Providing women and girls with equal opportunities and access to decision-making is a way to build an innovative and active society. Working together, equally, is the only way to make societies successful.”
We witness every March the 8th several initiatives to support gender equality, in general women’s voice is raised during this particular day. . . And yet, many disparities between men and women still remain today, not only in areas such as education and professional opportunities, but also in health services and justice.
Facts still suggest a harsh reality. For example, out of 796 million illiterate people in the world, two thirds are women; and women only earn 10% of the world’s total income even though they account two thirds of the work done globally. These disparities are even worse in rural areas.
Striking figures when we can see many global forums where experts discuss and show how the integration of women into development projects is an essential tool for promoting their own success and how women are vital for achieving major economic, environmental and social changes.
So perhaps, more than filling female quotas and having forums to discuss about the topic, it seems that we need to adopt a more progressive approach to build from the bottom up so equal opportunities can be ensured.
There are notable examples such as Muhammad Yunus’ model, who created Grameen Bank in Bangladesh to provide microcredits, so that economic and social development can be created from a grassroots level . Most of the borrowers are poor women, who through microcredit can work to bring about their own development.
Another example is the case of Finland where gender equality has been a social innovation that has generated social renewal and prosperity. Including females in decision and policy-making at a high level seems to be one of the most important factors in triggering actions such as providing extensive social and healthcare services that has allowed women to access the paid workforce, and be able to share domestic duties more freely. Equality in education has long been -by all means- a basic tenet in this country.
These are examples from which we could definitely all take a leaf out of their book as a society. Nonetheless, we can all do something at the individual level in our daily lives, such as being aware of our behaviors, demands and expectations regarding women and men, and of our unconscious assumptions about genders. Deconstructing our mental structures about genders and realizing the power of working together could make a difference.
Helping in any way to ensure equal opportunities is crucial, not only regardless of gender, but also of race or social status.