Tuesday, March 8, 2016

" Gender equality is decided by all of us."

"We cannot succeed when half of us are held back."- Malala Yousefzai, Nobel Prize Recipient, activist, author

            March is Women's History Month, Tuesday, March 8th is International Women's Day- although no country in the world can claim full gender equality, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark have consistently set the bench mark on major gender equality studies. In the BCC News documentary featured above (courtesy of YouTube & BBC ) "What Stands in the Way of Women Being Equal to Men."- British journalist Ros Atkins explores the lives of young girls and their families from a broad spectrum of backgrounds such as the United Kingdom Jordan.and Lesotho The news feature provides us a greater understanding of the roots of discrimination with assigned gender roles that persist throughout the modern world. Do laws which effect a woman's economic status such as denying reproductive rights or availability of birth control, intimate partner violence or lack of education hold us back? Is it the condescending stereotype of physical, racial or intellectual inferiority? Do long held cultural beliefs or interpretation of religious doctrines prevent women and men from stepping out of traditional gender roles?  How about fear of change? The answer is, YES.
          What's truly standing in the way of realizing worldwide gender equality? Think about this. Why are countries such as Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark leading the way?  A U.S News and World Report survey completed in January of this year showed Nicaragua, the Philippines. Denmark, Iceland and Norway rated high for individual health, safety, income equality and progressiveness.
          Specifically, according to the World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Reporhttp://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2015/  Iceland offers women equal access to education, healthcare as well as full participation and power in political and economic choices. These countries are secular.and have the highest literacy rates in the world. There is little to no discrimination between the sexes where many types of discrimination and income inequality are shown to go hand- in- hand in study after study. Discrimination in all of its forms is learned.behavior. Discrimination against women is something we learn and it must be unlearned for all of us to move forward. Gender equality is decided by all of us.