The Long, Winding Way To Gender Equality

The Long, Winding Way To Gender Equality
Although some awareness has been created on gender equality in the last decade, still a long distance must be covered to reach a meaningful turning point.

The 17 sustainable development goals are a positive step toward gender equality and advancement. People think that gender inequality is about oppression and constitutional rights. It is in fact about orthodox beliefs prevalent in the society.

Socially, women are expected to do household chores. Cooking is a woman’s duty. People make fun of men who want to help in household work, not realising that it only helps in spreading love and positivity among the family members.

Men are not allowed to express emotions. A boy is trained to not cry. Encouraging boys to suppress their emotions, be tough and stoic, affect their mental health. In our society expressing emotions is considered to be a feminine trait. Both genders have the freedom to express their emotions in whatever way they want. According to research, in 36 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, 20 percent of the working-age population is experiencing mental health issues, harming their economy in the form of a loss of 3.5 percent of the GDP, equivalent to the US$ 1.7 billion in 2017.

Further, Australia’s GDP might grow by 11 percent if the gender employment gap is closed. The Australian economic system could benefit $8 billion if girls transitioned from tertiary schooling to workers on the identical rate as boys.

Another element that promotes gender inequality is how different colours are associated with genders. Blue is for boys, pink for girls. Colour does not have any gender. Colour was chosen because of the way it complemented eyes and hair colour. The blue colour was meant to go with blue eyes and blonde hair and pink for brown eyes and brown colour. If a man wears pink coloured clothes he gets looks and is made fun of. There has been progress on this front though as famous male personalities have been seen wearing pink on the media.
Colour does not have any gender. Colour was chosen because of the way it complemented eyes and hair colour. The blue colour was meant to go with blue eyes and blonde hair and pink for brown eyes and brown colour.

There is gender disparity in education as well. There are over 200 million illiterate women in Pakistan. The girls are deprived of education because they are thought to be of no benefit to the society. Many households think that boys will support their parents financially in future, and hence are provided with good education. On the other hand, girls are taught to do household chores.

There is gender disparity between the rural and urban areas. In urban areas around 58 percent of girls are educated and in rural areas only 27 percent. Research has shown that a woman’s lack of education harms health and well-being of her children. A recent survey found that infant mortality rate is inversely related to the mother’s education levels. Just imagine how harmful this is for the upcoming generations of Pakistan.

Society usually points fingers at the man who stays home to take care of newborn child, while his wife is out working. The females also get pointed out for being at work, and not taking care of children as in our society it is considered an utmost responsibility of females to take care of children. Fewer than one-in-five of all new moms, and 29 percent of first-time moms, go back to full-time work in the first three years after maternity leave. Some 17 percent of women leave their employment in the first five years following childbirth compared to just 4 percent of men. Just put yourself in the shoes of that new mom that worked extremely hard to get a job and now after the birth of her child she has to shatter her dreams because of the gender stereotyping in society.

We will need to take a few important steps in the right direction as soon as possible. Gender equality will help the world to prosper both economically as well as morally. Awareness campaigns can be done in schools and colleges, teaching students that things that are usually affiliated with the female gender can be done by the male gender as well as, bringing about a change in the society. To spread awareness, social media platforms can be utilised by posting content related to women’s empowerment to cater for a larger group of people. Students can be encouraged to write about gender equality and get it published in their school magazines and urged to operate social media pages where they can upload research regarding this particular topic.

To actually bring a change, students should clean and cook at home. This will change the general mindset of people around them.

An increase in mutual respect for both the genders, equal distribution of workload at home and at office, economic betterment and equal justice are some of the positive outcomes of a gender equal society -- which is presently a pipedream in Pakistan.