Discrimination against women and girls is a major challenge. This has seen Gender Equality come in at number 5 on the Sustainable Development Goals list. Ending all forms of gender inequality is necessary to foster development in any society.
CHALLENGES OF GENDER EQUALITY
In Nigeria, for example, In 2016 the senate rejected a bill seeking gender equality in marriage presented by Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi from Ekiti State. Nigeria ranks very low at 114 out of 130 economies in the Global Human Capital Index in 2017. This rating is by the World Economic Forum meaning it is failing to harness its human capital. The Nigeria Defense Academy recently halted the intake of female cadets into the Nigerian military.
The people who are most affected by these incessant crisis all over Nigeria are women. So why are they not allowed participation in solving the problem of security? The Sultan of Sokoto wanted to keep the religious practices in the caliphate by rejecting the gender equality proposal. Thus, religion and tradition had been a major challenge. Sexual and domestic violence has been a major issue in trying achieve gender equality which is more so why it has to be a reality.
But on the other side of the coin, men are also affected. There has to be a balance to it all.
GOALS OF GENDER EQUALITY
- Firstly, end all forms of discrimination and especially against all women and girls everywhere
- Secondly, eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and other types of exploitation
- Thirdly, end harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
- Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life
- Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
- Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO ACHIEVING GENDER EQUALITY
- Education and sensitization campaigns is key and priority to achieving Gender Equality especially in developing nations
- Encourage women participation in leadership and developmental causes at all levels. Women participating effectively in politics and legislation is one way to sponsor bills and policies geared toward gender equality
- Women empowerment in all sectors of the economy with equal wages and salaries
- Put the right person on the job not because of their gender
- Encourage and emphasize the female-child education especially in developing countries
- Revisit and prohibit child marriages. Legislature and education play vital roles here
- Stop female genital mutilation
- Equal access to loan services with minimal interest rates and schooling opportunities is necessary
- Equal rights to resources such as land and property are vital targets to realizing this goal
- Women must begin to support women in positive aspirations
Women have a multiplier effect both within and outside the family. Their industriousness in agriculture and petty trading have sustained economies in developing countries. Women need to be empowered to do more.
Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Oby Ezekwesili, Amina J. Mohammed, Malala Yousafzai, Aisha Yesufu among others are women who are great examples in Nigeria and beyond. They are making their mark regardless of age or gender.
If we treat the next person as human then we won’t have to advocate for gender equality differently. Education, and Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions have key roles to play in addressing this issue.
You can also find detailed information and statistics on the UNDP site.