Gender inequality and discrimination against women have been highlighted in the women's movements of the 20th century. During the past century, gender awareness has been enhanced through academic research, compilation of sex-disaggregated data, gender-based analyses of policies, equal opportunities legislation, feminist advocacy, and public education. Gender research and women's studies have been established in major academic institutions to build up the knowledge base. Non-governmental organizations have mobilized services and advocacy in the frontline. International and governmental institutions have drawn up mechanisms and legal instruments to address and redress women's concerns. The business sector has implemented policies to comply with the law and conform to modern management practices. There has been an overall improvement in the status of women in some parts of the world, and for certain sectors of women within a particular society. Yet, explicit and implicit barriers to gender equality prevail. Women's leadership positions are still in the minority and the situation of the feminization of poverty is deteriorating in many societies.