The backbone for Gender equality is human rights. It is about ending discrimination of individuals based on their anatomy.
We often joke in corporate spaces about the 'the boys club', it is also important to not see gender oppression, exclusion and abuse in the work place as a private matter. It is up to us, now, today to bring about awareness and stand up for what is right and just, for ourselves but also for the next generation of women and girls.
The improving statistics of women CEOs and MPs should not be enough for us, we have to unapologetically advance and achieve; access to education, quality healthcare, equal economic opportunities, political and social standing for girls and women.
In our homes, women and girls remain the default people for domestic chores, child rearing and elderly care etc. at the expense of school attendance or work.
We know that women have a higher risk of HIV transmission than boys and men, yet even in 2015, female condoms are not as readily accessible and available compared to male condoms (they even come in flavors). This continues to put the burden on a woman to negotiate for condom use by a man.
7 million girls in SA miss school every month due to lack of access to sanitary pads. How is this advancement of equal opportunity to education? The way patriarchy is set up, if men were the ones menstruating every month, sanitary towels would be freely available.
We have to challenge every space to strike at the foundations of patriarchy and not only congratulate ourselves for attaining status in the workplace but we need change in our homes, social spaces and society at large. We have to be aware at the messages and life lessons we give to our boy and girl children as they grow up.
We have to shift norms and attitudes, empower girls and women with information, to understand their rights but also the confidence they need to act them out and demand equality from men, boys, schools, churches, government, corporate, families and each other. Gender inequality persists and prevents girls and women from reaping the benefits of the 21st century world.
Written by: Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng @drtlaleng / firstname.lastname@example.org
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