By: Popal Sameem
Gender inequality still exists around the globe despite substantial national and intern national measures that have been taken towards gender equality. The degree and cause of gender inequality vary throughout the world. There are various measurements for gender equality which includes access to basic education, health and life expectancy, equality of economic opportunity, and political rights. However, there has been evidence that proves gender equality still exist around the world. Women still suffer from gender inequality and being discriminated. Around the world, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education or in some developing countries don’t have access to education at all, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation. Giving and guaranteeing the rights of women and giving them the opportunities to reach their full potential is very crucial not only for attaining gender equality but also for societies’ development. In my opinion, empowering women and girls are very important for the societies to develop. Women can contribute more to the health and productivity of their families, communities, and countries. Furthermore, the role of women in societies is very important and they are the important part of men’s life and the backbone of society. The rights of women should be given in every society and in every aspect of life.
In order to be able to achieve gender equality and ensure that the rights of women be given, it is essential to understand the meaning of gender as opposed to sex.
Sex; refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.
Gender; refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.
Gender roles; are the particular economic, social roles and responsibilities considered appropriate for women and men in a given society. Gender roles and characteristics do not exist in isolation but are defined in relation to one another and through the relationship between women and men, girls and boys (NWIA 2002).
Gender equality; refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men and girls and boys. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both, women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups’ women and men.
Gender equality is a basic human right. Both male and female should be treated equally regardless of their gender, colour, and race. Throughout the world still gender inequality exists even in developed countries. However, in under developing countries women don’t have the basic rights for education, healthcare, safety, and political participation. They are the more victims of domestic violence. In addition to that, they are fully dependent on their husbands, fathers, and brothers. Basically, women are treated lower than men. They are being discriminated in many ways.
Both men and women have the right to be treated equally. It is their basic human right. Both women and men are entitled to live with dignity and with freedom from want and from fear. They should have equal rights, access to education, healthcare, politics and so on. Women can play very important role in reducing poverty, promoting developments, and they can contribute to the society in many ways. They should be given the rights to actively take part in the politics. They should be given the same opportunities, rights, and obligations in all aspects of life. Furthermore, the gender equality will be achieved only when both women and men share equal rights in distribution of power and influence, having equal opportunities for financial independence, education and personal ambitions.
Why is gender equality essential?
All around the world, most of the countries recognize and support the equal rights between women and men. In addition to that, many countries around the globe have created regulations to fight discrimination and organized many programs grating women access to education, health, economic rights, and participation in politics. But in reality, the facts remain that women around the world even in developed societies have fewer opportunities than men in many sectors of life. For example, women’s wages are less than men even they perform the same work.However, it is very important to create an open and friendly environment to address discrimination issues and it is also very critical to involve both men and women rather only women. As we know that, it is very difficult to eliminate gender inequality without the perception and involving men as a part of the solution. Here are few reasons why gender equality is important for everyone, not only for women.
Gender diverse societies, companies, and organization perform better.
In gender diverse communities everyone benefit and learn new things from each other. It helps people to communicate and know each other in better way. We can benefit from each other’s ideas and perspectives and help us to better understand our potential. We can share our ideas and perspective with each other and develop new innovative ideas. In addition to that, both men and women can encourage each other to learn new skills and help each other. When societies provide equal opportunities to women and men alike, they motivate men to get involved as supportive partners in equal opportunity. Furthermore, gender equality means simply that everyone has access to same benefit, which is why equality is everyone issue. Everyone in the society, company, organization, and government should be treated the same regardless of their gender. For example, in workplace, gender equality is achieved when people both women and men are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities. The main goal of gender equality in the workplace is to achieve broadly equal outcomes for both genders, not necessarily outcomes that are exactly the same for all. Furthermore, achieving gender equality in the workplace is not only important because of it is fair or the right thing to do, but it is important because it is also linked to a countries’ overall economic performance. Gender equality in the business will help to improve national productivity and economic growth. It will also lead to the organization better performance and enhance the ability of companies to attract talent and retain employees. One of the most important things which are the reputation of the organization, the gender equality will help to enhance organizational reputation.
The inequality between women and men hurt the development and prosperity. However, providing equal opportunities for men and women give them the chance to use their talents in the workplace and make better choices for themselves, families, and communities. As we know that, most of the families around the world give women fewer opportunities than men. For example, many families decide that they can’t afford to send their all children to school so they only send their sons, assuming that the daughters are earning potential is less or think that women are less intelligent than men. So in that case, daughters, therefore, receive less schooling and make them less likely to be employed or participate in business or government. But that is not true, empowering, educating, and giving women rights help the societies to develop and prosper. Women play a very important role in the development of communities and without their role the communities will be always imperfect and face many problems. Women are the valuable part of this world and they deserve to be treated equally.
Both women and men are parts of solution
In most of the societies, women are the victims of gender inequality. Furthermore, discrimination against women is alive and still exists around the globe. The road to equality between men and women continues to be a bumpy one. There are many constant streams of stories that show gender disparities both in the work and home. In my opinion, it is not just the responsibility of women to voice for themselves but also men should stand up and become part of the fight to abolish the binary between the genders. In addition to that, it is not the job of a woman to convince a male of the importance of gender equality, but man also should be responsible for their own misogyny and that of other men. The fight for gender equality benefits both men and women. Both genders should be given their rights and choices. For example, if a woman chooses to become a lawyer, lecturer or work anywhere, she should be given the same opportunity as a mean and should receive the same salary. Similarly, if a man chooses to be a stay at home (Dad) this is his right. Men and women should promote their own choices. A society cannot operate to its full potential when half of its members do not have equal rights and voices.
Around the world, many people believe that women are weak and less intelligent and don’t have the ability to contribute to society. But this is not true; women are already playing a crucial role in developing sustainable development solutions. Most of the time women contributions are not recognized. According to the United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) women comprise around 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries. Even the percentage is very which is 80 percent in some African countries. So it’s clear that this makes women the principal agents of food security and household welfare in rural areas. Women should be seen as rights-holding citizens, recognized for the agency, skills and experience they can contribute.
As we know that gender equality is linked to sustainable development and is vital to the realization of human rights for all. The overall objective of gender equality is a society, community, or any place in which both women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all aspects of life. Furthermore, equality between men and women exists when both genders are able to share equal opportunities in the distribution of power and influence, have the equal opportunities for financial independence through work, and enjoy equal access to education, share responsibility for the home and children. Women should be given the chance to share their opinions and make decisions. In many traditional societies women are excluded or disadvantaged in relation to decision making and access to economic and social resources. For example, in my country Afghanistan, in many rural areas women don’t have access to basic education and health care. They are regarded to be stayed at home. They don’t have the right to make decision and speak for themselves. Moreover, women and girls in Afghanistan continue to face persistent discrimination, violence, street harassment, forced and child marriage, severe restrictions on working and studying outside the home, and limited access to justice.However, without the equal rights of women and men, the country will never be able to stabilize and develop in a sustainable way.
Gender equality is important for sustainable development
There is a strong connection between gender equality and sustainable development of society. Furthermore, for a sustainable development in the societies, it is very important to ensure gender equality. As we know that, gender equality is the right thing to do whether it is in the government, business, or institutions. However, gender bias is still deeply embedded in cultures, political and social institutions around the world especially in third world countries. Women and girls are facing unacceptable levels of discrimination and abuse in the third world countries. This is not only wrong but also prevents them from to take part in society and decision making. When women don’t take part in the society or their rights are being ignored, that society will never progress in a sustainable way. Women play very important role in the family and society. In addition to that, women are the key managers of natural resources and they are the powerful agents of change in the communities. They have different perspectives and, concerns and ideas for changes.They have been and are the central actors in pathways to sustainable development of societies. For example, during the Taliban and Mujahedeen regime, the position of women in Afghanistan was among the worst in the world. There was no girls’ education; women can’t go out of home and work, and women were not allowed to work in the government and any other company or organization. In addition to that, restrictions on women under the Taliban and Fundamentalist Mujahedeen groups were severe and the women were excluded from jobs and educational opportunities.And still women are usually less educated than men. In some rural areas even boys are not allowed to go to school or they don’t have access to basic education. One of the reasons that Afghanistan doesn’t develop faster and always suffer from war is gender inequality. For the betterment of Afghanistan, women’s rights within proper local, cultural and religious context is critical and any successful women’s movement must involve men and boys.
Gender equality is very important for the development of countries, societies, and communities. Furthermore, to achieve a just and sustainable future, we cannot forget and ignore the rights, dignity, and capabilities of women and their roles in society. They are parts of the world and they have great impacts on sustainable developments. Gender equality is not only the concern of half of the world’s population but it is a human right, a concern for all of us because no society around the globe can develop economically, politically, or socially without gender equality. For example, many poor countries around the world suffer economically and socially because of gender inequality. As we know that Afghanistan is one of the countries that suffered and suffers from long war, poverty and other problems. There is a huge gap between genders in the country. Afghan women struggle very hard for parity in education, health care, economic opportunities, and political empowerment. However, one of the ways to see better Afghanistan, Afghan women must play an active role in the future stability and development of Afghanistan and they should be given their rights in every sphere of life. Afghanistan cannot and avoid poverty, injustice, violence, and other major problems unless women fully participate in the country’s economic, social and political life.
Gender equality is a basic human right. Both women and men are entitled to live with dignity and freedom from wants and from fears. Gender equality is very important issue in today’s world. Many debates, conferences, programs were held to address this issue. However, gender equality is very important and it is achieved when both men and women enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of life, including economic participation, political participation, and decision making. Gender equality has great impacts on society and communities. It is very important for the sustainable development of society, community, and country. It is not only the responsibility of women to voice out for gender equality but it is the responsibility both men and women to work and voice out for gender equality. In order to have a change and a better future, we need all need to stand together and recognize gender equality. We should support each other and fights for our rights. A society cannot work and operate to its full potential when half of its members do not have an equal voice.