As we live in the 21st century, we are dominated by technology, experience non-stop innovations, our language has evolved, and we have forgotten a lot of norms that were created by our ancestors, despite this, we still pay a huge importance towards cultures and teachings that have been followed by many since the beginning of time. With respect to gender, culture has long determined the roles of men and women that they must play in the society, all of which are greatly in favor of men- it encompasses how they must act, their power in decision making and control over available resources, and how men are more superior than women. To my great relief, I have learned that these women, much as they respect their corresponding cultures, did not stop themselves from creating an impact in the society and continuously fought for the rights of women around the world who receive unfair treatment from their families, societies, and countries.
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Although women are continuously being introduced in workplaces of various industries, they are given roles at work which are perceived to be mediocre and less important than those which males do, as a result, they earn far less than men of the society. Industries, regardless of whether they are dominated by men or not, must overlook gender and start considering the person’s skills, capabilities, and possible contributions in the company; what they do not know is that they have been missing a lot of things by simply not having women take up productive roles.
Prior to having read the article, I was not aware of the difference between gender equality and gender equity; from my own understandings, I have grasped that equality, from the word itself, meant that we give the same amount of the same things to two different groups regardless of whether one initially had something more than the other. Equity, however, is providing the same or different things to two different groups for them achieve equality; equality may promote fairness, however, the two groups must already be in the same starting points and already receiving the same treatment, so for me, right now we need gender equity more as it recognizes the individual and different needs of men and women; even as a woman in society, I believe that we do not have to turn a blind eye to the needs of men as even they experience gender prejudice in society.
Moreover, despite the problems that the achievement of gender equality faces, it was comforting to discover how much awareness on the issue of gender equality can do so much for the lives of many people, especially women. According to the article, “As awareness grows within an organization, so the emphasis of gender training shifts to more tailored courses to meet specific needs and demands, and to more skills-based training. Gender training was initially mainly focused at the project level, but more recently emphasis has shifted to sectoral and macro-economic policy-making.” With the help of more gender equality and feminist movements, I believe that awareness could be spread throughout easily especially with how many people are starting to become aware of the issue of gender equality. Once more organizations are able to see how much economic benefits women can bring, then they would not hesitate to train and employ more women in their companies and giving them positions which have always been offered towards men.
Rape and domestic violence have always been topics which I had avoided for I could not stomach the reality of what women who go through this face. It was disturbing to discover how a person’s dignity and innocence is used against them as a form of revenge and even as a weapon of war. What was appalling was the fact that thousands had to go through this unimaginable act in order for the world to have its own awakening concerning the topic; only after having thousands of rights violated was when people decided to create activities and movements and decided to consider it an unlawful act and have those responsible punished by the law.
Women and men must have equal access towards every single facility which the Earth and the government provides. As stated in the article, “Gender analysis has revealed some evidence of bias against female members of households in the allocation of resource such as income, food, nutrition, health care and education,” women have a higher literacy rate compared to men as the society believes that having quality education are quite ‘useless’ for women as they are expected to stay home, build a family, and answer to domestic needs. The article even stated that even something as simple as sex education isn’t being taught towards women; as a result, they end up bearing children who they are not able to support and some even experience teenage pregnancies. Depriving women of the education they deserve also deprives them of the chance to pursue their own careers and decide for themselves, sometimes the lack of education can cause a person to be oblivious to so many things and hence it is easier for families to marry off their oblivious daughters to someone far older as those young girls are not able to fight for their rights as children and as girls. Women, according to the article, also have limited access to food and it is the reason as to why 60% of the world is poor, the answer to poverty is here as well considering the fact that if we give these women access to food, agricultural practices, and food security then we also lift 60% of the poor from poverty; feed a woman and you feed the world.
Like all the other aspects of society, women are also disregarded in the political sector. It happens rarely that when a woman is elected in the government body, it is televised by media all over the world. Even in democratic countries where citizens are given rights to vote and elect, they still opt for men and overlook women who are equally as skilled and capable all because of the mere fact that they are not used to seeing women having power and bringing their respective nation to success. However, this problem has already been addressed and is awaiting response and action from many countries, this is stated in the article where it was mentioned that “Increasing women’s political participation, however, is one of the major priorities found in many recent reports and government statements. Governments and legal systems have been involved in writing and supporting new legislation that give better rights to women.”
The biggest step that we can take in achieving gender equality is with the help of the government, as stated in the article, “National Machineries for Women (NMWs) have made many positive achievements, most importantly legitimizing the place of gender issues in development planning,” it has come to my understanding that when the government takes the initiative to answer towards issues such as gender equality, only then is it taken seriously by the majority. Having created offices and helpdesks, like the abovementioned NMW, can encourage women to speak up if they ever experience unfairness from our society, especially in a patriarchal society such as the Philippines. Although it has been mentioned in the article that it has a varying degree of success and effectiveness, I believe that it only lacks complete support, in terms of funding and having an influential head, and acknowledgment from the government for it to be completely effective and be of help to the lives of many women.
From what I have grasped in the article, it was quite evident that many people are aware of the gender discrimination and inequality, what we lack is to properly acknowledge and act regarding the issue; laws and policies have been made but since the majority of the population chooses to ignore them, there is still little progress in some countries which have heavy gender inequality. Due to this, the victims of human trafficking are commonly women and children, according to the article, “The US State Department estimates that approximately 800,000 to 900,000 persons are trafficked each year throughout the world and other US agencies estimate that 600,000 to 800,000 persons – 70% female and 50% under age – are victims of international recruitment, transport, and exploitation– at least 50% for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Additionally, it is estimated that some 2–4 million are subject to human trafficking within their own country.” Women’s rights are human rights, even today, I still do not understand why written laws and policies apply differently when it comes to men and women when those have been written without favoring a certain gender in mind; rape is rape and violence is violence regardless of the gender. It is saddening to think of the fact that we have developed into a world where men decide that they are far superior because it is what society and culture molded them to be, most men grow with this in mind, hence regardless of the development that has occurred in the world, the positive changes in the treatment of women still cease to exist.
As someone who grew up in an Arab country, I am no stranger to the fact that women aren’t given as much rights and privilege as men receive, in fact they cannot drive, aren’t allowed to go to public places without a male relative, and are often blamed when they are sexually harassed. One extreme case was when a woman who refused the company of a male relative was gang-raped and the court of that Arab country gave her jail time and whippings as well even though she was clearly the victim, their reason for this was because she did not have a male relative to accompany her and so she was raped. This case, in my opinion, not only violates women rights but human rights as well, clearly blaming victims for something they never wanted to happen in the first place is a representation of how much judicial systems, especially in Arab countries, are discriminating against women just because they are used to male power and having women inferior to them.
Though women have always been good at domestic tasks and keeping households intact, they must still be given the opportunity to study and pursue their dreams, a country may lose the chance to develop economically if they confine women to doing things which old cultures have taught them to do. With what is happening in our world today, it is time to break the norms and give women a chance to help the world develop and become sustainable.
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