When it comes to gender inequality, many people don’t even accept that there is anything called Gender Gap. They consider all gender biases and inequalities as social and cultural traditions and feel it is ideal to adhere to these traditions. They also fail to acknowledge that there is systematic gender discrimination almost everywhere in the world.
What is Gender Gap? And How it is Measured?
The Global Gender Gap Index ranks countries according to calculated gender gap between women and men in four key areas: health, education, economy and politics to measure the state of gender inequality in a country.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report, 2017published by World Economic Forum, the gaps between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment is still very wide. Only 58% of the economic participation gap has been closed—a second consecutive year of reversed progress and the lowest value measured by the Index since 2008—and about 23% of the political gap, against a long-term trend of slow but steady improvement.
I wish to reiterate that, gender discrimination, sexual and domestic abuse against women, female infanticide or dowry murders are not only women’s issues. These are human rights issue and can affect economic and social growth of society.
It is the responsibility of every person, irrespective of their gender, religion, ethnicity, social and cultural background to think and act responsibly to make this goal a reality.
Without active participation of men in this fight, we would never have an equal world.
Mind The Gap
Be mindful your unconscious biases about the existing gender gap, and try to minimize it. Remember, You too, are a very important part of this change.
As we all are working towards making this society gender-equal, I request everyone reading this post, to spend 10 minutes of your daily time just to think and reflect on your roles and be mindful about the gender gap in your life .
Look around yourself, in your family and community to identify rules, signs, customs and traditions to figure out if –
# Females are treated and considered as equally capable as males
# Girls and boys have similar lives and freedom
# Women are allowed to live their lives in their own terms
# Women and Girls have rights to dress up , behave, get married or pursue a dream as per their own choices
# Girls and Women feel safe in all the public places. etc. (The list could be very long and never-ending!!)
How Can you make a difference ?
Before you start taking any action, it is very important to understand which area, issue or social custom bothers you most or you are really passionate about creating a difference. Where can you be most effective and most authentic in your fight against discrimination. Along with awareness and a burning desire to make a difference, you might need lot of perseverance and a self- motivation.
Reflect on your own life
Probably you have grown up with a cultural believe that the only aim of a woman’s life is to be a good wife and a good mother. Women must stay at home, do the household chores and raise the family. Even the thoughts of seeing your wife pursuing a job or a career makes you uncomfortable. Please question the validity and relevance of this cultural believe. Please ask yourself, why a woman can not be economically independent , or a man can not cook or look after his kids? How could it even negatively affect any family, society or country ?
Having said that, I understand it is probably much more difficult to change our own habits and unconscious biases than to fight and advocate for social changes!
But, the best way to influence others is by setting an example. However slow, or challenging the process might be, aim to set an example by the way you lead your life! That’s is probably the best way to start!
Support, advocate and follow
It is not possible for every one to be a social reformer. But we can make small but significant changes in our outlook towards women’s rights and independence.
Pick up one issue, however small it might be, where you think you could make a real difference. It might not necessarily be a very big or rebellious step. It could be as small as making sure you are involving your son along with your daughter in cleaning, cooking or other household chores, or helping your wife in raising kids or cooking or allowing your daughter to pursue her career. These are just few examples and definitely not all-inclusive. If you are genuine and diligent about making small but significant changes in the society, you ARE a change maker!
Be an advocate of the causes you sincerely care about. Try to raise awareness and educate people about the negative socio-economic impact of gender discrimination. Help people come out of the bubble of cultural and religious values. Help them realize how some of the social customs like FGM, Dowry, physical and sexual violence again women, forced and child marriage violates fundamental human rights!
Be Ready to face challenges
Making a big step may involve, not following something which the society or culture expects us to follow. It may not always be easy to ignore social customs and need a bigger commitment. Going against one’s culture or community might even cause a huge penalty and involve lot of risks. Changing these social practices require the engagement of community, religious and state leaders and could be a very slow process. But if you, as an individual, feel there is some way you can make a difference in the lives, go for it. Don’t wait for the world to agree with you.
Have a dream or a vision
Remember, a healthy, educated and independent mother will always produce and raise empowered and enlighten children , who in turn will make this world a much more beautiful place. Make this world a better place by empowering women and by eliminating gender gap and gender based discrimination. You courageous and exemplary act today could make the lives of many girls and women better tomorrow.
#YouToo #Mindthegap #genderequality #rightsofequality #gendergap #genderdiscrimination
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