to face barriers to the same opportunities available to men. The Report makes it clear that achieving gender equality promotes human development—not only for women, but for whole societies, and is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Where we see progress towards these goals lagging the most is often where the needs and status of women and girls are accorded low priority.