How effective is advocacy on gender issues?

Advocacy on issues bordering on ensuring gender equality, enforcing fundamental rights and all matters that deal with gender have been given attention by development partners, government agencies and diverse gender-focused organisations across the world over the years. And daily, more people get on the train to ensure that women are able to achieve their dreams and explore their potential.

However, frequently, the question is asked of whether there is any progress made on gender issues across the globe, especially on the African continent where due to cultural beliefs more challenges crop up. Many people wonder if and how far gender equality has been achieved or whether the effort is making any difference.

A lot of efforts had gone into addressing pressing gender-related issues-social, economic, cultural and political. But have such issues been effectively addressed? What is the situation going forward? Has advocacy on gender issues in any way resisted gender inequalities in the society or changed the narrative about gender power imbalances in today’s society?

In the face of resistance and combined efforts that have made a difference, though not to the expected level, many continue to wonder if there can be a real change that will make gender inequality in public and private spheres a thing of the past, especially in the face of scorn and humiliation heaped on people asking for a change of orientation.

It is a fact that despite massive efforts and intentional advocacy at all levels, gender inequalities are still entrenched in every area of our system and continues to be an acceptable way of life which is continually entrenched by culture and religion. Though to a large extent, inequalities are gradually being eroded, the success rate still indicates that more needs to be done to make the desired change effective and global.

Though research indicates that gender inequalities around the world are getting less based on investigated global trends in gender inequality, the perceived decline in gender inequalities is not as entrenched to make a major difference especially on the African continent where religion and cultural traditions form a major resistance to change.

Two major factors that limit the level of change, aside from culture and religion, are ignorance and extremism on the part of some. Many do not understand the concept of gender equality and believe that it is a mode of giving women undue advantage and eroding the superiority of men by teaching women not to submit to the men. Some think it is a taboo to report to a woman even in the workplace. This is why there are issues of cab drivers that tell female passengers that hire them that they can’t sit at the back while they drive them.

This is not helped by extremists who claim to be feminists but are actually misandrists; they give the movement a bad name and erode the good work done by others. They also make it difficult for people, both men and women to have an open mind about the concept of feminism and gender equality because they are not objective in their expectations and usually take stance that make women look ridiculous.

In a bid to fight for what they believe is their right, they erode other peoples’ fundamental rights, undermining the major cause.

This makes it a bit difficult to show optimism on whether gender equality will be an established way of life across the globe in the future.


To be continued





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