Gender Equality Is a Key to Sustainable Development: Report

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Gender Equality Is a Key to Sustainable Development: Report

Despite the progressive outlook in society, gender inequality is still very much a reality and continues to oppress and discriminate people, especially among the marginalized sectors / Photo by: daisydaisy via 123RF

 

Despite the progressive outlook in society, gender inequality is still very much a reality and continues to oppress and discriminate people, especially among the marginalized sectors. A recent report by KPMG International, a multinational professional services network, showed that discrimination is the most significant factor driving the gender pay gap in Australia. This shows that even in the most developed nations, issues concerning gender inequality are still rampant. 

 

Pay Gap Due to Gender Discrimination

According to an article by The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, the researchers found that nearly 39 percent of the gender pay gap in Australia is linked to gender discrimination. The study also revealed other factors that contribute to the gender pay gap. This includes years of not working because of interruptions, caring for elderly relatives, and primary childcare (25 percent); occupational and industrial segregation (17 percent); and unpaid domestic work and part-time employment (7 percent each). 

Gender inequality remains a major barrier not only to human development but also to reaching the full potential of our society. Girls and women have made major strides in the past decades starting in 1990, but still, they have not gained gender equity. All too often, they are discriminated against when it comes to education, health, political representation, labor market, and others.

Gender inequality remains a major barrier not only to human development but also to reaching the full potential of our society / Photo by: Ion Chiosea via 123RF

 

 Deeply Rooted

The World Economic Forum's 2019 Global Gender Report projected that it will take more than a century to reach gender parity. The report found that the biggest gaps that need to close are in the economic and political empowerment sectors, which were projected to be realized in 202 and 107 years, respectively.

Gender equality is an important tool to ensure that all rights are upheld and protected. Without it, gender discrimination will not only be perpetuated but even becomes even worse, affecting the lives of many people.

Several governments around the world have instituted measures to solve this issue. However, those are not enough to minimize and eliminate gender inequality since it is rooted in a country’s history, tradition, and culture. Harmful gender stereotypes and norms are difficult to eradicate especially in conservative cultures. 

The Global Cost of Gender Inequality

Gender inequality not only negatively impacts the most vulnerable but also causes huge costs, depriving a lot of people their rights and opportunities. It affects families, communities, and the entire economy. A recent report by the World Bank found out that the economic cost of gender inequality worldwide is $160.2 trillion. Globally, men account for 62 percent of human capital wealth while only 38 percent for women. 

According to an article by Giving Compass, an all-in-one philanthropy hub helping people to learn more and connect to charitable organizations, funds, and volunteering, the report showed that gender inequality in earnings on a per capita basis could lead to losses of $23,620 per person around the world. The researchers also noted that these losses vary between regions and countries because levels of human capital wealth tend to increase in absolute values with economic development.

The report identified two main factors explaining why women have lower earnings and human capital wealth than men. One is fewer hours worked in the labor market; the other is lower labor force participation rates. These factors hinder women from boosting their productivity and also gaining the same rates as men. Libby Lyons, director of Workplace Gender Equality Agency, said, “At the heart of each of these factors are stubborn gender stereotypes about the roles women and men play in both paid and unpaid work and family and caring responsibilities."

Gender Equality Is a Key to Sustainable Development

Gender equality is not just a concern of women. It is also a human right, which means that it concerns all of us. Society can't be fully developed nor can it achieve its full potential economically, politically, or socially when large populations are marginalized. According to an article by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, gender equality is intrinsically associated with sustainable development. Also, it is important for the realization of human rights for all. 

Gender equality primarily aims to achieve a society where all genders have the same rights, opportunities, and obligations. Equality between men and women means that power and influence are equally distributed among them. They also have equal opportunities for financial independence, share responsibility for the home and children, and enjoy equal access to education. Ultimately, both are free from discrimination, intimidation, and violence anywhere they go. 

If those factors are achieved, our society can develop to its full capacity and everyone is treated equally. This would enable us to make decisions on our own and live with freedom and dignity. The World Economic Forum, an international organization that engages the foremost political, business, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas, reported that the consequences of not providing all genders with equal voices, choices, and opportunities will have direct impacts on the future of our world. 

As the World Bank reported: "Ending gender inequality by investing in girls and women is essential to increase the changing wealth of nations and enable countries to develop in sustainable ways. This makes economic sense and it is the right thing to do." Indeed, a critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women. Aside from highlighting the benefits of gender equality in achieving sustainable development, power imbalances in a patriarchal society must be addressed.

Gender equality primarily aims to achieve a society where all genders have the same rights, opportunities, and obligations / Photo by: anyaberkut via 123RF

 

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