Gender Equality at the Heart of Development

Within recent decades, gender equality has been recognized as an important indicator of development. Besides the fundamental humanistic premise that all people are born equal and should not be treated unjustly based on their gender, striving for gender equality is also justified by practical applications. For example, studies show that women’s presence in government positively affects the decision-making processes and overall governance efficiency due the diversity and variety of experiences brought by women (Gender equality at the heart of development, 2013). Gender equality can be regarded from three perspectives: global, national, and personal.

Globally, the map of gender equality initiatives and practices is diverse and uneven with both successes achieved and challenges faced. The United Nations recognizes 52 gender indicators in five domains: 1) economic structures, participation in productive activities and access to resources; 2) education; 3) health and related services; 4) public life and decision-making; and 5) human rights of women and girl children. One of the major achievements recognized by activists is the growing acknowledgment that the improvement of gender equality in a society promotes the economic stability and growth.

According to the report by the Department for International Development, gender equality achievements in Mali such as increased availability of education to women and girls largely contributed to the economic development of the country (Gender equality at the heart of development, 2013). The challenges, however, are still serious. One of the most daunting problems is violence against women. According to a report by the World Health Organization, 35 percent of women in the world have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime (Violence against women, 2016). A way to address the problem is to conduct education and healthcare programs to prevent the violence and respond to it effectively.

In the United Arab Emirates, gender equality rates have been consistently improving for several years. This conclusion is made by a study of the achievements of the UAE in pursuing the Millennium Development Goal No 3, which is gender equality. The study considered two major areas: education and employment (Kemp, 2013). The author concluded that, while both areas demonstrate successes and challenges, education is improving faster in terms of gender equality than employment.

The findings are based on the demographic, social, and labor force statistics published by the government as well as nonprofit international organizations. The observed trends demonstrate that the government employed the strategy and has been making a persistent effort to improve women’s access to education and to increase the acceptance of educated women in the society, which largely contributed to gender equality. In employment, however, there are still difficulties. The author lists three complicating factors: only a narrow range of professions recruits women, employment potential depends on study choice, and public sector is significantly more likely to employ women. The prediction is that education will continue to move towards gender quality more rapidly than employment.

I personally believe that gender equality is important to my country’s development. In the long-standing debate on what the role of women should be in the society, my stand is that, although men and women are different, they should have equal opportunities. In the modern world, economically successful and culturally advanced are those societies that have been working towards women engagement in all kinds of social interactions. Providing women with the rights to education, free choices, and professional growth contributes to the overall development of a country.

It is also very important for me that the UAE are free of violence or discrimination against women. A society where women are vulnerable or subjected to oppression is an unsafe society full of threats to all its members. I believe that the most important aspect of pursuing gender equality is providing the conceptual understanding of equal treatment and elimination of gender-based discrimination. A way to do it is to educate people and communities on gender issues. Observing the improvements with gender equality allows me to hope that I will get to see within my lifetime a society where men and women are truly equal in terms of their rights and opportunities.

The gender equality pursuit has demonstrated significant successes as well as challenges. The pursuit has been acknowledged as one of the priorities of global development, and the connection between gender equality and economic development has been established. However, there is still a daunting problem of violence against women in many societies. In the UAE, gender equality progress in education has been observed for several years, while in employment the situation is still problematic. I believe that my country will achieve better results in gender equality as I see actual measures taken in this area.

References

Gender equality at the heart of development: Why the role of women is crucial to ending world poverty. (2013). Web.

Gender statistics: Report of the Secretary-General. (2015). Web.

Kemp, L. J. (2013). Progress in female education and employment in the United Arab Emirates towards Millennium Development Goal (3): gender equality. Foresight, 15(4), 264-277.

Violence against women. (2016). Web.