As we arrive at the end of Women’s History Month, each of us needs to remember the importance of gender equality in all aspects of life. Women have historically been suppressed by men and this has led to unfair practices and intolerable injustices committed against them. From workplace troubles to societal gender norms, today we are finally seeing a slow shift away from these practices. However, we must ensure that this shift not only speeds up but is one of the key issues that we, as a society, continue to attempt to fix.
The simple fact is that the world is a male-dominated society. Most of the people in power today, across the globe, are men. This slows down the progress towards gender equality and in turn, keeps the power balance well within the control of men. For women to finally be given equal rights and opportunities, we must look to women leaders who can inspire the right change and make a difference in the fight for gender equality. Women such as Vice President Kamala Harris are prime examples of what a woman in power should be and they serve as a great role model for future generations. Here are the problems that still plague women around the world.
Globally, women have fewer opportunities to pursue higher education levels. While this is something that has steadily been changing in recent times, there are still many cultures and countries that barre women from gaining higher education degrees. According to the Peace Corps, “girls still make up a higher percentage of out-of-school children than boys.
Approximately one-quarter of girls in the developing world do not attend school.” This number is alarming as it means that women are simply not allowed to grow and support themselves. This boils down to gender norms set by society such as a reliance on girls’ labor for household chores, carrying water, and childcare.
To allow for women to grow and become independent, education must be the first section of society that is made more accessible to them. There are several benefits to educating women, from ensuring that they can raise healthier children and give their own children an education, to, according to the Peace Corps, “participate in political processes,” and become less likely to contract diseases like HIV.
Health and Safety
This brings us to another section of society where women are generally negatively impacted, health. Women’s health has become a bigger issue in recent times. There has been a spike in HIV cases affecting women. Furthermore, due to the poor education that many women around the world get, women are often lacking when it comes to health education. Gender-based violence is also a big factor that affects women globally as sexual crimes and domestic violence crimes tend to negatively affect women more than men.
A big issue that many women often face is Maternal Health. For starters, maternal health care is often expensive and requires money that many women may not have access to because of the poor education and employment opportunities for women in various countries. So, promoting affordable health care is a vital step in improving gender equality across the board. Women generally require more healthcare due to their ever-changing bodies and this means that countries need to give women access to more affordable and more versatile health care plans.
Economic and Political Empowerment
By understanding the drawbacks of women in terms of education and health, it is easy to see why women are often forced to live dependent on others. While women make up about half of the global population, they are not given the same opportunities presented to men. This affects their involvement in economic and political processes. For women to become truly independent and enjoy equality, they must be given the chance to participate in economic and political movements.
In recent times, the developed world has seen a spike in female leaders, whether political or business. This spike has also inspired women from less developed nations to step up and be more independent. By promoting economic and political gender equality, women's empowerment will surely rise, and the best way to promote these qualities is to show women that they can do this. Simply put, increasing the opportunities for women to find education, health care, and jobs, can greatly improve women's independence and in turn promote gender equality.
Women Empowerment is turning into a global movement and is something that has been needed for decades. Women around the world are gaining better access to education, healthcare, employment, and political participation. They are also able to be inspired by some great women who have risen to the heights of economic and political power, like U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi, and General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
Our very own, Utopia Spa & Global Wellness Founder and CEO, Naya Powell is one of these women. She has been heavily promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality through her own platforms. UtopiaSGW is 80% women led, offers flexible work arrangements and pay equity. Powell has even partnered with The Woman Boss to give women in developing countries a safe space to learn important skills that can make them thriving entrepreneurs. It is this type of work that truly goes on to inspire generations and that can make a significant difference in our society. These inspirational women have paved the path to promote gender equality and are showing women around the world that they are capable of achieving great things!