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Breaking Barriers: How Gender Equality is Shaping a Fairer Society ‍

As a society, we have come a long way in recognizing the importance of gender equality. Gender equality refers to fair treatment and equal opportunities for both men and women, regardless of their gender identity or expression. It is a fundamental human right and a key principle of social justice. As we commemorate International Women’s Day in 2024, the theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” underscores the critical importance of prioritizing investments in women to drive meaningful advancements toward gender equality. This theme recognizes the immense potential of women as agents of change and emphasizes the need for concerted efforts to empower and support women in all aspects of life.

The economic benefits of gender equality

Gender equality is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense. Numerous studies have shown that when women participate fully in the labor market, economies thrive. Closing the gender gap in employment could add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. When women have equal access to education and opportunities, they contribute to innovation, productivity, and entrepreneurship. Gender diversity in the workplace also leads to better decision-making and improved financial performance. Therefore, investing in gender equality is not just an ethical choice, but also a smart economic investment.

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Gender equality in the workplace

Achieving gender equality in the workplace is a crucial step towards building a fairer society. It involves ensuring equal pay for equal work, eliminating workplace harassment, and promoting equal opportunities for career advancement. Companies prioritizing gender equality have been shown to have higher employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and enhanced innovation. Encouraging flexible work arrangements and providing parental leave for both men and women are also essential to address the unequal burden of caregiving responsibilities. By creating inclusive and diverse work environments, we can unlock the full potential of all employees, irrespective of their gender.

A successful example of gender equality in the workplace is Mastercard, where as of 2021 women earn $1.00 for every $1.00 that men earn and 81% of final candidate interviews include women. (Social Talent)

Gender equality in education

Education is a powerful tool for achieving gender equality. It empowers girls and women, enabling them to fulfill their potential and contribute to society. However, gender disparities persist in access to education, particularly in developing countries. Girls often face barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, and cultural norms that prioritize boys’ education. To achieve gender equality in education, it is crucial to eliminate these barriers and ensure equal access to quality education for all. Investing in girls’ education has far-reaching benefits, including improved health outcomes, reduced poverty, and increased economic opportunities.

One example of a successful initiative for gender equality is the Malala Fund Organization’s “Girl Programme” which gives girls the tools they need to advocate for education and equality in their communities and a platform for the world to hear their voices. By supporting youth activists, investing in local organizations, and amplifying the voices of young women, the Malala Fund is creating a world where girls have the agency to address the barriers standing in the way of their dreams. (Malala Fund)

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Gender equality in politics and leadership

Women’s representation in politics and leadership positions remains disproportionately low worldwide. This underrepresentation hampers the decision-making process and perpetuates gender inequality. It is essential to promote women’s political participation and leadership at all levels. Implementing gender quotas, providing training and mentorship programs, and challenging sexist attitudes are some of the strategies to increase women’s representation in politics. When women are adequately represented in decision-making bodies, their unique perspectives and experiences enrich the democratic process and lead to more inclusive policies that benefit society.

Only six countries have 50% or more women in parliament in single or lower houses: Rwanda (61.3%), Cuba (55.7%), Nicaragua (53.9%), Mexico (50.4%), Andora (50%), and the United Arab Emirates (50%). (IPU Parline)

While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to achieve gender equality. It requires sustained efforts from individuals, communities, governments, and organizations. By recognizing the importance of gender equality and taking concrete actions, we can break down barriers and create a fairer society for all. The future of gender equality lies in our hands, and together, we can build a world where everyone, regardless of their gender, has equal opportunities to thrive and succeed.

Andrijana Serafimovska

Andrijana Serafimovska is the Communications Assistant at Impact Foundation. An ambitious and self-driven individual, with a passion for volunteering to better the quality of life of disadvantaged groups. She is experienced in project management for NGOs and social media marketing.