Gender equality means when men and women enjoy the same opportunity and freedom across all society, including economic participation and decision making, and when the different behaviors, aspirations, and needs of women and men are equally valued and favored. 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 the political and economic decision-making process will fuel sustainable economic and benefit society and humanity at large. All women are not the same, but we have to consider that different woman of (age, religion, race, language, nationality, minority status, and geographical locations) have different experiences and different groups of these women are having the different degree of needs and vulnerabilities.
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Women are doing more than half of the world labor, but they formed the majority of the world poor population. Their reproductive works cannot be considered as work to be valued and to be paid for so they remained always dependent to male economically and subordinate to them. They often don’t have control over their body and resources.Women are investing most of their time in reproductive works so they don’t get the opportunity to formally work outside of the home it impacts their economic status and they also bear the double burden of work (domestic and public work). Women unpaid care works can be recognized and valued through giving awareness by media, research, networks, campaign and making gender-sensitive policies and many other ways. Women participation should not be understood just as the term of their presence in different national and international government bodies, but they should be involved in the decision making and should have an active role both nationally and internationally. Women have less role in leadership and decision making so the decision which is made by men difficult to consider the women vulnerabilities while women themselves are not involved in the decision making process. It has been assumed that women are less talented and less capable than men and they are fit for housework only, while such kinds of gender stereotypes do not have any bases it is just socially constructed, which people justify it by the name of cultural norms, religious believers and things like that. Along the history, women are paid a very high price for their rights and freedom and they have fought for their countries and freedom same as men, but who has written the history again it is men which there is no mentioned of women struggles and scarifies. They have been raped as warfare tool to bring shame in the community not only their scarifies have been ignored, but the victims are traumatized and they have been isolated from the community. That is what men and women are being treated differently in different eras of history. In the war, it is always women who are the victims of war and power politics, but their scarifies as war martyrs are not considered. Always it is women who are being blamed for what perpetrators have done.
Discrimination based on gender is not only the question of violation of women right, but it is a matter of violation of human right and in order to reach to the sustainable world we need ensure men and women can enjoy the same right and freedom. So it needs a worldwide effort and everyone should fulfill their responsibility to whatever extent it is possible. Perpetrators should be brought up to justice so the world can be much safer for women to live a life with full dignity and freedom. Gender-based stereotype and discrimination based on gender is a universal problem. It needs a huge work to be done it is not individual responsibility but it is a collective responsibility so every need to do their part. It is a humanistic responsibility beyond thinking of border, nation, language, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. The question of gender inequality is not limited to one specific country, but it exists everywhere with different degrees. Meanwhile, some countries are more venerable from every aspect than others here I bring the example of Afghanistan.
One of the reasons made me passionate to write on gender is my personal experience how much I have struggled for my basic right which was the right to get an education. It was there when I realized how there is big difference being a girl and women. Girls are being discriminated just because they are born a girl only. Later on, I realized the gender gap is much wider beyond the right to get an education. The discrimination against them will start from the time they are born or before they are born and cover all aspects of their life from domestic to public domain. According to UN, Afghanistan is the worst country to be born a woman.Afghan women are experiencing different forms of violence in daily bases. It is a fact that every Afghan woman experiences one or some forms of violence in their lifetime. The painful things are that their voices are not often been heard or intentionally suffocated. Women in Afghanistan face following obstacles for achieving their human rights.
One of the obstacles against gender equality in Afghanistan is tribal and cultural norms which strong rule of law can help to prevent some of the existing harmful traditional practices. Symbolic role of women should be a shift to the active involvement of women in high-level decision making. Presence of warlords and Jihadist in different government bodies (executive, legislative and Judiciary) which resist with the idea of gender equality they have to be held accountable and responsible for violation of human and women right. Gender equality cannot be achieved through the top-down approach and excluding the most marginalized women, there is a strong need of the rural women to be consulted and the most marginalized women’s needs to be included in designing and implementing different laws and policies.Most of the times there is lack of solid and coordinated efforts by different women rights actors (NGOs, Civil Society Government Institutions, and other actors) so there is a need for coordinated efforts by different actors such civil societies, NGOs, and government institution to avoid duplication or complete isolation.Lack of instability and regime change in the country one regime come with modernized efforts which faced backslash for the subsequent regime. Gender equality should be perceived as active involvement of both men and women.All these are not possible unless and until both men and women are aware of women right and fighting for gender equality. Making education gender sensitive is one effective way which children will be gender aware of at the very early age. Raising aspiration of girls and their parents is another way that parent should treat both girls and boys children equally and give equal chance and opportunity for both girl and boy child.
writer Zarifa Sabet Kabul, Afganistan. She has completed Masters degree in International Relations from South Asian University, New Delhi, India.