Gender Equality is a simple concept, but a complicated reality. Simply put, gender equality means ensuring that all individuals have equal access to rights, resources, responsibilities and opportunities regardless of their gender. Gender Equality does not mean that men and women must become the same nor do the same things, but it ensures that everyone has the opportunity to pursue a life that they value.
Achieving gender equality is not a simple task and it requires the support from every level and member of society. But why does gender equality matter? Women make up half of the World, and therefore without gender equality half the world may be failing to achieve their full potential. It is a fundamental human right, and its advancement is critical for the development of a healthy society. It helps to boost the economy, reduce poverty, promote the health and education of everyone and promote social development. Research has shown that providing women with better education reduces the risk of infant mortality. Moreover, women are more likely to reinvest their income into their families than their male counterparts. This means their children can receive better health and education opportunities, boosting the livelihoods of future generations. Gender equality is not just about improving the lives of women, but improving the lives of everyone.
In 2015 the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all of the UN Member states. The SDGs are a set of ambitious goals to make the world a better, and more equal, place. Amongst the 17 SDGs are calls to eradicate poverty, promote peace, save the environment and improve access to education, all before 2030.
Goal 5 is to ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’. Goal 5 acknowledges that whilst men and boys may also face discrimination and hardships, this is a much more common experience for women and girls. It aims to establish gender equality by eliminating sexual and gender-based violence, preventing harmful practices such as early or forced marriage, and female genital mutilation. As well as working to provide women with equal rights to economic resources, and allowing for the effective participation and opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making. The 17 SDGs are integrated, this means they recognise that a disadvantage in one area, may affect the outcomes of others. For example, being a woman, may prevent an individuals’ access to equal pay, or education. Gender equality is a goal in itself, but will also facilitate the success of the other goals.
We believe our work at Born to be Beautiful is helping to make the SDGs a reality. Gender equality is a global issue, but it is often made worse by poverty, the majority of the world’s poorest people are women. Poverty also renders women and girls more vulnerable to violence, sexual exploitation and trafficking. We teach beauty therapy training and skills to victims of abject poverty, with the aim of restoring dignity to their lives and giving them a chance to have a life that they value. Educational disadvantages often translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities for women in the labour market. Improving education and reducing poverty go hand in hand. B2bB provides women with education and skills giving them the opportunity to secure their own livelihoods. We aim to provide the girls with a newfound confidence that allows them to aspire to a life that they did not think possible. Moreover, we work to address structural barriers which may prevent gender equality. Lack of childcare may prevent women from engaging in the economy. However, our programmes are short and flexible, they allow these women and girls to learn a new skill whilst still engaging in their family commitments. Once they are qualified their new skills can be used within their own homes. We believe our courses help to empower women and girls; this empowerment is essential to promote social development. To find out more about what we do, why not check out one of our YouTube videos; https://youtu.be/PkHl1_1QuDI.
Gender equality is not yet a reality, but there has been significant progress in recent years. More girls go to school than ever before, fewer girls are forced into early marriages and there are growing numbers of women in global parliaments and positions of leadership. For gender equality to become a reality, we must perceive it as a norm rather than a goal. Something to work for in the present, and not the future. May gender equality be the answer to a better world for all?
Born to be Beautiful Team