What is gender equality?
Gender equality is equal access to resources and opportunities, without regard to gender. Sadly, this is not the reality of many women around the world today who find themselves shut out from participation on various levels of human endeavour by repressive beliefs, customs, institutions and practices.
According to UNICEF, gender equality "means that women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike. In fact, gender equality cannot be achieved, for the most part, by providing everyone the same services, opportunities and protections, delivered in the same ways. Levelling the playing field requires working directly with girls and women to address historical and present inequalities (affirmative action), as well as efforts to ensure that girls and women, and boys and men, define and benefit from mainstream development efforts (gender mainstreaming). (1)
Why should gender equality concern you?
Gender equality is one of the seventeen sustainable development goals of the United Nations, to be achieved by 2030 (2) and a fundamental human right. (3) It is not a feminist fancy or a "nice to have" for elite societies. Being a human right, it is the law.
Taking Action for Progress towards Gender Equality
The 2018 International Women's Day focus is on making a commitment, for individuals, groups and organisations, to take specific action towards achieving gender equality. We at Women Thriving in Business International are challenging you to join us and identify at least one of IWD's five steps that YOU can take over the next 365 days towards gender equality.
What Can YOU Do?
These five steps, outlined on the International Women's Day website for 2018 are:
1. To maintain a gender parity mindset;
2. To challenge stereotypes and bias;
3. To forge positive visibility of women;
4. To influence others' beliefs and actions and
5. To celebrate women's achievements
Little Drops of Water Make a Mighty Ocean
If we each take sustained action over the course of the next 365 days, in any or all of these areas, our combined efforts will move the world closer to achieving gender equality.
While we at WTBI commit to all five of these actions, we have chosen the main focus of challenging stereotypes and bias. This is because we are well aware that change and progress begin in the mind. As we work to support female entrepreneurs around the globe through our outreaches and services, we will therefore continue to place emphasis on coaching and mentoring that imparts empowering mindsets and the skills for self-advocacy.
Envisioning a Fair Future
We urge you to join us in this press for progress. We strongly agree with the United Nations that empowering women and girls through gender equality will fuel sustainable economies, benefiting societies and humanity at large. (3)
What is your ONE of Five?
Share it with us in the comments below.
(1) LeMoyne, Roger (2011). "Promoting Gender Equality: An Equity-based Approach to Programming" (PDF). Operational Guidance Overview in Brief. UNICEF. p1 Accessed 2018-03-03
(2) United Nations (nd) http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ Accessed 2018-03-03
(3) United Nations (nd) http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/ Accessed 2018-03-03