Gender equality and women empowerment by Mary Oluwatosin Afolabi



It is said that equity leads to equality. Equality between men and women exists when both sexes are able to share equally in the distribution of power and influence, enjoy equal access to education and the opportunities to develop personal ambitions, interests and talents.

Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards. It does not mean that men and women are the same but it means that women and men have equal power and also equal opportunities for financial independence, education and personal development.

According to Peace Corps, globally, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks and also less political participation.

Guaranteeing the rights of women and giving them equal opportunities to reach their full potential is critical not only for attainting gender equality but for achieving sustainable development of the country.

For instance, women's participation in politics helps advance gender equality and also foster the quality of good governance in terms of boosting accountability and transparency and also reducing corruption.

Women's political participation results in tangible gains for democracy, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnics and a more sustainable future and peace.

The importance of gender equality cannot be over emphasized. Gender equality help to strengthen a country by reducing poverty and instability. Research indicates that poverty rates are the highest among young girls. As boys and girls get older, the gender gap in poverty gets larger. This is likely because girls don't receive the same education and job opportunities as boys and when girls marry, they often don't work. When women receive better education and job opportunities, they thrive.

Gender equality can lead to peace. Research shows that gender equality is linked to peace. When a country addresses major areas of gender inequality like education and employments, it fosters peace.

Achieving gender equality requires women's empowerment in order to ensure that decision making both at private and public levels are no longer weighted in men's favor. Empowering Women increase a woman's sense of self worth, her access to opportunities and resources and also her decision making power.

Also, it boost the status of women through literacy, education, training and raising awareness. Achieving gender equality and Empowering Women is essential in building fair, prosperous and peaceful societies.

However, UN Women (2014) outlined that to create a sustainable world and to enhance women's roles in sustaining their families and communities achieving gender equality and empowering women is Paramount. Empowering Women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Without women, achieving sustainable development is impossible. A woman is the backbone of a man.The government can help to bring about sustainable development in the country by empowering women and making full use of their labour force for economic growth. There should not be gender inequality.

Also, empowering women and providing them with fair representation across the lawmaking, enforcing and interpreting play a remarkable role in political development and also will help the country to achieve sustainable development.

Furthermore, educating the women to enhance social development and also protecting the environment to bring about sustainable development. The environment is seen as a key source of the country's economy.

Mary Oluwatosin Afolabi writes from University of Maiduguri, Borno State.

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