It is your Role
Paraphrasing Emma Watson’s words, despite struggling for a uniting word, we have the blessing to have a uniting movement.
My name is Ferdinando J. Castro Gonzalez. I am an international student at Dallas College Richland Campus raised and born in Caracas, Venezuela. At a young age, I witness how several companies and communities dismissed my mother's talent and efforts based solely on her gender. A woman without a man seemed to be someone not worthy of consideration. It hurt me beyond description not only because of the injustice that represents, but because I saw that my mom was used to it. For her, it was the norm, and she accepted it without much complaint. This feeling started to grow more into a rage when as an adolescent. I was asked to start incorporating some of these practices because "that is what men do." Refusing to follow the norm, I commenced understanding that gender inequality does not affect only women. Men are also subject to these "social contracts" that our society developed. I was label as gay, unfit for relationships, or just plain weird for the simple act of believing that women should be treated as equal. To my surprise, as I got more involved with different sustainability projects, I learned that it is considered one of the Sustainable Development Goals, and I am determined to work hard, promoting better and fairer treatment for individuals as a whole.
This subject is not limited to males and females, as it is an issue that affects everyone disregarding your age. These inequalities are expressed differently, depending on your cultural background and gender role in your society. Why should we aim to achieve this goal? Because by addressing it, we should see a significant decrease in domestic violence. It will promote economic prosperity where individuals enjoy better health and safety, and it will produce a greater sense of communion where participants enjoy a better form of living. Gender equality, as defined by UNICEF, Is when equal rights and opportunities for human beings, help all people fulfill their potential. (UNICEF, 2019).
Sadly, despite this topic's relevance in today’s society, I continuously observe how the term “gender equality” is vaguely used and significantly misrepresented. The terminology is not one that fits just a particular group, but all groups. Gender equality is a movement that seeks for all people, women and men, to have access to the same rights. It pushes for a society where your gender identity will not determine whether you will be protected by the law or not and where we all have access to the same resources. If we think about it, the benefits that come from achieving this goal will last for many generations to come since our next generations will count on a more stable community where the resources are better distributed and opportunities are granted fairly. As UNICEF stated, gender equality is critical for all children to have a fair chance in life (UNICEF, 2020).
I do not think there is a need for me to point out how far we are from this ideal world. As I mentioned earlier, not only do we have ways to go, but we are all affected differently. Let's start with the children. The gender stereotypes affect their perceptions of themselves. According to The Children’s Society, 44% of girls said being good looking is the most important for them, while 1 in 8 boys believe that being tough is the most important trait (The Children's Society, 2020). Our society is heavily focused on creating apparent differences among each other than working on uniting us. We needed to sectorize our tasks to ensure our species’ survivability, but that time is over. Those practices are not required anymore, and it is time to update. These gender stereotypes are forcing us to create a persona so we can fit in. Sometimes, the implication of fitting in is to let ourselves be held by lower standards of living than others based on uncontrollable and sometimes even unreasonable facts. We all have experienced gender discrimination, so we all know how it feels and how damaging it can be. It is in our best interest to create a more inclusive society where gender does not subject our dreams. Based on an assessment that Australia's government performed, countries with unequal societies are more likely to have higher rates of anti-social behaviors and violence; conversely, those who embrace gender equality enjoy healthier and safer communities (Government of Victoria, 2019).
The European Institute for Gender Equality realized a study on how reducing gender inequalities in sectors such as STEM education, labor market activity, and payment could impact their economy. They concluded that, based on their modeling, improving gender equality will largely positively affect the GDP per capita (Maceira, 2020). These positive results would happen due to the increased productivity and the improvement of the economy's potential productive capacity. It has been overall harder for women to be reasonably included in our society. Allowing them to have equal chances will increase their potential, which will help us obtain our other Sustainable Development Goals.
One important consideration that explains the hardships to obtain equality is the misrepresentation of women and minority groups on leadership positions, included but not limited to governmental functions and companies. This misrepresentation of leadership positions happens because of overall unconscious bias in leadership positions and lack of fair recruitment practices. It is a subject to be a concern because we have kids watching and growing, believing they cannot hold certain positions due to their skin color and gender orientation, to name some examples. Just like that, we are coercing their ambitions in life and subjugating them to seek less than they may deserve. Our current system is installing blocks that are not helping the majority of us and are stalling our economy. We have great individuals with fantastic ideas; it should be considered a priority to focus on their development because they will lead the future. It should be our best interest to invest in a better legacy. We have the power to start creating a better future today.
As the UN explains, Gender equality is more than a fundamental human right; it is a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world (Ritchie et al., 2018). The equal inclusion of females and minority groups on education, workforce, and country’s decisions will propel our efforts for a more sustainable society where our communities will enjoy a better life prospect and a fairer resource distribution.
The Children's Society. (2020, September 1). How gender roles and stereotypes affect young people: The Children's Society. Children's Gender Roles & Stereotypes | The Children's Society. https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/blogs/how-gender-roles-affect-young-people.
Government of Victoria. (2019). Gender equality: what is it and why do we need it? Victorian Government. https://www.vic.gov.au/gender-equality-what-it-and-why-do-we-need-it.
Maceira, H. M. (1970, January 1). Economic Benefits of Gender Equality in the EU. Intereconomics. https://www.intereconomics.eu/contents/year/2017/number/3/article/economic-benefits-of-gender-equality-in-the-eu.html.
Ritchie, Roser, Mispy, Ortiz-Ospina. "Measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals." SDG-Tracker.org, website (2018).
UNICEF. (2019). Gender equality. UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/gender-equality.
UNICEF. (2020, July 2). Gender Equality Statistics. UNICEF DATA. https://data.unicef.org/topic/gender/overview/.