The term “Gender” is referring to the socially and/or economically constructed activities, behavior, roles, and/or attributes that are considered appropriate at a given place and time in a society for women and girls, and boys and men, and the inter-related relationships and differences.
Gender is defining and differentiating what girls and women, and boys and men are expected or supposed to be doing or developing into, regarding their roles, rights, responsibilities, and/or their obligations in their communities or societies.
Of course, there are distinct biological and physical differences between girls and boys and women and men, and of course, these differences may lead to different roles, capacities, or needs for each group, but these differences in themselves should never result in or be used to justify any unequal rights or social status. In many societies, these distinct differences in behaviors and roles defined for girls and women, and boys and men, are causing gender inequality, meaning there is a difference between girls and women, and boys and men that favor one group in a systematic way.
Gender often plays a key role to determine who has what, who does what, who has power, who decides, who gets a decent education, and who does not. There still are numerous societies where boys are regarded as the ones that must be educated, whereas the girls are not given this privilege.
Gender equality, according to UNICEF, is meaning that girls and boys, and women and men, will be able to enjoy identical opportunities, protections, and rights. Gender inequality is created when one gender group within a society has more opportunities and rights than the other. Even in a civilized society like the USA, gender inequality is existing. Just read this post about inequality in sports.
There are many international declarations (e.g. CEDAW) to defend and promote women’s rights in its broadest sense. Therefore, these days, gender equality is seen as and promoted to be, one of the fundamental conditions for fully enjoying human rights and responsibilities by men and women alike. The fundamental right to gender equality is regarded by globally operating organizations and agencies as a key condition for development and growth, both economically and culturally.
Despite all the efforts, gender inequality continues to persist in many areas and societies across the world. Overcoming the issues related to gender inequality is requiring a never-subsiding and profound transformation in many societies regarding relationships and social structures in the relationships between women and men. We can also see that in many societies, women who want to get back to work are faced with more obstacles than men.
Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons why girls and women generally are losing out to boys and men when it comes to deciding which family or community member may be participating in educational programs:
- In case of a choice between sending a girl or a boy to school, boys are often given precedence.
- The traditional division of work is often disadvantaging girls. They are more likely expected to care for siblings, work at home, and so on.
- An intractable patriarchal society, early and/or forced marriage, low social status, all these factors make that girls and women often are faced with lower education priority. Very often we see that the content of educational programs is even reinforcing gender stereotypes resulting in a perpetuation of discrimination and gender inequality.
- Girls are often expected to work at the house and care for the family, and girls who don’t have any family (or the support and stability of a family) are much likely to be abused or exploited.
- It’s not just education. We see many instances where boys and men are receiving more food as well than girls and women.
- Girls frequently need to be the head of their households while boys are often recruited to serve in the military forces.