George Carlin once said “Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.” Gender equality is a basic human right. Gender equality entails the concept that women are equal to men in all spheres of life viz. they should be given equal opportunity and rights, freedom to make choices, fulfil dreams and aspirations and not be defined and bound by flawed societal norms. It directly attacks the medieval sexist view which had predefined gender roles and attracted the wrath of society if defied. It advocates that even when both the sexes behave differently, have different needs and aspirations the same has to be valued and favoured equally.
Since the beginning of civilization women was considered weak then their counterparts and work assigned to her were to tend children, household chores, and stay indoors. From generation, this trend continued and the thought men are sole bread earners of family gained popularity and became the order of the day. With the rise of the feminist movement, this view was strongly challenged and criticized. The fact that there still continues to be higher rates of female foeticide, they are not encouraged to take further education, child marriage is still prevalent in poor countries of the world, women don’t have property rights, violence against women bear a witness to the fact that women still continue to be vulnerable and inferior. Women even after excelling and being at par with men still fight for equality. Even in 2019, the salary for men is still 21% higher than the salary given to women employees. With world community realising and giving important legal status women there has been shift although yet to reach its exclusivity. In 1979 , the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and almost 90% of the countries have ratified this convention. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 "Global Goals" with one of the targets to achieve is gender equality and empower all girls and women.
Though things and times have improved, the battle is still going on. Following are a few ways in which gender equality can be achieved.
The fundamental change which is needed to be incorporated is that women, teenaged girls etc. should be made part of the policy and lawmaking process. These people will be in a better position to suggest the changes required to make implementation of these policies and laws effective. It is the time everyone realises that both genders have been evolved differently but they are equal.
Change the patriarchal and misogynist mindset which broods the fact that women are less and not capable of achieving anything. This is high time we value our daughters and mothers are valuable and priceless who need wings to fly. We need to believe in them and see them shine.
Change the mindset that only function of the female body is to reproduce, A BIG NO. Families tend to not invest in the education of a girl child. Consider them as a burden who needs to be married. For heaven sake stop child marriages, let these little flowers to blossom.
Make all institutions right from education, judiciary, police, gender sensitive. Instead of propagating negative stereotypes make community sensitive to needs of womenfolk. Another aspect is that women need to be given equal status and equal wages. The Constitution of India itself provides for equal wages for the same amount of work. Since violence against women is not thing of past, make effective laws to ensure the safety of women. And last not the least make your girl child fearlessly confident. Tell her she doesn’t need to suppress her emotions and capabilities to fit into boxes. Empower and educate them! Support them! And to you, young mommies bring up your son in a way she is taught to respect women!