In an ideal society, there is gender parity. Yes, in this society, women and men would enjoy all the kicks of a gender parity world, such as; equal opportunities, equal pay and equal rights. However, for most industries, sectors and even societies, this is a dream very far from reality.
Truth be told, an appreciable amount of progress has been made over the years, thanks to a few helpful governments and concerned individuals. Yet more still remains to be done to make this dream a reality. But who better to do this than you and I?
Of course, this will be achievable, except that in our self-righteous subconscious mind, we find ourselves blaming and allocating the job to every other person but ourselves. Excuses rear up their ugly heads and we find ourselves thinking; ‘Hey, it is the Government’s job to make this policy and not mine’; ‘Our leaders really should have done this or that…and not wallow in laziness’.
At times, we even go further to blame prominent concerned individuals and expect more from them, when we are obviously doing nothing. But what about you? What are you doing about the gender-biased world you obviously live in? How have you changed things thus far in your immediate environment? What is really your role in creating gender parity? Well, just in case you do not know your role, read on and find out.
ROLES YOU CAN PLAY FOR GENDER PARITY
A lot of roles exist that one can play for a gender-equal world, which requires no special academic qualifications or financial buoyancy. In other words, you, I and every other person can contribute our quota in creating a gender-equal world.
Some of these roles that you could consider include;
- SHOW SOLIDARITY – The road is tough and lonely for those concerned individuals who advocate for gender equality. Even when it appears that they have their acts all put together, remember this is only just a facade that they wear in order to keep trudging on. A little show of solidarity would go a long way to refuel them. Put a call across to them, listen to them when they were you out of sorts, send them little ‘Thank You’ notes at random times or make yourself physically present to support them. These are all shows of solidarity that is your role to play.
- EMPOWER GIRLS – Most times when we talk about empowerment, it is immediately associated with money. Because of that, we conveniently do not play our roles by hiding behind the excuse of not being financially buoyant enough. Truth is, you do not always need to be wealthy before you can empower people. Time and talent are tools as well. Do you have a talent you think these girls could benefit from? Simply empower them by teaching them.
- CHALLENGE GENDER DISCRIMINATIONS – Not a week passes by that we do not find ourselves in a setting where is obviously being perpetuated. It could be on our way to work or market in a bus/taxi, where the driver or conductor gleefully subdues a passenger simply because she is a girl. Perhaps, it is at your workplace where a higher position passes your colleague by based on her gender, who by the way, is rightfully in line and fit for it. Or could even be at your child’s school where the class prefect position is denied a girl based on her gender. What do you do in such cases? Do you just sit down, fold your hands and watch the event unfold? Hell no! You need to call out such cases and challenge the perpetrator. Chances are that they wouldn’t repeat such discriminations because of your reprimand.
- PUSH FOR WORKPLACE INCLUSIVITY – A good percentage of the world work in male-dominated organizations; organizations that are unfriendly to the female gender. In some organizations, it is unheard of for a woman to aspire for management positions. Women are excluded from top management meetings or from clinching mega deals, even when they are deserving of such opportunities. In rare cases where they are allowed, they are led on tight reins. The consequences for any mistake on their part is much more severe than that for their male counterparts in the same shoes as they. What is your role as a male or female when you find yourself in such a work environment? Your role is to push for work inclusivity and to challenge what has become the norm in your firm. Even if there is no initial positive result, do not doubt that you are making a lot of difference.
- ENCOURAGE PAY EQUALITY – The highest common evidence of gender inequality is in the glaring pay discrepancies. Between organizations, pay inequalities exist for male and female gender with the same qualifications and job description. However, it is more alarming when it happens within the same organization. For instance, a male and a female employee work as an ICT technologist within the same firm; they share the same work responsibilities, but receives different salaries. What is your role here? As an employer of labour, your role is to never succumb to the temptations of pay disparity. If an employee, it is your role to challenge the status quo. As a concerned citizen with no affiliations to the firm in question, your role is to generally raise awareness and encourage pay parity.
- EDUCATE MEN, WOMEN AND THE YOUNGER GENERATION – I’m sure you know that saying that ‘Charity begins at home’. Well, this saying is true. Sometimes, a lot if these discriminations are as a result of ignorance. In the workplace or society, garnering more support from men would go a long way in creating gender parity. But what if these men are not aware of our woes? Perhaps the best way of enlisting their help is by actually educating them. Long constructive discussion about how gender inequality affects us is an effective way of educating them. Also, being honestly upfront about how we really expect their support is more effective than quietly waiting in the background for them to realize it on their own.
The need also exists to educate our children who are the leader’s of tomorrow. How we train them to treat others and the way we shape their views about life is certainly going to affect our society at large. Of a truth, we would have failed in uprooting the foundation of gender inequality if we still train our children in the old ways and yet claim to have achieved gender parity.
As the International Day for Women (IWD2020) draws closer, think about all you can do for a gender-equal. The responsibility falls not just on the government and our leaders, but on you and I as well. If you do your bit and I do my bit, the world will certainly be a better place.
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