Gender equality is a fundamental human right and pivotal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations to be attained by 2030. Female genital mutilation, early or childhood marriage, forced marriage, unequal access and rights of women and girls to education, economy and health care, or decision-making are few examples of gender discrimination which rules different cultures across the world. Gender equality is essential to create a safer, better, more prosperous and peaceful world.
Even though most of the countries have made some progress in fighting against these harmful practices and issues, so far no country has achieved complete gender equality. Till now there are 49 countries without any laws to protect against sexual violence or abuse and in 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.
Several individuals, groups, community, Government, and Non-profit Organizations are working towards eliminating gender discrimination. Below are the 5 major campaigns which made a huge impact recently in creating awareness by engaging common people, Governments and celebrities, empowering and educating both men and women, to create a more gender equal, sustainable world.
Founded by UN Women in 2014, HeForShe movement aims in breaking social norms by signing primarily up men and boys to support gender equality. HeForShe believes that Gender equality is not a women’s issue but a threat to global human rights. They work as a systematic platform to engage boys and men in partnership with women in taking direct actions to eradicate discrimination, violence, and oppression against women. Since it’s launch, hundreds of thousands of men across all walks of society, including Global leaders, diplomats, CEOs have committed to this innovative initiative as a change maker. IMPACT 10x10x10 is a pilot initiative of HeForShe, where leaders from three sectors-Governments, corporate and academia would be engaged to a top-down approach in making real changes and measurable progress in gender equality issues in their respective sector. #HeForShe
UniTE to End Violence Against Women is a campaign launched by United Nations Secretary-General in 2008 to end all forms of violence against all women in the world by actively engaging Policymakers as well as leaders from civil societies, private sectors, individuals and communities. The UNiTE campaign aims to enforce and implement laws and action plans to prevent violence against women and girls by educating and involving people from diverse backgrounds. This campaign also aims to address the worldwide use of sexual violence as a tactic of armed conflict. One of the key targets of the UNiTE campaign also is involving men and boys as an active change maker in this fight against sexual violence against women.
In October 2011, UN Women and Canada jointly developed this online platform on women’s economic empowerment. Since then Empower Women has spread across 190 countries, created more than 410 Champions for women’s economic empowerment and is the leading global movement for women’s economic empowerment. They are dedicated to empowering women economically by engaging and educating both women and men as advocates and change makers through a common platform by networking, sharing, peer learning and mentoring. #EmpowerWomen
In 2006, Tarana Burke started the Me Too movement to extend support and empathy to survivors of sexual violence by creating a larger network of survivors. What started as a grass root level campaign in 2006, became a global movement by 2017 through viral#Metoo hashtag on social media and created a huge impact in several countries in the world. The purpose of this movement was to help the survivors heal and de-stigmatize and to validate the trauma and pain of the survivors. This movement is the voice of survivors of sexual harassment and violence and led by survivors for survivors. They were also fighting for systemic changes in the social and criminal justice system. #MeToo
Girl Up is an initiative of the United Nations Foundation to engage and empower girls to stand up for each other and change the world. Girl Up provides leadership training and resources to girls to become gender equality advocates and leaders. Girls Up partnered with the United Nations to fund programs in five key areas -education, health, safety, leadership, and documentation. Gris Up was started as a campaign for American girls in 2010, but soon it began a global movement towards creating a network of girl leaders to transform the communities. To date, Girl Up has supported more than 34,000 girls worldwide through their different programs.