Amongst the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations in 2015, ‘Gender Equality’ is the 5th. Achieving gender equality has a positive impact not just on the lives and livelihoods of girls and women, but the entire population, and economy – it is central to the success of a country.
Despite efforts and laws made to support women, gender equality remains a barrier in human development with women often facing discrimination in the labour market, political representation, health, and education.
Here are some stats:
- Over 150 countries have at least one actively sexist law
- Each minute, 28 girls are married before they are ready
- 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime
- In most countries, women only earn between 60 and 75% of men’s wages – for the same work
- 63 million girls still need to go to school
Despite increase in efforts to provide women with equal rights and opportunities, obstacles and gender gaps remain limiting their inclusion in the society. This also varies by geographic areas where some countries are more inclined towards women’s right than others.
So, what is the role of the society in this and how can they contribute to gender equality?
- Government support: Through laws that protect the rights of women and provide them equal employment opportunities and benefits regardless of gender, race, color, and religion. Similarly, by supporting active participation of women leaders in communities and the political arena
- Non-Profit Organisations: By ensuring the voice of women are heard when designing and implementing any programmes, building capacity of staff in gender mainstreaming, as well as implement programmes that facilitate women in skills and livelihood development.
- Employers: By ensuring equal work hours, pay benefits, other fringe benefits, and leadership roles for women where they deserve it.
- Schools: By including gender equality as part of the curriculum, and provide a gender friendly environment in schools.
- Community members and family: By encouraging girls’ education from early age, women participation in workforce, and their voices and ideas to be heard in the community.