The phlegmatic state of gender inequality has been one of the major deficiencies ravaging the peace of the world, despite series of national policies been made to combat and to build a bridge that levels the disparity between male and female in the society, the issue has however remained deadlock and stalemate. Being a global issue that cuts across nations, territories, races, sexes and culture, it is therefore demanding or rather pivotal to address this wrong. Will the clarion call for gender equity be eventually established? This paper gives an explanatory answer to this question. It typically examines the conceptualization of gender disparity, and dives deeply into it causes and succinctly proffer a hope towards achieving a gender partiality free world.
Keywords: Gender inequality , Concepts, Causes, Clarion call, Hope.
Gender disparity is not exclusively erupted through differential access to and control over material resources. However, gender norms, precepts and stereotypes contribute exorbitantly to gender partiality (Ridgeway, 2011). With the height of gender disparity been found in most part of the world today, this paper hence discuss issues emanating from various country on gender inequality, it explores statistics from countries like, United States of America, China, India, Rwanda, Bolivia, Middle East and North African (MENA) and other Sub-Saharan African countries. As a result, gender discrepancy is a characteristic of most societies, with male on average better position in economical, educational, social, and political heirachies. Women have an active participation in every field especially in several income generating activities like agriculture, livestock, medicine handcrafts making and education. Women contribute greatly toward the success of family, and country’s economy, and as such, they need proper training and brought up for the wellness of coming generations.
Research ascertains that, for more then twenty years, the goal of mitigating gender discrepancy has held a prominent place in international organizations and in national strategy statement. However, Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3 reflects the global attention to the issue of gender disparity and has been providing the impulse for governments to eliminate gender inequality in primary and secondary education by 2005 and in all levels by 2015 respectively (UNDP, 2013)
This paper exermines the framework reflected in the gender analysis that evaluates gender differences in three major domains: capability, livelihood, and agency. These three domains are interwoven as progress in one domain can lead to change in another. Further progression in any of these domains without progression in the other is inadequate to achieving the overall goal of gender equality.
Nonetheless, any approach to analysing global trends in gender parity must be cognizant of the fact that not all gender disparities favour men. For instance, trends in educational attainment in recent years indicate gender reversals in some countries with women’s educational attainment exceeding men’s. The disadvantages of male and high deficiency in health as against the female should also be an intrinsic reason to be considered. In a bid to promote equality, whether by race, sex, or class, it should be effectively achieved without lowering or degrading the standard level of the dominant (i.e, male). This ascertainment is further proved in the consultation of the post-2015 Development Agenda which states: “geneder equality is not about transferring opportunities from men to women, but about realizing the rights of everyone, and creating conditions, where both all have the right and ability to realise their full human potential” (UNICEF and UN women, 2013:35). Thus, this paper tends to correct and amend all porosity that evolve around the bid for gender equality without drifting away from its ultimate aim which is to advocate for gender egalitarianism.
UPSHOT OF GENDER INEQUALITY
In 1792,Mary Wollstonecraft an English writer, philosopher and advocate of human’s right set out her principle for emancipation of women education of girls on the same footing as boys and end prejudice against women. The principle also advocate that women should be evaluated on their advantages rather than achievement of their partners (Dilli and Carmichael, 2018) The principle yield positivity as the past 200 years has seen marked improvement in these respect as well as many that Wollstonecraft could not have forseen. Women have gained far-ranging legal rights, such as the universal women suffrage and the implementation of legislation in many countries to ensure gender parity inheritance (Dilli and Carmichael, 2018).Girls around the world have achieved great increase in educational attainment both in absolute terms and relative compatriots and women all over the world can now expect to outlive men (World Bank, 2011).
However, in spite all the aforementioned progress made, the elimination of gender discrimination against women has not been achieved. For instance, in the globe, only 23 percent of Parliament arrears are occupied by women. One third of girls in the developing world are married before age 18 and one ninth before age 15 (International Center for Research Women, 2014).
Moreover, the Organization for Economic Co-oporation and Development (OECD, 2015) outlines that over sixty eight countries are faced with gender inequality in access to primary school education. Although research proves that more women have entered the paid workforce in recent years; however, they typically work in the informal sector characterized by poor earnings and insecurity (OECD, 2015). Thus, from the persistence of gender inequality pay gaps to the 65.40 million women missing in 2002 sequel to discriminatory access to medical or dictation resources all through their lives (Klassen and Wunk, 2002), up to this day, woman have not achieved equality with men in terms of institutional treatment or well-being outcome (Dilli and Carmichael, 2018).
Although gender inequality exist in every part of the world today, however, the nature and level of inequality between men and women are not universally equivalent (Sen, 2001). A typical example is Scandinavian countries and countries in Yemen and Jordan, whilst the former usually rank high in gender equality indices, the latter perform poorly. To buttress this further, Dilli and Carmichael (2018) opines that the field that face inequality today also differ from one country to another. For instance, in China and India, gender inequalities are quite unsubtle in twisted sex ratios resulting from son preference. Also with view from political angle, Dilli and Carmichael 2018 quoting Inter-parliamentary Union (2015) states that in terms of political representation of women in parliament, Bolivia, South Africa, Rwanda outrank some of the most affluent countries in the world.
It is imperative to note that using a short-term perspective would miss the gains made by women in terms of life expectancy since 1980,as all women now outlive men everywhere in the world (Carmicheal et al, 2014) however, including a long-term perspective, will make it easier to determine whether these differences are new development or not. For instance, Rwanda, Andorra, Bolivia overtook the top performers of 1995 (Scandinavia) in the representation of women in parliament (Inter-parliamentary Union, 2015). The significance of China’s over-child policy on missing girls can only be observed if the evolution of sex ratios before 1980sis taken into account. (World Bank, 2011). Lastly, whilst Women have liberal access to property inheritance in the beginning of the twentieth century only in a few western European countries, today gender egalitarian inheritance practices are now the precepts throughout the world, except in a number of, Middle East and North African (MENA) and Sub-Saharan African countries (Dilli and Carmichael, 2018).
Moreover, sequel to the trend in economic development and globalization, expectations emerge that industrialization would increase the living standards of women and promote gender equality (Goode, 1963).However, scholars have observed that the Industrial Revolution created a male breadwinner economy in England and most part of the world (Golden 1995, Harrell and Humphries 1995).
Claudia Golden (2006) proposes that the growth in women’s labor force participation in the United States from 1930-1950 was due to the increase in service-sector jobs, which is not observable without time-series data. However, in China, mass-produced textile replaced domestic production, women’s confinement to the household was questioned and with it the practices of footbiding(Laurel et al, 2011).
Finally, over the years, the position of women is also determined by norms and values which can be persistent and established in long-lasting institutions, rather than following the development process (Alessina, Giuiano and Nunn 2013). For example, it was observed by a number of scholars that women in Northwestern Europe entered labor markets in significant numbers well before the Industrial Revolution, when the region was still poor by today’s standards (Horrell and Humphries, 1995; De Moor and Van Zanden 2010). After controlling for the level of socio-economic and political development, Boris Branisa, Stephan Klasan, and Maria Zeigler (2013) find in a cross-country study that in the period after 2009 discriminatory Social Institutions are associated with women’s lower education levels and higher fertility and child mortality rates. Thus, the disadvantages experience by women in “MENA” have been attributed to culture and religious phenomenon as regards to marital and inheritance practices (Hiun and Weldon 2011). In like manner, polygamy, one of the aids of gender inequality is a persistent family practice in many Sub-Saharan African countries, however, it is associated with negative health outcome on the side of the women as they may be vulnerable to health issues like, depression, anxiety, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (Bove and Valeggia, 2009).
THE CONCEPTS OF GENDER INEQUALITY: The 3 Key Domains
The framework for analysing global trends in gender differences is based on the following premises:
1) Capabilities: That women and men be on equal footing in terms of core function (Education, health and nutrition). The Capabilities domain captures gender differences and discrepancies in the preconditions necessary for living a good life. The differences in intergroup gender capabilities condition the state of likelihood that females and males at the individual level will achieve particular levels of economic wellbeing. Index of Capabilities include : Health and Education, both are considered indispensable requisites to wellbeing, laying the foundation for the ability to provision for self and family and thus to achieve economic security and stability. (UNDP, 2013)
2)Livelihood : That women should be on par with their compatriots in the ability to convert capabilities into ability to generate livelihood. Thus leading to gender parity in economic well-being. UNDP (2013) quoting Collins et al (1993) and Seguino (2013) states that gender inequality in livelihoods can contribute to inequality in other domains. It was observed that women experience lower income and more limited access to other resources required to secure livelihood such as land, credit, et cetera. There are four variables gender differences in regards to this (livelihood) trend;
i) Employment-to-population ratios
iv) Shares of females and males employers in the industrial sector to capture gender job segregation in the productive sector of an economy (UNDP, 2013)
3) Agency: That empowerment and voice in decision making be granted equally to women and their compatriots in major sites of resources allocation in society, household, workplace and in government bodies(UNDP, 2013) .With voice in these areas, women might be able to influence the factors lead to inequality in the capabilites or livelihood domain. Thus as mention earlier in the introductory part of this paper that these three domains (Capabilities, Livelihood and Agency) are interrelated. Gender equality in agency can typically be measured in a number of ways; political representation, managerial and supervisory position head, trade union membership, cooperate leadership and board representation (UNDP, 2013).
CAUSES OF GENDER INEQUALITY
1) Religious matters (Preference for boys)
2) Rigid culture and traditions
3) Bad mentality
4) Lack of substantial empowerment (for women)
5) High level of illiteracy
6) Unqual pay for equal (even bigger) work compared to male counterparts
7) Poverty (makes some women to engage in menial jobs)
8) Lack of medical care
9) Industrial Revolution Which breeds a male breadwinner economy
10) Geographical norm and stereotypes
A CLARION CALL FOR GENDER PARITY
Empowering women in the economy and bridging the gender gaps are central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNHLP, 2016). Still, many gaps persist. However to accelerate progress in this regard, concrete actions must be done by individuals, businesses, governments, owners and employer organization, civil society and multilateral to drive change by addressing systemic constraints. Expanding women’s economic opportunities is core to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNHLP, 2016).
Over twenty years, after the landmark in 1995 United Nations (UN) conference on women in Beijing and with the unprecedented concensus on the 2030 Agenda, the global commitment to gender equality has never been stronger for the first time in history, governments set a concrete deadline for the eradication of gender inequality the year 2030. The potential gains for basic human rights for human development and for economic growth have never been larger. (UNHLP, 2016).
With the exponential discussion enclose in this paper, it is however revealed that gender inequality is a global issue that cuts across all sectors of every nation in the world. This paper exposes that the need for gender parity is pivotal not only intrinsically; that they are been denied of well-being despite their substantial sacrifice in the society but also extrinsically; that empowering and bridging the gender gap between them and their compatriots will lead to global economic development. Is the clarion call for gender parity feasible? This paper give answer to the phlegmatic question with reference from United Nation High-Level Panel (UNHLP) 2016 publication. It highlights the causes and also explores the conceptual analysis that evolve around gender inequality.
Having said all that, it is however imperative to note that achieving greater equality between women will require changes at all level, which includes changes in attitude and relationships, changes in institution and legal frameworks, changes in economic institutions and changes in decision making structure.
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