If you think about it, it isn’t that long ago that men were the only ones who had the chance to vote or go to university and women had to say home to look after their family. Women didn’t have the same rights as men did. Luckily, those days have changed. Most of us think we now live in a society where women are not seen as less compared to men, but do we really? Have we really evolved regarding this matter? The trend wo-men is about gender equality, and the lack of it.
Measures of gender equality include access to basic education, health and life expectancy, equality of economic opportunity, and political empowerment. Throughout history, women didn’t have these rights, which caused for intense discrimination. Women have long been viewed as less than fully human in many societies.
Sally Kitch, a Regents’ Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University found answers as to why the world sees men and women so differently while exploring the gendered origins of race in American utopian communities. Race is imposed by historical, cultural and political processes and based on physiological characteristics. “The Europeans thought that cultures in which men and women weren’t that different in terms of their behaviour or appearance were uncivilized. That gave me the insight that racial characteristics really evolved on the basis of comparative gender characteristics,” Kitch says (Newswise, 2012).
In order for women to take a stand and gain equal rights a 1st wave of feminism appeared (1870 – 1920). Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the US and the Suffragettes led by the Emmeline Pankhurst in England were the key pioneers of ‘first-wave feminism’. This was a period in which women organized themselves into public and high-profile advocacy groups. They were campaigning for equality in property, economic and voting rights.
The 1st wave was followed by a 2nd (1960 – 1985) and 3rd wave (around 1990). In the 2nd wave women started targeting new objectives with their campaigns, such as discrimination in employment and education. The 3rd wave was about diversifying the path to gender equality, including women from black and minority backgrounds and lesbians (Wikigender,z.j.).
Gender inequality leads to detriments of their psychology of self-worth and self-dignity. Studies show that out of almost 1 million people from 48 countries men feel higher self-worth than women. The gap between men and women’s self-esteem seems larger in western countries. As to why this gap is bigger than in non-western countries is not yet clear (Dockrill, 2016).
Gender inequality can also lead to economic losses for a nation. Women constitute about 40% of the global work force, but there are also a lot of women who are unpaid family workers in the informal sector. Women who do work are generally paid much below the salary of a working man, despite being equally hard-working and capable. Furthermore, the status and promotion of women are limited to middle or below ranks, they have limited educational opportunity and they run smaller businesses. Due to these obvious restrictions, many countries experience loss of productivity that amounts to 25% due to gender discrimination(Kamrany & Robinson, z.j.).
Though-out the world, the degree of gender inequality vary. From rape and femicide to honor killing. Honor killing, a massive issue in a countries such as Pakistan, means that a female member of a family is killed because they dishonored their family (Kamrany & Robinson, z.j.).
About 2/3 of countries in the developing regions in this world have achieved gender parity in primary education, which means that 1/3 still haven’t. In addition, women only hold 30% of the seats in national parliament in 46 countries (United Nations, z.j.).
Sex-selective abortion is yet another major disaster of gender inequality as it fuels human trafficking, demographic imbalance, and sexual exploitation. Abortion has always been a difficult issue in America, but the decision of president Trump to implement the anti-abortion rule will have effect on women all over the world (Kikkert, 2017).
In 1973 women in America got the right to have an abortion. Republicans have always tried to end this rule and now Trump has achieved this goal by re-instating the Global Gag Rule. The Global Gag Rule ensures that all international healthcare organizations that assist women’s healthcare abroad will not receive any money if they perform abortions. This means that these organisation, who help lots of women in developing countries, won’t have the chance to provide them with contraceptives. The rule is also cause for lots of unsafe abortions, which can cost women their lives (Kikkert, 2017).
As a reaction to the continuing problem of gender inequality, there are national and international measures are at work against gender inequality. Even large enterprises do their part to eliminate this global problem. Nike is one of those enterprises.
Nike is known for their sports clothing and shoes. They have a long history of using campaigns to stand up for its values, such as respect and equality. Their new campaign EQUALITY, encourages people to take the fairness and respect seen in sport and translate them off the field.
Nike news, 2017
To drive change within communities, Nike announced their partnership with MENTOR and PeacePlayers International. MENTOR is a leading national organization in ensuring quality youth mentoring relationships and volunteers to opportunities in their communities. PeacePlayers International is a global organization that focuses on bridging divides in communities by developing youth leaders, building relationships and changing perceptions through the power of sport. The youth is the future, so complete equality could start with them (Nike news, 2017).
The fashion brand United Colors of Benetton is yet another organization that strives for women empowerment and equality. Their latest campaign is aimed at promoting gender equality in one of its leading global markets, India. The brand want to tackle the deep rooted social taboos still prevailed in India and other developing countries that see women less than men. The campaign is supported by celebrities and influencers which can lead to more acceptance by its customers (Hendriksz, 2017).
Fashion United, 2017
In February 2017 US President Trump stated that he wants well-dressed people around him. During his campaign he asked his staff members to dress accordingly. Which meant that men had to dress “sharp” and women had to “dress like women”. Lots of women were not amused by this statement. As a reaction, they shared photos of themselves at work dressed as ‘women’ (Meijer, 2017).
Unfortunately, these initiatives are not sufficient enough to eliminate gender inequality. There are still people (take the president of the US, Donald Trump) who are not concerned by the issue of gender inequality and do nothing to stop it.
To achieve more equality in the workplace people need to provide more equal pay and comparable value, barriers to the equal participation of women in de workforce need to be removed, women need to have access to all occupations and industries and discrimination based on gender needs to be eliminated (Australian Government, z.j.). But how do we do that?
Treating women less than men is a part of the traditions some communities have, especially in developing countries. So, it’s hard to eliminate these traditions. Previous stated campaigns by global enterprises are a start but its nog enough.
The collaboration of local communities, institutions, national authorities and international bodies is essential to influencing change and promoting the value of women. They all must act with respect to communication, education, leadership, and cultural norms and traditional values in order to shift the attitude and mindset of the population in favor of gender equality (Kamrany & Robinson, z.j.).
Education is where it all starts. Kids are the future of this world. They have to grow-up with knowledge and acceptance of gender equality in order for it to become ‘normal’ in the future.
Australian Government. (z.j.). About workplace gender equality. Geraadpleegd van https://www.wgea.gov.au/learn/about-workplace-gender-equality
Dockrill, P. (2016, 08 januari). The Gap Between Men And Women’s Self-Esteem Is Larger in Western Countries, Study Finds. Geraadpleegd van http://www.sciencealert.com/the-gap-between-men-and-women-s-self-esteem-is-larger-in-western-countries-study-finds
Elle. (2017, 03 maart). Vrouwen reageren massaal op Trump met #DressLikeAWoman [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van http://www.elle.nl/lifestyle/a565933/vrouwen-reageren-op-trump-met-dresslikeawoman/
Elle. (2017, 24 januari). Trumps nieuwe anti-abortusregel heeft invloed op vrouwen over de hele wereld [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van http://www.elle.nl/lifestyle/nieuws/a565778/trump-en-abortus-zijn-anti-abortus-regel-heeft-invloed-op-vrouwen-over-de-hele-wereld/
Fashion United. (2017, 07 maart). #UnitedByHalf: Benetton launches gender equality campaign in India [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van https://fashionunited.uk/news/fashion/unitedbyhalf-benetton-launches-gender-equality-campaign-in-india/2017030723790
Google. (z.j.). 51 Awesome Ways to Practice Kata [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van https://www.google.nl/search?hl=nl&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1115&bih=904&q=gender+inequality+developing+countries&oq=gender+inequality+developing+countries&gs_l=img.3…306.12525.0.12618.104.22.168.0.0.0.336.2653.27j3j0j1.31.0….0…1.1.64.img..2.18.1884.0..0j0i30k1j0i19k1j0i24k1.q6YyJ0hDzlA#imgdii=qbibk4XR5-lREM:&imgrc=t6xoPnINlRo5hM:&spf=1497187537043
Hendriksz, V. (2017, 07 maart). #UnitedByHalf: Benetton launches gender equality campaign in India. Geraadpleegd van https://fashionunited.uk/news/fashion/unitedbyhalf-benetton-launches-gender-equality-campaign-in-india/2017030723790
Kamrany, N. M., & Robinson, C. (z.j.). The Global Problem of Gender Inequality. Geraadpleegd van http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nake-m-kamrany/gender-inequality_b_1417535.html
Kikkert, M. (2017, 24 januari). Trumps nieuwe anti-abortusregel heeft invloed op vrouwen over de hele wereld. Geraadpleegd van http://www.elle.nl/lifestyle/nieuws/a565778/trump-en-abortus-zijn-anti-abortus-regel-heeft-invloed-op-vrouwen-over-de-hele-wereld/
Meijer, A. (2017, 03 maart). Vrouwen reageren massaal op Trump met #DressLikeAWoman. Geraadpleegd van http://www.elle.nl/lifestyle/a565933/vrouwen-reageren-op-trump-met-dresslikeawoman/
Newswise. (2012, 01 juni). What Are the Roots of Gender Inequality? Women’s Rights, Race and Reproduction. Geraadpleegd van http://newswise.com/articles/what-are-the-roots-of-gender-inequality-women-s-rights-race-and-reproduction
Nike news. (2017, 12 januari). Nike Uses Power of Sport to Stand Up for EQUALITY. Geraadpleegd van http://news.nike.com/news/equality
Nike news. (2017, 12 januari). Nike Uses Power of Sport to Stand Up for EQUALITY [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van http://news.nike.com/news/equality
United Nations. (z.j.). Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Geraadpleegd van http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/
Wikigender. (z.j.). History of the Movement for Gender Equality. Geraadpleegd van http://www.wikigender.org/wiki/history-of-the-movement-for-gender-equality/