Gender equality achievement

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Gender equity is a critical human right that must be developed in order to pave the foundations for a stable and prosperous society. A great deal of research has gone into ensuring female gender-equal access to adequate childcare, fair jobs and working environments, political and economic decision-making systems, and education in an attempt to reach gender equality, which is still a long way off.
Some examples of success in gender equity include developed countries where at least two-thirds of the states have reached gender representation, although inefficiently in primary education due to the implementation of free primary schooling (Asmanto, 2008). In the South Asian continent, only 75% of girls enrolled in primary school out of 100 boys in 1990. A decade later (2012), the number has not changed, an indication of the continued existence of gender equality.

In western Asia, Oceanic and sub-Saharan Africa, girls still face challenges when entering a primary level of studies as their education is not valued (Asmanto, 2008). Women in Northern parts of Africa are in employment, though the number is low, as only one in every five women is working and getting fair salaries in the non agricultural center. The proportion of women in paid employment though seems to increase, is still 40% as of 2015 unlike 35% in 1990.

The differences indicate the challenges that will make achievable of gender equality impossible. In approximately forty-six countries, women hold more than 30% of the seats in national parliament, indicating increased women participation in politics and decision making (Asmanto, 2008). The number is, however, still below the threshold of realization of achieving gender equality.

In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 percent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber. The fifth-millennium development goals also seek to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination. Additionally, women empowerment have helped reduce the number of domestic violence against women and girls both in private and public spheres, including lowering women trafficking and any form of sexual exploitation.

Governments globally in partnership with the nongovernmental organizations have managed to reduce harmful female degrading cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages (Asmanto, 2008). Additionally, the recognition of an increase in unpaid domestic work has led to efforts to minimization such gender inequality through increased campaigns for shared domestic responsibilities between the male and females.

The sharing of domestic responsibilities between men and women is as a way of enhancing gender equality through shared responsibilities. The women have received lots of support and encouragement to participate fully and efficiently and equal opportunities for leadership roles at all the decision-making levels in economic, public and political life (Asmanto, 2008).

Moreover, gender equality has received much support as more women can access quality universal access to reproductive health and reproductive rights as well as empowering women and girls to have equal rights to property and economic resources, control of financial services, inheritance, and land rights just as men as a way of ensuring gender equality.

Despite the much progress the world has made towards the achievement of gender equality through girl and women empowerment through the Millennium Development Goal (Goal number five), the female gender has continued suffering from discrimination and gender based on violence all over the world (Asmanto, 2008).

One of the primary objective that the Millennium Development goal has made as a way of empowering women is the creation of opportunities especially for girls to access primary education. Gender equality has been one of the social concerns globally. Every time the term gender comes up, many people think of women discrimination.

As such, many attempts have been made to ensure gender equality. The question, however, is gender equality achievable? The realization of gender equality which is yet to be successful depends on four primary facets of life which include capability domain, access to resources, security and the political decision making.

Gender equality is a collective term that refers to people’s attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and policies reflecting equivalent valuing and provision of equal opportunities to both male and female (Rudin, 2017). The United Nations declaration of human rights (1997) definition of gender discrimination as any form of exclusion, distinction or making any restrictions based an individual’s gender in culture, economics or social rights.

Avoidance of bias thus offers equal rights to both male and female hence gender equality (O'Brien & Rickne, 2014). Gender equality as a state where every individual whether male or females have a similar level of influence, power, treating other people of opposite sex respectfully and considerately regardless of their gender.

Gender equality seems practically impossible to achieve due to how gender hierarchy manifests itself in family relationships, the cultural and societal customs. Another challenge is the value people place on women’s work, and the power for decision making at work, within the household, religious and social institutions as well as in education (Ringrose, 2007).

Gender inequality despite lots of efforts towards enhancing equality displays itself in the opportunities for girls and women regarding training, development, reproductive health, politics and economic productivity and gender-based violence against women (SPIE, 2016). Such gender imbalance has its roots in the society, and most people perceive such hierarchy as standard, and both genders seem to accept such invisible gender inequality. The normality of such gender biases makes people not to question makes it even more difficult in changing the perceived norms in society to enhance gender equality.

Historically, the general belief is that men have been more superior to women due to their biological differences. Even in the 21st, the reliance on gender inequality is still in existence. Such gender inequality has caused many governments, private sectors, institutions and nongovernmental organization to support the female gender as the way or ensuring gender equality.

However, achieving gender equality seems practically impossible due to challenges arising from gender discriminations. The primary cause of such inequality is the belief that men are both biologically and naturally superior to women despite the call for equality.

Although there has been lots of development and programs to ensure gender equality, not much has been successful due to some interrelated and complex factors that contribute to the unsuccessful achievement of gender equality existing in the male-dominated society.

Firstly, stereotyping and cultural traditions are the primary hindrances to the achievement of gender equality (Fenton, 1998). Culture dictates a particular ethnic group or community’s way of life as well as its customs, traditions, and beliefs.

The result of a balanced gender in political, social or spiritual leadership is mainly due to the cultural expectations that a woman cannot lead when there are able men. As such, women have continued to trail in leadership spheres due to cultural barriers. Such cultural beliefs assume that women are a weaker gender who is too emotional to consider the level of leadership and authority as they cannot make the logical decision.

The thought of having women in political, corporate and socioeconomic leadership positions often experience oppositions in particular from the elders. Hearing a woman’s leadership intentions is at times considered an abomination. Having the male lead in many cultures is the norm and is always seen as the healthy way of life.

Quite often, it is common to hear men saying that women should only appear but not speak. The religion which is part of society’s culture to some extent has contributed to gender inequality. Islam, for instance, prohibits women from participating in roles such as leadership and political decision making. To have the female take up leadership roles in particular communities seems impossible thus achieving gender equality a challenge.

Another challenge to the achievement of gender equality is the gender stereotyping and mentality. Stereotyping and attitude have influenced for instance educational pathways which in turn determine professional careers that the women pursue (Ringrose, 2007). Though approximately 60% of women are graduates, they remain the minority in scientific, engineering and mathematical fields as well as technical professions.

As a result, lots of women end up working in lower valued and less paid sector of the economy. Due to stereotyping, women are required leave the labor market or to reduce their working hours and focus more on domestic labor hence contributing to gender disparities at the workplaces (Fenton, 1998).

The lesser value of women as society perceives it begins right at birth with much emphasis on son preference. Examples of nations where the society values a son more than a girl include countries such as China, South Korea, and India were, in every 100 girls born, parents dispose of at least ten new-born baby female children shortly after birth.

Contributing factor is the use of modern technology which enables people to have prenatal sex determination and induced abortion of the unwanted girl child fetus (Andersson, Hank, Ronsen & Vikat, 2006). Such actions reduce the population of girls, contributing to the challenges of achieving gender equality.

Andersson, Hank, Ronsen, and Vikat, (2006) ascertains that the parent’s utility from a girl child is lower than that of a boy child. In many families, parents are more likely to have another child even if they have other children who could be two or three daughters than when they have the same number of sons. Even in developed countries where gender equality seems to exist, Andersson, Hank, Ronsen, and Vikat, (2006) reported gender biases as Nordic countries such as Finland to have more preference for sons than daughters.

Additionally, the unsuccessful achievement of gender equality is in relations to the way both the female and male professionals tend to balance their work and private life. Women tend to find it more difficult balancing their careers and private life. The household chores, caring for the family and domestic responsibilities are still part of a woman’s life (Andersson, Hank, Ronsen & Vikat, 2006).

The male and females have not shared such responsibilities equally. Women bear the task of looking after the aged and young family members. Moreover, the number of women taking parental leave is more than that of men who in most cases will only take a vocational leave. In the European Union, for instance, just 66% of women are working compared to the 90% of men, a clear indication of challenges facing full achievement of gender equality.

Ringrose (2007) pointed out that following lots of efforts in extending primary to all children and supporting more girls than boys, many girls are attending the initial schooling periods of their lives. However, the number drastically decreases beyond primary as many girls undergo forced marriages, early pregnancies and lack of parental support to further their studies.

The rate of the female literacy level in the least developing countries such as South Sudan ranges between 12.5% and 86% with a typical gender gap of approximately 20 (Elbers, 2004). The gender gap is the difference between the percentages of men who are literate to the number of educated women.

However, the higher education gender equity is uncommon in third world countries (Ringrose, 2007). The gender gap decreases with increased development of a nation, an indication that women still lag behind in education, a contributing factor to challenges facing achievement of gender equality.

Additionally, the lack of long-term fulfilling jobs have forced many women, 32% to seek part-time work compared to only 8% of men. Though part-time work is a personal decision, many women find themselves choosing the part-time job to manage to command both work and family demands (Andersson, Hank, Ronsen & Vikat, 2006).

Consequently, the female population experience more career interruptions or working for fewer hours than their male counterparts. Such reduced work hours lead to negative impact on women’s career growth, promotions prospect which in turn contributes to women’s low pay hence the salary gap that is already n evidence of inadequacies in achieving gender equality.

Further, the gender equity seems not readily achievable presently dir to the direct discrimination against women at workplaces. In many socioeconomic setups, a woman received less payment than men even if both do the same job. The direct discrimination as a factor highlights a minor section of gender pay gap prevalent in many institutions and places of work.

The undervaluing of the work of women is more frequent where women earn less than men despite doing and completing the same job of equal value. The primary factor for gender pay gap is due to how people value the competencies of women which many always view as incompetent.

The jobs that need the same qualifications, skills and experiences tend to receive poor paid, and expertise was undervaluing if women are the dominant employees are women. An example includes the females’ supermarket cashier earning less than their male colleagues who are just stocking and stacking shelves as well as other physical jobs.

Additionally, the performance evaluations that contribute to the promotion and a high pay level often only favor men. Such pay gap between male and female within the same jobs indicate how hard it is to achieve gender equality.

Furthermore, the gender imbalance is clear primarily due to the segregation in the labor market. Within the same organization, women and men will always occupy different departments. Women often dominate in the lower undervalued jobs with poor pay as men dominate the senor highly valued and well-paid jobs.

Women always work within the company’s administration department offering secretarial and assistant responsibilities to their bosses who are mainly men. Women are fewer than men in managerial levels as many of them work as low skilled workers, performing jobs such as office cleaning, record keeping and secretaries which are low paying jobs.

Within the European Union, for instance, women in board levels were 17% in the big listed companies, 4% as chairperson of the boards with only a third working in research sectors as scientists and engineers across the European continent.

Women have never achieved complete decision making and ability as well as few legal rights compared to men in every aspect of human social life. Most developing countries such as Somalia for instance, inheritance and property laws only favored men while presenting obstacles to women rights to property ownership, contributing to the least financial resources that women have even during this 21st century (Elbers, 2004).

The allocation of resources within the household only favors men who seem to accumulate wealth and use such resources to take care of women. Women depend on men, and cultural belief has made it appear that men should acquire wealth and take care of women. Women, on the other hand, should depend on men, owning no property but in return; carry out house chores and reproducing.

Women do not have much voice or opinion in politics. A few centuries ago, women did not have the right to vote in any part of the world until the 18th centuries when women rights movements started to struggle for women suffrage (O'Brien & Rickne, 2014). In most developed nations, women only hold 6-14% of top positions.

In both Finland and Sweden where gender equity seems to be achievable, women just own a third of the ministerial areas, a number that should have been half if people had achieved gender equity. In developing countries, women hold less than 6% of the top positions in society (Elbers, 2004).

Moreover, women seem not to have the power to make the decision even on issues that directly affect her own life such as sexuality and the number of children she can bear. Men are the ones who make such determination. In Uganda for instance, an average woman has more than six children in today’s 21st century, the number that is the same as the one four decades ago, confirming how gender equality is still not yet achievable (Elbers, 2004)

Despite lots of efforts that aim to ensure achievement of gender equality, the challenge is due to the male-dominated society and perception of women as a weaker gender than men. Overall, factors such as cultural practices, religion, power and decision making, martial resource allocation patterns, education and gender pay gaps still hinder the achievement of gender equality.


To summarize the question whether gender equality is achievable, the answer is an honest no. The success of gender equality may require relooking at efforts directed towards gender mainstreaming and focusing on creating awareness among men on the significance of women. Changing the mentality of men and their perception of women would be the best approach towards a realization of gender equality.

Efforts such as economically empowering women increased girl child education would be easy to implement achieving gender equality possible. The provision of equal rights to education, access to financial resources, training, decent work and favorable salaries, as well as fair representation of women in political decision-making processes, will help make gender equality achievable.


Andersson, G., Hank, K., Ronsen, M., & Vikat, A. (2006). Gendering Family Composition: Sex Preferences for Children and Childbearing Behavior in the Nordic Countries. Demography, 43(2), 255-267

Elbers, C. (2004). On The Unequal Inequality of Poor Communities. The World Bank Economic Review, 18(3), 401-421.

Fenton, Z. (1998). Domestic Violence In Black And White: Racialized Gender Stereotypes In Gender Violence. SSRN Electronic Journal.

O'Brien, D., & Rickne, J. (2014). Gender Quotas and Women's Political Leadership. SSRN Electronic Journal

Ringrose, J. (2007). Successful Girls? Complicating Post‐Feminist, Neoliberal Discourses Of Educational Achievement And Gender Equality. Gender and Education, 19(4), 471-489. 

Rudin, T. (2017). Influencing Organizational Stakeholders in Government, Policy, Academia and Industry to Drive Integrated Gender Equality Programs. STEM Gender Equality Congress Proceedings, 1(1), 739-750. 

 SPIE. (2016). Gender Equity in the Workplace. SPIE Newsroom. Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.1117/2.4201610.20

Asmanto, P. (2008). The Evaluation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Indonesia: Gender Equality and Empower Women. SSRN Electronic Journal.

July 24, 2021
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