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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Are we heading in the right direction regarding Gender Equality?

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For the nations to rise, for the generations to thrive, for the equality to prevail, and for the world to become a better place; 49.58% of the world’s population needs to be recognized on all platforms. It’s not just about the number. It’s about half of the world’s potential in the form of women who have been facing gender discrimination since ever.

Gender Equality has recently gained momentum over the past few decades. The unequal distribution of rights in all sectors of life; be it property, education, employment, and as small as decision making has resulted in women standing for themselves and raising their voices.

SDG5:

SDG 5 (Sustainable Developmental Goals 5) developed by the UN is one of the 17 goals that refers to gender equality. It is correlated to the rest of the 16 goals that help countries to prosper socially and economically. Despite many laws and bills that have been passed for egalitarianism, the figures showing domestic violence, and a lack of necessities like education, employment, healthcare, etc. are ballooning. 

According to the latest reports published by the UN, by the end of this year, almost 383 million women will be living an underprivileged life as compared to 368 million male members. unwomen.org The Global Gender Gap Report, a statistical index to measure gender discrimination designed by the World Economic Forum, shows more than a century is still needed to close the gap. The World Economic Forum’s GGG report shows that while Denmark is at the top, this gap has widened to 0.7% in Pakistan in just one year. Our country stands at 153rd position globally on the Gender Parity Index. Whereas the neighboring countries, Bangladesh and India, have glimpsed a narrowing of the gap, which is a point for us to ponder. PIDE 

Though Article 25 (2) in the Constitution of Pakistan ensures there will be no discrimination based on gender. However, the statistics (and that too, the reported cases)  of domestic abuse, right to inheritance, child brides, unemployment, and numerous other gender-based violence are alarming. The figures are sharply expanding with each passing year.

Fortunately, due to awareness campaigns run by the government and empowered women, oppressed women are now somewhat starting to realize their rights and raise their voices for themselves. 

Gender Equality and Climate Justice: 

Where the climatic change is affecting humanity at all levels, it is also not gender-neutral as well. The cost of devastating climate change is being paid by women, especially the rural ones where societal stigmas are still prevalent. Women are expected to collect water,  wood for the fire, feed the cattle, and take care of other chores at the same time despite harsh weather conditions and their health.  

However to address this concern, a first of its kind, a Climate Change Gender Action Plan (ccGAP) is being proposed by the joint efforts of IUCN and MoCC, Pakistan in June 2022. The plan provides a roadmap of gender equality in reference to climate change and its impact on the well-being of women. It emphasizes women’s inclusion in decision and policy-making concerning climate change on all national and global forums, which currently are predominantly run by male counterparts. Fingers crossed for its implementation. 

Women’s Empowerment in National Politics:

While the world is recognizing the impact of women’s inclusion in political, economic, and as well as public matters, Pakistan is still far behind in it and has a long journey to embark on. In this patriarchal culture, men are considered to be symbolic representations in politics, with the power and might to make decisions and implement the rules. Except for the few elite women who have dynastic political families, this domain is solely considered men’s worthy. 

Women’s empowerment is of paramount importance in Pakistani politics. Genuine democracy and gender equality can not be achieved without women being directly involved in public decision-making, thereby protecting the rights and needs of the general female population of Pakistan. But sadly, the situation at the hand is a bit gender biased. And this too, is attributed to the patriarchial mindset prevailing in the country, which can only be eradicated through education.

Currently, Pakistan stands

  •  97th worldwide in female political involvement.
  •   69 out of 342 are female members of the National Assembly.
  • 20/104 are in Senate. 

Though there is a long way to go, Pakistan is gradually realizing the significance of women in politics. This is reflected in the long-term strategic planning of the country, increasing gender quota in assemblies, ministries, educational setups, and policy-making higher appointments. 

According to World Economic GGG 2022

  •  Pakistan witnessed an increase in women’s political inclusion and is able to rank itself higher at 95/146 amongst the other countries.
  • The Pakistan Vision 2025 which is in accordance with the UNSDCF 2023 to 2027 depicts gender neutrality, engagement of susceptible and marginalized groups, and vigilance against gender-based crimes and their reporting and subsequent action against it.UN Women Pakistan

Gender Equality and Economic Development:

The untapped potential, the long-term insight into futuristic matters, and the industriousness of women should never be underestimated when it comes to women’s empowerment in the financial uplift of countries. 

Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) is keen towards gender neutrality in the economic upfront of nations. Pakistan is also heading towards the same goal. It is estimated that if the female workforce becomes equal to that of males by the year 2025, the GDP of Pakistan can be increased by 60%. Southasianvoices.org

  • Pakistan stands at 146 worldwide in the economic contribution by its  women 
  • The current situation in Pakistan shows women account for 22.63% of the labor force
  •  their income roughly approximates 16.3% of the man’s income.

These worrisome figures are a result of multidimensional challenges women have to face here. These include job insecurities, poor nutrition, lack of social protection, social constraint of free-moving, and predominantly the patriarchal notion as a whole where men are considered to be the breadwinners of the family.

Conclusion:

The global dispositioning and jeopardy of gender biases result in not only depriving half of the world’s population of living their lives to the fullest but also holding back the countries’ progress. Gender discrimination is not just about the lack of basic human rights, it’s about the potential that is continually wasted unchecked. Women empowerment is not only considered for women, it’s about the political, economical, and social stability of the whole world.

Though continuous efforts are being made, a need for rapid implementation and ensuring gender equality is a need of the hour. Together we can rise to the highest glories of mankind. 

Article by Anum Hassan. 

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