On 1st May, 2019, I embarked on a 90-day challenge tagged Equality for All. It was birthed from an Online Program, Female and More, I participated in which lasted for 30 days. There, qualified candidates were allowed to do any SDG 1, 3 and 5 Impact Challenge for the next 3 months and here I am enlightening us all on the concept of SDG 5, Gender Equality because I believe most people don't know what it's all about. I'd be doing a summary of all I've written in the last 29 days.
Feminism is the Belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It's the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes. It's not a disgusting, man-hating philosophy neither is it a threat nor just a goal but a fundamental human rights.
Sex, according to WHO refers to biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. It is the state of being male, female or an intersex. It refers to the biological features that distinguish you from other sexes. Gender, on the other hand from the same source, is the result of socially constructed ideas about the behaviours, actions and roles a particular sex performs. It is stemmed out of roles, norms and relationships of a group of sexes. It’s taught not inherent as sex. Sex cannot be changed but gender can be according to social structure.
Gender roles are mostly assigned based on gender not sex. These roles are products of our society because it is dependent on gender. They dictate how we live our lives. They are the actions or reactions that reveal our sexes. They are the duties assigned to boys, men, girls and women over time. Components which make up gender roles range from clothing, speech patterns, movement, occupation, domestic work to the likes. Gender roles at a particular time were as a result of the social structure of that time.
A stereotype is a wide generalisation, concept or bias about an individual or a group. It is a widely accepted judgement which is over simplified and not always accurate. Gender Stereotypes are simplistic generalisations about the gender attributes, differences and roles of individuals and groups. They can be positive or negative but they rarely communicate accurate information about others. They cause unfair and unequal treatment to the sexes involved.
Stereotypes are restrictions. They don’t bring the best out of people. They kill and deaden one’s potentials. Perhaps, if we do away with gender stereotypes, we can live up to our full potentials as man, woman, boy and girl. Then, marriage would be a thing of understanding and affection not a place to escape roles. Perhaps, our home would be lovely and a place to look forward to not a place to run away from. Maybe, we would all contribute selflessly as a family, community and country and respect one another… Maybe, if we could do away with stereotypes, we would come to appreciate ourselves, partners and children.
Nigeria is not only blinded by religion but culture and this culture, stemmed from stereotypes and gender roles do not just eat deep into our thinking faculties but our economy. Hence, Nigeria, according to World Poverty Clock has over 91 million people swimming in the pool of poverty. It’s no news that Nigeria is the World’s Poverty Capital because more than 91 million people live below the poverty line of $1.90 which translates to N693.5 per day.
Gender equality is giving equal rights and opportunities to both sexes. This promotes healthy and good living. In reference to africa.undp.org, it was stated in an article, Gender Equality is so Much More than a Goal, ‘An equal share of women and men in the labour force, equal access to paid work and the same level of productivity could raise Africa’s GDP by 3% to 16% and countries with larger gender gaps have the most to gain. If women and men carried out the same amount of unpaid care work women would gain almost 2 hours per day to spend on leisure, productive work and community participation. What better way to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and build good governance?’
According to the Mckinsey’s Global Institute report on gender equality which says, ‘In sub-Saharan Africa, gender inequality in professional jobs is high, and the ratio of females to males in leadership roles is extremely low. Incredibly, if women participated in the economy just as much as men, the GDP of sub-Saharan Africa would see a 27% rise.’ Gender discrimination in the workplace is favouring an applicant or an employee over another sex based on gender stereotypes or gender identity. It is treating a particular person based on their gender differently which negatively affects the terms and conditions of the employment which include being hired or fired; job position or duties; work schedule, shift, or job location; your pay rate or salary; and advancement and training opportunities. When the treatment affects the terms and conditions of your employment, it is said to be illegal.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) is also known as violence against women and girls because most victims are women and girls. This doesn’t mean that boys and men are not victims. However, this violence is stemmed from detrimental stereotypes and gender roles which make the females suffer these thing. It is a type of violence based on gender. It is the violence directed at an individual based on their biological sex, gender identity or accepted norms and stereotypes. It can be physical, psychological, sexual, verbal or emotional. It’s most times seen as a norm due to stereotypes placed on the sex which is as a result of gender. It includes physical, sexual and psychological violence.
Physical abuse is not accidental but an intentional, deliberate and purposeful act which causes trauma or injury to the victim by bodily contact. Its means of causing trauma or injury is through bodily contact not words. Anybody ranging from men, women to children can be a victim of this abuse. When women, children and men are beaten, being kicked, pushed, choked or punched by their partners or siblings or parents, it is said to be an abuse and it’s very wrong. It is not right! According to UN women, it is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000- 58 per cent) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day. More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner.
Domestic violence doesn’t emerge if there are no gender roles magnifying aggression, violence and dominance. These gender roles define a man and if he doesn’t fit into the three characteristics above, he is not a man. Social factors like media, peers influence and alcoholic drinks cause domestic violence at home and its effects on the victims range from death, sustaining injury to mental health problems like depression.
Emotional abuse is a nonphysical behavior or attitude that is designed to control, subdue, punish, or isolate another person through the use of humiliation, threat or fear. It, in most cases precedes domestic violence which is an intentional act in order to show aggression, dominance or violence using bodily contact.
The moment we start respecting each other, the less violent our relationship would be, psychologically and physically. The moment we start seeing each other as equals in terms of gender and roles while using our biological differences to our advantage, the better the home becomes.
Thank you for following. A third of 90 days has gone already. I believe you are enlightened and are seeing many reasons you should embrace gender equality.