Gender Equality : A Living Reality??
“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
― Gloria Steinem
Gender equality, equality between men and women, entails the concept that all human beings, both men, and women, are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles and prejudices. Gender equality means that the different behavior, aspirations, and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favored equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities, and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations, and opportunities.
— ABC Of Women Worker’s Rights And Gender Equality, ILO, 2000. p. 48
Gender Equality means equal opportunities to all, equal freedom to express themselves and to be who they want to be. It is a shame that we are still struggling to make this world equal for everyone in the 21st century.
Education is the first and foremost step towards creating an equal society. We not only need to educate the children but also the parents so they know that they do not need to act indifferent towards their child based on his/her gender. There has been much progress in increasing access to education, but progress has been slow in improving the gender sensitivity of the education system, including ensuring textbooks promote positive stereotypes. This is critically important for girls to come out of schools as citizens who can shape an equal society. In some countries, there is a tendency to assume that things are fine as long as there is an equal number of girls in schools.
Everyone should have complete control of their life, both within and outside of their home and workplace, they should be able to make their own choices and decisions, have equal rights to participate in social, religious and public activities, have equal social status in the society, have equal rights for social and economic justice, determine financial and economic choices, get equal opportunity for education, get equal employment opportunity without any gender bias, get safe and comfortable working environment.
Women’s empowerment has become a significant topic of discussion in development and economics. While often interchangeably used, the more comprehensive concept of gender empowerment refers to people of any gender, stressing the distinction between biological sex and gender as a role. It thereby also refers to other marginalized genders.
One more thing that needs to be eliminated from the society is the concept of gender roles. Gender roles in society mean how we’re expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned sex.
Girls and women are generally expected to dress in typically feminine ways and be polite, accommodating, and nurturing. Men are generally expected to be strong, aggressive, and bold. Women are often expected to be accommodating and emotional, while men are usually expected to be self-confident and aggressive. some people expect that women will take care of the children, cook, and clean the home, while men take care of finances, work on the car, and do the home repairs. Some people are quick to assume that teachers and nurses are women and that pilots, doctors, and engineers are men.
There are many ways to overcome these gender roles and they are –.
- Be a role model for your friends and family. Respect people regardless of their gender identity. Create a safe space for people to express themselves and their true qualities regardless of what society’s gender stereotypes and expectations are.
- If someone is making sexist jokes and comments, whether online or in person, challenge them.
- If you want to do something that’s not normally associated with your gender, give it a try.
‘’If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is the time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and equal.”