The Obstacles to Ending Gender Inequality

gender inequality

Gender inequality is the unequal treatment of men and women in all aspects of life. This can be seen in the way men and women are treated by the law, in the workplace or in the family. Inequality between the sexes also exists in terms of education, health and political participation.

Although significant progress has been made in some areas of gender equality, we must be careful not to become too complacent. We must keep in mind that it will take a long time before we reach full equality. For example, it will take about 300 years to end child marriage; 286 years to eliminate gaps in legal protections and the removal of discriminatory laws; and 140 years for women to become equal representatives in national parliaments.

One of the reasons that it will take so long to reach full equality is because of the many challenges that remain in front of us. The most important obstacles include:

Inequality between the sexes is rooted in social norms and gender bias that restrict women’s access to opportunities. As a result, the fight to reduce inequality between the sexes should focus on tackling these root causes rather than just its symptoms. This is why we must prioritize policies that target these underlying factors, including those aimed at reducing sexual violence and unpaid care work, as well as those addressing the gender imbalance in tertiary education.

The gap between the median salary of men and women in different countries is the most reliable indicator of the overall gap between the sexes. The visualization below shows how the gap varies in different parts of the world.

It is important to note that the OECD estimates of the gender pay gap exclude disparities between part-time and full-time workers. However, the gap still remains substantial.

The other obstacle to closing the gap is that many gender equality initiatives and interventions are based on the experiences of the dominant group of women, which tends to be white, middle-class and straight. This ‘one size fits all’ approach is problematic, because the experiences of women are much more diverse. This is especially true for women who are culturally and linguistically diverse, working-class, or LGBTQI+.

As a result, it is common for these types of policies to face pushback from the very people they are meant to benefit. This is why it is particularly important to support initiatives that focus on addressing the root causes of inequality, which often require changing mindsets and beliefs. This will help to speed up the process of achieving full equality between the sexes. Gender equality is a prerequisite for sustainable development and human rights. It is essential to ensure that women are able to participate fully in society and realize their full potential, free from oppression and violence. It is also vital for peace and security. The world needs everyone’s contribution in order to achieve this goal.