Gender quality, which is one of the most crucial goals of the 2030 agenda in achieving the 17 sustainable development goals can be achieved only if women are empowered. In the next coming years, we must see more women participating in political, economic, and other fields with equal rights and benefits.
What are Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also known as global goals. These goals were ratified by all United Nations Member States in the year 2015. It’s a global call to end poverty, protect the environment/planet and certify that every human being enjoys peace and prosperity by the year 2030.
There are countries where women still face discrimination and are not given equal rights as compared to men. This problem can be curbed only if we start the practice of motivating and encouraging women in our home, society, and nation because as we know everything starts at home. There are so many laws, policies, and movements but still, women are less empowered, and the reason is the citizens fail to practice what they propagate and want from the government.
Are you as a citizen doing enough to make this world a better and safe place for not only women? This question needs to be answered by every citizen so that they start taking responsibility instead of scapegoating it.
A study cited by McKinsey Global Institute states that if gender-gaps are closed in labour-force participation rates, part-time versus full-time work and the composition of employment would add 12-25% to global GDP by 2025.
The empowerment of women is a human right and will eventually benefit all the citizens as it adds in the economic growth of a country.
The agenda of 2030 itself states “Leaving no one behind” which means that we need to grow together and take everyone with us and we can only achieve this if all the problems are solved and to achieve this agenda we need to be the change. All the goals of the agenda are linked with each other and it is impossible to achieve one without the other.
There are certain solutions by which we can empower women–
- It is very important that all form of discrimination against women and girls is ended and we can achieve this by being vigilant. The government, as well as the citizens, must work together and check whether all the legal frameworks are in place so that the laws related to women are promoted, enforced, and monitored.
- Everyone should recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work.
- Promotion of shared responsibility between both men and women.
- Women’s full, effective participation, and equal opportunities for leadership must be secured at all levels.
- It should be certified that women are represented in national parliaments and local governments and managerial positions.
When we talk about women empowerment it is very important to focus on Sustainable Development Goal-5. This goal talks about Gender equality.
As stated above, women empowerment is a human right and therefore, women and girls around the world must have equal rights and opportunities and should be able to live freely without any violence or discrimination. The achievement of all the other goals completely depends on SDG-5.
Why women empowerment needs urgent attention?
Firstly, there still exists discrimination against women. There are discriminatory laws still in place in many countries and these laws curtail the participation of women in many public as well as private spheres.
According to a report published by the United Nations, there are 49 countries which still lack proper laws protecting women against domestic violence. In 39 countries, women and girls don’t have equal inheritance rights. 1 out of 5 women and girls have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner. The harmful practice of child marriage is still in existence in many countries of the world.
Despite all the negatives, there have been some positive development of women empowerment as well.
- Gender uniformity in education has been achieved by around two-thirds countries in the developing nations.
- More than 30% of the seats in at least one chamber in the national parliament are now held by women in 46 countries.
How are women helping the economy amidst the pandemic?
The novel COVID-19 along with health crisis is affecting the economy and the vulnerable communities. There have been reports by The United Nations Women that women in Myanmar are working to protect the small business during this pandemic. New paths to market during this shutdown have been found by the women farmers in Dominica.
Why are women suffering the most during this pandemic and how can we ensure to curb this problem?
The pandemic has brought a standstill to lives of many including the migrants, women and other communities. The cases of domestic violence are on the rise during the pandemic making it very difficult for women especially the ones living in the remote areas to find an alternative or a solution to this issue. As most of the people are at home during this pandemic, the domestic load of women has increased making it impossible for them to focus on their needs. The lockdown has led to unemployment and because of this many women who were working in a small business had to drop from their job as they were supposed to stay at home.
Due to the pandemic, even the improvements made to lessen the gap between gender are at a risk to be rolled back. The education of girl coming from remote areas are at a stake making it very difficult for them to continue with the education during this uncertain crisis.
Most of the women are on the front lines of the pandemic as they make 70% globally of all health and social services staff. Around 60% of women around the world work in the informal economy and because of the pandemic these women are already earning less, saving less, and are at a greater risk of falling into poverty.
The question which arises here is how can we save women during this pandemic?
Firstly, it is very important to enlarge social-safety nets.
Secondly, it is very important to recognize and value unpaid care work as a very vital contribution to the economy of the country/world.
Thirdly, it is very important to expand support services and take urgent steps for the protection of women.
Concluding, the empowerment of women is the empowerment of the nation. Women and men must have equal rights and opportunities. There are some regions where participation of women in the labour force has increased and in some, the access of women to contraception has progressed. There has been a decline in ill practices against women such as female genital mutilation, child marriage, and forced marriage in some of the countries. Advances have been made to achieve the agenda in 2030.
The drawback is the slow pace in achieving the agenda and as per the reports, it may take another 75 years to achieve equal pay for work of equal value.
The solution towards minimizing the drawback is by-
- Extending support to the most marginalized women and girls by addressing evident and rising inequalities and various forms of discrimination.
- The male should become part or contribute as gender equality advocates.
- Rapidly enlarging investments in gender equality and women’s rights.
- Influencing and supporting women in the decision-making process.
- The government of every country must illustrate in advancing women’s right.
- The G20 economies acting across several dimensions.
Apart from all the solutions given above, there are solutions which we as the citizens must implement to fill the gap between the genders. We must not demotivate women and learn to respect their work. From time immemorial, there has been a stereotype attached with women as physically weak but many instances have proved it wrong and we mustn’t allocate work according to a person’s gender. We must perform our duty wisely and curb this problem so that our future generations live in a world where women and men are treated equally and the concept of women empowerment is long dead.
We cannot end any social issue or problem just by having laws and regulations, in the end, it is important that society starts accepting and practising it. Women empowerment is a process which can be achieved only if we start addressing the problems and find a solution for it.
The development of a country is only possible when human beings are given equal rights, opportunities, and respect. The economy will flourish as per the reports mentioned above in the article only when the citizens of the country work hard and together.
It starts from a very basic level where a girl is sent to school and is educated to become empowered. It’s about breaking the stereotype which is still in existence in some parts of the world and change can only be possible when work is not defined by a person’s gender and is equally divided and rewarded.