You’ve signed up to achieving gender equality. Great stuff! When you signed up to achieving 17 Global Goals to end poverty, we were thrilled to see gender equality make it up there. An educated girl is more likely to marry later and have fewer, healthier children. She has a better chance of staying healthy and remaining alive. But gender equality isn’t just about education. It’s about equal opportunities to lead, to own, and be safe.
Now the world’s girls need you to make gender equality happen. Here’s a to-do list for combating sexist attitudes and discrimination that drive gender inequality. Here’s what girls want.
This is the big one. Every other gain will flow from this one. It might sound too good to be true but if we want to see gender equality in our generation this is where we have to start. We need to take a long hard look at what causes power imbalance – what’s at the heart of discrimination against women and girls. Ultimately it comes down to a choice. Humans choose to discriminate based on assumptions and attitudes. And because it is a choice, it is also something we can choose to change. Let’s make 2016 the year we choose to see women and girls wherever they are as equally capable as men and end gender-based discrimination once and for all.
The World Bank data shows that women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents and malaria. Shocking? Then let’s end all violence, including domestic abuse, trafficking, sexual and all other kinds of exploitation. We can do this by preventing it from community level, and creating and implementing laws that protect women and girls.
Harmful practices like child marriage and genital mutilation (FGM) are practiced in most developing countries. FGM alone is thought to affect up to 140 million women and girls and is a violation of human rights. Child marriage disrupts girls’ childhood, forcing them into early motherhood and potentially a life of abuse. The Guardian’s campaign against FGM shows that we can come together, learn about these practices and end them for good.
We’ve made progress in the women’s leadership space. Rosie Batty, Malala Yousafzai, Hilary Clinton, the women elected into parliament in Saudi Arabia and the thousands of young women starting their own enterprises through Plan International programs are a testament to the world’s dedication to women’s participation. In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 per cent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber. But we need more women leaders, more women voices, and more participation of girls to combat discrimination at all levels of society. More!
Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. That’s just one example of widespread economic inequality around the world. We want a world where all women have equal access to economic resources than their husbands, fathers and brothers do. This means access to ownership and control of land, and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws. Financial independence leads to better quality of life, improved confidence and decision-making power.
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Learn more about Goal 5