A few weeks ago I was given the challenge to write what gender equality meant to me in 500 words or less. Although gender equality is such a complex concept I tried. My answer isn’t perfect, there is so much more I could say but it was in the word count!
What does gender equality mean to you?
A question that should be so simple to answer yet it’s taken me days to figure out how to put an answer into words. At first, it was frustrating but I’ve realised it’s been difficult because gender equality means so much to me. To me, gender equality is a cause, a cause which demands discussion and action. A cause I am passionate about and want to work towards achieving. It’s a point of study. Gender was a topic I studied a great deal during my undergraduate study and is the basis of my postgraduate dissertation. It’s also on my bucket list as a reality I want to see come true. To summarise all the separate components of what comes to mind when I think about gender equality and what it means to me is would obviously be a challenge.
There are so many factors in gender equality and what it could bring. It would mean freedom, opportunity and a fairer society for not just women but all genders. All too often we class gender equality as a women’s issue and forget how it will benefit men. Men have a lot to gain from gender equality; they are constrained by the same gender norms and stereotypes as women. I’m by no means comparing the struggles between different genders but that inequality creates struggles for all members of society. A fact we shouldn’t forget. Gender equality would help eradicate these struggles and so shouldn’t be painted as a women’s fight.
Women and girls would gain the freedom to walk home alone at night and not be afraid of any man who walks toward them; the freedom to go clubbing without being groped; the freedom to walk down the street at any time of the day, without the high probability of harassment. Men would have the freedom from the masculine stereotypes and pressures put on them. Gender equality would mean the opportunity to achieve any career goal, regardless of gender, to study any topic, to make relationship and family decisions based on personal choice rather than gender roles. Gender equality would mean that gender is no longer the basis for stereotypes and discrimination, creating a fairer society. These just examples are just the possibilities, which could become reality with gender equality.
However, whilst all these ideas will be fantastic when they finally become a reality, we have a long way until they do. Which is why it is such a worthy topic of discussion, study and action. There is so much to discuss, study and take action on too. What is the best way to achieve gender equality? Why has it been such a struggle? Which part shall we tackle first?
So you see, to put what gender equality is to me into words, let alone 500 is a challenge and should be because gender equality is worth so much more than 500 words to me.