Gender equality is a concept that we find more and more in our daily lives: in the news, in our jobs, on social networks… But have you ever wondered what exactly it means? Why is gender equality still being claimed if all laws recognize the same rights for men and women? What is the difference between equality and equity? Today we want that when you finish reading this article, you have all the answers very clear.
According to the United Nations, gender equality refers to “the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men, and girls and boys”. Therefore, the sex with which we were born will never determine the rights, opportunities and responsibilities that we may have throughout our lives. gender equalityIt is therefore a universal legal principle, while gender equity also introduces an ethical component to ensure real equality that somehow compensates for the historical inequality that the female gender drags in terms of political representation or the labor market, among others. Equity must be applied to gender as it is applied in other areas, such as the tax system, where each person pays more or less depending on what they have.
Although gender issues have been on the international agenda for years, it is a fact that women and girls suffer discrimination and violence for the simple fact of being born a woman throughout the world. The OECD report “Pursuing gender equality: an uphill battle” makes this very clear when it ensures that no country in the world, not even the most egalitarian, has yet achieved gender equality. Precisely the Sustainable Development Goals , which must be met by 2030, establish in their objective number 5 “to achieve equality between the genders and empower all women and girls”.
The report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) presented in 2017 ensures that the existing gap in terms of gender equality will not be closed for at least 100 years. The figure is very negative because, in addition, it is the first time in the last 10 years that there has been a setback.
To measure the difference in terms of gender equality , we can look at five specific aspects: women’s political participation, access to education, access to the labor market, gender violence and finally, existing legislation aimed at to ensure measures that guarantee gender equality.
Gender equality: political participation
The political participation of women is one of the pending subjects throughout the world. It is curious (and very satisfying) to know that the country with the greatest equal representation of both sexes in its Parliament is Rwanda, with 64% of women deputies; It is followed by Bolivia, one of the countries where Ayuda en Acción works, with more than 52% of women representatives.
Gender equality: access to education
A third of developing countries have not yet achieved gender parity in access to primary education, despite the progress made thanks to the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015). Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the priority work areas for Ayuda en Acción; there, many girls still have serious difficulties enrolling in school, and even more so in secondary education: as girls become women, the gender gap and inequality are increasing (in many cases, for example, the girls are forced to marry as the only way out of a situation of extreme poverty). It is estimated that every day, 37,000 girls are forced into marriage , which is more than 15 million a year.
Gender equality: access to the labor market and wage inequality
According to the United Nations, there is a 24% wage difference between women and men worldwide.
The WEF Report that we mentioned before recognizes that if we talk about gender equality in the workplace, if the current trend continues, we will achieve it in the year 2234. Without a doubt, we will not see it.
Gender equality: sexist violence
Gender violence is the aspect related to gender equality that most affects the population in most countries. The figures provided by the United Nations speak of the fact that 35% of women worldwide have suffered physical and/or sexual violence by their partners. Intimate partner violence is just the tip of an iceberg that is beginning to refloat thanks to the visibility of cases in all aspects of life in recent years, especially in representative areas such as culture.
However, there are other types of sexual violence that are carried out systematically in different cultures, such as female genital mutilation , which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), currently affects 200 million girls and women.
Gender equality: legislation
Until four years ago, there were still 52 countries in the world in which the equality of rights and duties between men and women were not recognized in their Constitutions.
In addition to having the principle of equality recognized in our Constitution, we also have Law 3/2007 for the effective equality of men and women , which only adds reasons to achieve gender equality in our country. .
Gender equality: human mobility
In 2016 there were 244 million migrants in the world ; almost half of them are women. In Central America and Mexico, the number of migrant women even reaches 52% of migrant women.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the number of migrant women increased by 80%, exposing them to situations in which they start at a disadvantage compared to men. The figures and the special vulnerability of these migrant women, most of the time in a situation of poverty, are not accompanied by legislative measures to protect them in a special way.
What can we do to achieve gender equality?
If you are a woman , you can work for gender equality by getting directly involved in associations and organizations that work for equality between men and women in all areas of life. If you don’t have the chance to go one step further and get involved in citizen activism, you can talk about this issue with your friends and family, raising awareness of the obstacles that the female gender faces every day.
If you are a man , you can also get involved in feminist movements, because working to achieve real equality between men and women is a task in which all people must be involved. Plus, you can (and should) build respectful and healthy relationships with women, because in the end, it’s all about treating each other as equals.
If you hold positions of public responsibility , you can work every day to create standards and policies that help make equality finally a reality. If you work in teaching , you can educate in values ??so that children grow up knowing that their gender will not determine their future. If you work in the media, you can report from an inclusive point of view without playing gender roles.
Getting gender equality to exist is not an impossible task, but requires the involvement of all citizens. Whoever you are, you can join so that millions of women and girls in the world stop being invisible.