Gender Inequality and Sexism

Gender inequality has a huge impact on our lives. Every person is affected differently depending on their gender, but in general, women and girls suffer more than men. They are more likely to be denied their rights, kept from going to school, forced to marry or subjected to violence – and when this happens, nations are robbed of the energy and talent they need to progress. This is why it is crucial that we address gender discrimination, including sexism, with a renewed sense of urgency and commitment.

The global economy can’t flourish without addressing the disproportionately negative effects of gender inequalities. The world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030, and it may take more than 300 years at the current rate of progress if we don’t act now. And tackling gender inequality will not only benefit women and girls, but will benefit men and boys too.

In order to address the gender gap, all countries need to change the laws and policies that govern their societies. But more importantly, people must change their mindsets. This requires a fundamental shift in the way we view gender.

For decades, the prevailing narrative has been that gender inequality mainly impacts women and girls. However, we now know that it negatively affects all genders, and society as a whole. Advancing gender equality will improve the health and wellbeing of everyone, boost economic growth and create more stable societies. This is why gender equality is a cornerstone of Save the Children’s work.

While sexism is often thought of as the root cause of gender inequality, there are a wide range of factors that contribute to the imbalance between men and women in all aspects of life. These include economic, cultural and social norms and beliefs. Inequality also arises because of differences in men and women’s abilities, as well as the impact of adversity and hardship during childhood.

Economically, gender inequality is most pronounced in the labour market. In nearly all countries that have data, women earn less than men and are less likely to own assets such as land. These gaps can have a knock-on effect on other aspects of economic development, such as agriculture and entrepreneurship.

Socially, gender inequality is exacerbated by cultural norms and beliefs that prioritize masculinity over other traits. This is reflected in the prevalence of sexism and violence against women and girls and the lack of support for those who speak out against it. In addition, gender inequality in countries where religious freedom is limited tends to be higher than in those where it is more widely accepted.

A new study by researchers at Brigham Young University and Georgetown University shows that a society’s progress in reducing gender inequality is closely linked to its level of religious freedom. The authors of the study suggest that this link is partly explained by the fact that societies with more religious freedom have a lower prevalence of gender inequality and a higher degree of social equality overall.