United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres brought to our notice that gender equality is 300 years away in a speech to commemorate women’s day. This speech of the ostensibly bleak future was delivered to launch fourteen days of discussion presided over by the Commission on the Status of Women.
The fight for the equal rights of women started with the suffragette movement where women wished to represent their issues by casting votes at the leadership level. A fight that started then has come a long way in terms of women’s participation, employment, and liberation. Then why does a world that consists of half women, find gender equality to be three centuries away?
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Gender Equality Is 300 Years Away: Causal Factors
If the distant future of gender equality doesn’t sound concerning then perhaps the cost of excluding women might concern you. Creating conducive environments for the participation of women would have amounted to $1.5 trillion by 2025. Low and middle-income nations have suffered an estimated loss of $1 trillion in GDP for the exclusion of women.
Guterres conveyed that women’s rights are being globally threatened, violated, and abused. He added that the progress that nations had made over the years was being erased. Guterres did not name all the nations responsible for this backtrack of progress. Every other nation with high-income or middle-income needs to put in work for women-led development.
The global maternal mortality rate calls for concern and the facilitation of policies by nations to lower it. The onset of the pandemic saw numerous caregivers all across the world lose their jobs.
Nations like India struggling with the digital divide saw the dropping out and exclusion of girl children when online learning took precedence during the onset of the pandemic. This led to a rise in child marriages.
Nations like the United States where women enjoyed autonomy over their bodies lost it with the overturning of Roe Vs Wade.
Iran, a country that once enjoyed a hijab-free regime in history, saw the imposition of clothing and the loss of the lives of several women protesting for the cause.
The progress made by women in Afghanistan is being erased every day by the misogynistic regime of the Taliban. Women have lost access to education, movement, divorce, clothing, and most of their rights to lead dignified lives. Women who had remarried have been labeled ‘adulterous’. In some nations, girls going to educational institutions stand the risk of getting kidnapped and trafficked.
The Russian-Ukraine hostilities have been seeing violence against women. Gendered violence was on the rise during the lockdown with women not being able to step outside of their houses. Perpetrators of such crimes require speedy dispensation of justice by the judiciary, a facility that several nations yet lack.
STEM subjects lack enough participation by women. Guterres conveyed that patriarchy and harmful gender stereotypes are what have been getting in the way. Only 3% of women stand as Nobel prize winners from the science and technology segment.
Women including urban women find themselves performing imbalanced work roles with domestic tasks claiming most of the time. How can global participation of women be accomplished if women remain the victims of gender stereotypes around domestic chores? A harmony of balance needs to be reached there.
Nations need to work towards facilitating gender perspectives in their developmental discussions. Only then can parity be attained at a swifter pace. Guterres called for collective actions by Nations to bridge the digital divide and facilitate gender-responsive education. The evil of gender inequality can only be eradicated by a collective effort in every corner of the world.