Every girl and woman in this world are entitled to equal rights and access to education, job, healthcare, and safety as that of a man. Unfortunately, that is not the case in any society in the world. Even in the developed countries, women face gender-based discrimination and biases in many spheres of their lives. To eliminate gender discrimination from our lives, we first need a great deal of awareness to acknowledge that it exists and then willingness to fight against it.
Gender-based inequalities cause violation of the human rights of women and girls across the Globe. Bringing gender parity is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations to be achieved by 2030. International humanitarian organizations and states have taken several initiatives, campaigns and programs to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination.
Many of us dream of a world free of sexism, misogyny, gender-based violence and oppression. This is possible by implementing gender-focused policies, plans and program as well as by promoting awareness about the harmful patriarchal norms and mindset.
Gender discrimination is not always associated with very violent outcomes, it is often invisible, and parts of our regular social pattern. To identify gender discrimination, we must first realize that it exists in each of our lives, sometimes in a rather subtle way.
Time For Self Reflection
Let’s first start with these 4 steps of self-reflection to increase our awareness level in identifying the gender biases in our lives –
1. Irrespective of your gender, pay attention to your own life, to your family members and surroundings to find out signs of gender-based biases and discrimination.
2. Do you and your partner, your mother and father, son and daughter enjoy the same rights, privileges, opportunities? Can women pursue career and education, express their social and political views or lead their lives the way they want? If not, do you think their ‘gender’ plays any role in it?
3. Now, reflect on your roles in these issues. You might or might not have an active role in perpetuating every form of gender equality, but you would most likely have some passive involvement in that.
4. Think about what you can do to eliminate these gender biases in your life or community. It’s not easy to change habits and cultures which are old and widely accepted.
Let’s face it and then address it
The basic idea behind this practice is accepting that we ALL are responsible for supporting gender inequalities. For instance, we think we can prevent sexual misconduct against women by restricting women and girls from certain activities. But the problems lie with the boys and men who violate or assault women. How often do we talk to our boys about treating women with respect?
Women and girls do the majority of the housework, cooking, and care-work. The burden of unpaid care severely impacts women’s ability to pursue a career, or run for public office. Men’s lack of participation in domestic work is a sign of oppression toward women, which people might ignore because of cultural influence.
Women also face severe discrimination and bias in their professional lives. They are often considered not smart or competent enough for leadership roles.
These are just a few examples of gender biases and injustices that women face. If we use a gender lens to study social norms and cultures, we would find it everywhere.
Let us initiate this journey by building our self-realization and self-awareness around this issue. With increased self-awareness and willingness to change the present reality, we can make the world a better place for women and girls. Once you’ve developed the awareness, you should focus on implementing gender equality in your own lives.
We must remember that we all have a responsibility to create a fair and safer world for women. Let us know if you have any concerns about these issues. Or if you need any help to practice gender equality in your own life. We are here to extend our support and guidance to you to be a change maker. Please read this Step By Step Guidelines for Men to Fight Against Gender Discrimination to access more resources about this.