.Gender equality also known as gender egalitarianism or equality of the genders, is of the view that everyone should receive equal treatment and not to be discriminated against based on their gender. This is one of the objectives of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which seeks to create equality in law and in social situations, such as in democratic activities and securing equal pay for equal work. In practice, the objective of gender equality is for people to acquire, if they so choose, equal treatment throughout the society, not just in politics, the workplace, or any other policy designated sphere.
World bodies have defined gender equality in terms of human rights, especially women’s rights and economic development. UNICEF describes that gender equality “means that women and men, boys and girls, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same or that they be treated exactly alike.
While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the millennium development goals (including equal access to primary education between boys and girls), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.
The youth could help in promoting gender equality by helping to:
End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls in Africa.
Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in all works of life.
Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.
Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.
“On the average, women in the labour market earn 24% less than men globally.
The youths, making up majority of the populace can make their voice heard in tackling this issue and curbing it totally. We have seen cases of women who are doing great things in the world and making an impact in the society, with the likes of Hillary Clinton of America, Dr, Okonjo Iweala to mention a few, we also have for the first time in the UAE a female allowed to contest for a parliament position which has never happened. Let’s join hands in achieving this goal and eradicating gender inequality in our society and continent at large.
Speech by Okoli Chukwuka Ikenna.