Creating a foundation for #GenderParity at home

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 and this year’s theme is #GenderParity since this past year saw a decline gender equality from previous years. Readers share how they think we need to be improving gender equality in social, economic, cultural and political terms

Creating a foundation for equality at home

Gender parity needs to have its inception at home. In an age where technology is defying practically everything, ironically, this heated subject seems to be creating more walls than bridges. Education is not restricted to books as a tool or medium for addressing this socio-economic concern.

The feeling of caring for fellow human beings has its humble beginnings at home, where it needs to be nurtured and sustained. Women in one part of the world have transformed reaching Mars from a distant dream into a reality. On the other hand, some women aren’t free to choose their life.

Gender parity could culminate when the world realises that a woman though tough within, holds great qualities. They are jugglers, survivors, pioneers, students, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and, at times, breadwinners. Women need their self-respect and dignity in the same world a man lives in. The world needs to wake up and understand that it is time to increase the economic participation and advancement of women, thus ensuring a strong foundation for rising prosperity and posterity.

From Ms Shalini Menezes

Dubai

UAE offering opportunity

I would like to talk especially with regards to UAE for International Women’s Day this year. I am sure that everyone would agree that the UAE has much respect for women. Even the authorities implement many strategies to give more opportunities for women in this country. Even if we go to an office/counter at an authority, we can see special counters/services for women.

Women have been treated very well and with high respect in this country, which I very much appreciate. The best example is the appointments of the new cabinet ministers that included young, talented and experienced women who will pave the way for a strong administration for the wellbeing of the people of the UAE.

From Mr Salim Mohammad

Dubai

Aim for gender justice

Gender equality is an absurd concept. Men and women will never be equal as they are created differently, be it physically, mentally or emotionally, and it should remain so. What we should aim for is gender justice. There should never be discrimination against women just because of their gender. Actually the discrimination comes from gender stereotypes, which are not only descriptive, but prescriptive. So much so that the society wants to see different genders behaving in a particular way. We must agree that as men and women are different, there are some issues that are best dealt by men and some by women. But if a woman wants to pursue something that is normally considered out of their traditional territory there should not be prohibition just because of their gender and it should also ring true for the man. If that happens, that is where gender justice is denied.

From Ms Sajida Kamal

Abu Dhabi

Equality starts at home

Creating a world with equal rights for girls and women is the most daunting challenge of the century. Gender equality and the realisation of women and girls’ rights are fundamental for achieving human rights, peace and sustainable development. It must be central to the post-2015 development agenda. As a 15-year-old youth activist, I have been campaigning for gender equality for several years and was privileged to attend the United Nations HeForShe campaign, which was launched in New York, US in 2014.

To celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day, our youth organisation, Green Hope held a panel discussion, our organisation’s theme: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

We need a change in mindset and this change must begin within the walls of our homes so that boys and girls are perceived as equals.

From Ms Kehkashan Basu

Dubai

Equality benefits us all

Gender equality and the empowerment of women are gaining ground worldwide. There are more women heads of state or heads of government than ever before and the highest proportion of women serving as government ministers. Women are exercising ever greater influence in business.

On this International Women’s Day, I urge governments, civil society and the private sector to commit to gender equality and the empowerment of women as a fundamental human right and a force for the benefit of all. The energy, talent and strength of women and girls represent humankind’s most valuable untapped natural resource.

From Mr Jameel Ahmad

Raichur City, India

For better governance

The decline in gender equality last year was due to so many factors like market fluctuations and the economy. Now this is improving as many nations started recruiting women for top positions and they also proved their mettle. Earlier employers were hesitant to recruit women because of their maternity leave and other aspects, but I think their mindsets have changed.

India is encouraging equality and women empowerment in all areas like education, jobs and politics. The UAE is also adopting this concept.

Gender equality is needed at this hour, especially in politics. This concept will change society and women will get more recognition.

From Mr K. Ragavan

Bengaluru, India

UAE promoting equality

In a revolutionising generation, where young girls can look up to their mothers for inspiration and women have the ability to be influenced by empowering women such as CEO of Yahoo Marissa Meyer, CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi and Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany. Despite this, the world saw a drastic decline in the number of opportunities women received. Now considered as a human right, women empowerment, is currently being viewed as the need of the hour and the importance of that is being recognised by a vast number of countries. With the UAE taking the lead in the Arab world in promoting the idea of equality in women, by offering women prominent government positions and equal opportunities in other fields as well, this is the true celebration of the spirit of International Woman’s Day.

From Ms Shivani Singh

Abu Dhabi

Acceptance and maintenance

Resistance is second nature to human behaviour. Then again, so is resilience. As women’s rights have evolved over the last century, so have trends in business, entertainment and education. It is true that today there are more women in the workforce, in schools and in prominent positions than there have ever been in history. However the stigma of women’s abilities still remain.

In my opinion, attaining gender equality begins with acceptance. What many fail to do is accept the qualities of their female counterparts due to the behavioural resistance that has been evolving over time. The second step is maintenance. Although our primary concern is achieving gender equality over time, the matter shall progress to maintaining equality. Much of the youth and working class face resistance towards development however, we are a resilient force and the disparity in gender equality can be sealed through acceptance and maintenance.

From Ms Simran Vedvyas

Dubai

Equal chance in any endeavour

The Philippines has improved in the gender equality. From almost all facets of life that were previously dominated by men, presently women are prominent. For instance, Philippine politics was blessed with the 11th president, Cory Aquino and a number of women senators since. Some of them were the good daughters, sisters and wives of previous politicians, but most of them were not and are not. They are ordinary people and have the strong will and passion to stand and fight for human rights and strive to achieve gender equality. Because a woman is strong with compassion, intelligence, beauty (inside and out) and courage, we have remarkable and unique perspectives.

Women must be given an equal chance in any field of endeavour. A parent, brother, friend or husband must be there to support and disregard the old cliche that women are of the weaker sex. Kudos to all the women achievers and may the effort continue for the 50:50 opportunity and celebrate the International Women’s Day 2016.

From Ms Ma Teresa Sanchez-Edpan

UAE

We all need to act!

Tireless efforts, campaigns and other measures have been adopted to help women get fair treatment and equal rights as their male counterparts but, sadly, equality between genders has not been achieved to date.

Women’s rights have become a mere debatable topic with more being said than done. There are countless examples of how women have been treated unfairly in the past and have continued to endure abuse and hardship as the world talks of gender parity. In many organisations, women are not offered managerial positions due to the popular belief that men make wiser decisions and are not as emotional as us.

Unless women stand for their rights, have faith and confidence in their ability and there is a shift in the mindset of the society, gender parity will only remain a phrase – impossible to achieve.

From Ms Fatima Suhail

Sharjah

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