Before we understand the concept of gender equality, we need to ensure that we have a fundamental idea of what equality means. Making sure that each individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, despite the major demographic factors inclusive of religion, race, and gender, is considered to be one of the most essential factors required to ensure that equality among the cultures or sexes is nurtured. Gender equality is a human right that expects all genders to be provided with equal chances and opportunities in all aspects.
Dating back to when women were only expected to engage in domestic duties, it is evident that they were viewed as the weaker part of the community. Their opinions were often neglected when it comes to making certain decisions due to the common practice of relying on men for financial support.
Due to societal norms around the world, the majority expects women to be patient and soft. They are working for the “man that provides for the family”. Upon review, it can be stated that being born as a female is considered an offense in some parts of the world, taking into consideration the fact that the mother is blamed by those who have not been educated from a biological standpoint, about the said “mishap”.
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”– Emma Watson
Other than these two genders, the different genders such as non-binary, transgender, etc. have been going through many hardships for a very long time. They were not even treated and accepted as a part of society for years. And they still find it challenging to live a simple everyday life. History shows us enough evidence that society has never been fair to them. Although we can see the state of acceptance by society, and the improvement of people’s attitudes towards them, they continue to face exclusion and discrimination. These occur in the industries such as education, employment, and health care – as well as within homes and communities. And many were harassed, beaten, sexually assaulted, tortured, and killed.
We can start attaining Gender equality from the smallest part of the community, which is home. We can begin by accepting them, showing respect, and cooperating. Parents have the habit of providing pink to girls and blue to boys, buying cars and gun toys for the boys and dolls and kitchen sets for the girls. As parents, we should encourage our children to respect their differences and give them a proper environment to grow, learn, preserve and be non-biased about their choice of colors, toys, and games. Whatever a child sees and learns in childhood will be reflected when they become adults. Children pick up knowledge and are influenced by what they see and hear from others. They frequently mimic people they observe in books, movies, and their environment. So, the lesser the gender prejudice mannerisms in any characters portrayed in the media, the better environment is provided to the children to absorb equality.
Gender equality in education is crucial because it has a huge impact on children. Giving unbiased examples, including all students in courses, having comprehensive sex education programs, and supplying adequate sanitation facilities should be maintained. Due to inadequate school facilities, reports show that many females drop out of school.
When it comes to the work environment, giving women and men the same respect is the first step in the practice of gender equality. Equal possibilities for promotion must exist to ensure better equality in the work culture.
Equal participation by all genders in decision-making, household tasks, and care needs to be encouraged. Everyone must be treated with respect and on an equal footing. As gender equality improves the safety and health of our communities, promoting gender equality can result in a more peaceful society. Involving women and gender-diverse groups in all decision-making processes can lead to sustainable peace in the long run.
Written by: Rtr. Divani Canisius
Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe