Achieving gender equality (II)


Muhammad Shahid

In our society it is women who shoulder the responsibility of nurturing the family. Women also extend assistance to male members of family in economic activities.
Women in villages make an important contribution to food and other agriculture production. Working women in both rural and urban areas are doing the same by adding to their family income. These tasks add to women’s workload and are an obstacle to engagement in political and social activities. This contribution of women often goes unnoticed. They are not even encouraged, not to speak of reward for women working in unpaid sector. Government must come up with policies to encourage and facilitate women so that they can play the above-mentioned roles along with taking active part in social and political activities.
Gender-based violence is also a manifestation of gender inequality. Almost every woman faces violence in one form or the other during her lifetime. Despite the existence of various laws, violence is on increase in our society. Gender-based violence is one of the main hindrances in the way of women to lead a normal life, not to speak of their socio-economic and political roles.
Gender inequalities are not confined to economic and political spheres but are reflected almost in every area of life and often in ways that are difficult to measure. The discriminatory behaviour women have to face is often grounded in gender stereotypes and patriarchal nature of society. These ideas and practices further complicate gender inequalities.
Achieving greater equality between women and men require changes at many levels including changes in attitudes and relationships, changes in institutions and legal frameworks, changes in economic institutions, and changes in political decision making structures. Without bringing these changes plight of women cannot be changed and they will be suffering, like ever, unheard and unseen.
For achieving gender equality and socio-economic development, it is important to incorporate gender perspectives in all areas of societal development. Sustainable development is possible only when gender perspectives are identified and addressed. If we are interested in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals priority should be given to gender equality as an important means of attaining them.