Why it is difficult to predict success of gender equality

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK

While it has been established that the movement for gender equality is gaining ground across the world in spite of activities of extremists that also claim to be fighting for the cause of women rights and equality, it cannot be said to be successful for many reasons. Despite massive advocacy all over the world, the movement cannot at present be rated as being successful as it seems to take few steps forward and many steps backward.

There is indeed skepticism that the movement will not move beyond the various advocacy efforts and the policy on paper by governments all over the world. The reason for the lack of optimism about the success and future of gender equality across the globe is hinged on the fact that many people do not believe in it, even women, especially in the African society where culture and religion paint a woman asking for equal rights as one that is not submissive and is asking for too much.

Also, there are no solid guarantees that current trend and advocacies will continue or change the deep-seated cultural orientation in many societies. Also, attaining gender equality rests on individual action to the extent that except every woman buys into it, it would only appear as noise in many quarters and the possibility of success is dependent on if  and when women in particular settings decide to ask and work towards equality.

Gender equality, according to some researchers, is based on certain indicators like education, being economically active and getting the technical knowledge to enter sex segregated labour markets but this means that only women that are fortunate to have certain qualifications can ask for equality. This theory and belief defeats the basis of the fight for equality which aims at giving a level playing ground to women as their male counterparts irrespective of social status, education or economic abilities.

In diverse situations, women continue to bear the brunt of extreme poverty, violence, and inequality in the workforce and other areas of life in the community though some people remain optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for gender equality.

But their optimism seems to be misplaced as women continue to be largely on the receiving end of various criminal acts like rape, sex trafficking, war crimes and the continuous  fight for equal pay, a battle that seems doomed for failure in some societies among others.

Some have argued that it is an illusion to believe that in this era, the march towards gender equality is making progress because more than ever, men seem to get more social power, dominance and privilege in this era while the perceived evolutionary march towards equality, peace and prosperity is like a pond. The gender gap in employment across the world, especially in Africa, remains wide while many women have to go through demoralizing acts, including sexual coercion, harassment and rape to get employment even when they have the required qualifications.

Even the income gaps refuse to shrink and many women still earn lesser than their male counterparts in some places in spite of the same workload, while violence against women in its many manifestations continues to be a major issue. This causes a major setback for the battle for equality and makes it difficult to predict what the future holds. But this unpredictable future has in no way stopped feminists from growing or raising their voice on a range of issues and campaigns that affect women.

But as activism continues to subtly change narratives and people’s responses to issues of gender inequalities in its many forms, the success of the global issue of gender inequality may for decades remain a mirage because inequality is a complex issue entrenched in all areas of life and propagated by culture as well as religious sentiments and pervasively defended by many, even those that are victims of the act.

 

 

 

 

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