WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Women around the globe are living longer and healthier lives with more access to education, according to a new report released by the United Nations.

While the lives of females have improved in several areas over the last 20 years, leaders warn that many continue to be the victims of discrimination and violence, as reported by Newkerala.

The report found that overall women are living longer lives, benefiting from better access to education, and gaining more independence, based on research conducted by the Statistics Division of the U.N. Department for Economic and Social Affairs.

Globally, women have a life expectancy of 72 years old, while men have a life expectancy of 68. The number of maternal deaths declined by 45 percent between 1990 and 2013, according to the report.

Researchers found that women are getting married later than before, signaling higher education levels and increased economic independence.

As for education, the report found that the gender gap has narrowed in early education enrollment and that girls tend to perform better than boys through primary education in two thirds of countries.

However, the concentration of girls lacking access to education is particularly high in certain countries. The U.N. estimates that of the 58 million children that are out of school worldwide, more than half are girls and nearly three quarters live in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.

While the majority of young people around the world are literate, nearly two thirds of adults who are not are women.

An alarming finding from the study suggests that over one third of women worldwide have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence during their lives.

The study found that 50 percent of women of working age are in the labor force, compared to 77 percent of men. These women often work in low paid jobs and earn between 70 and 90 percent of what men earn.

Researchers say that gender representation in leadership positions is still found in many societies and that women often have an unequal voice in public and private environments.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says despite the advances, far too many women and girls are discriminated against, subjected to violence and denied equal opportunities across the globe.