Inequality in any form is dangerous for the development of the country and equally detrimental in progress of the society. It is high time to realize that gender inequality affects us all and all of us have equal role in building an inclusive society. Gender equality is a complex issue. Gender equality is not about having equal ratio of men and women. It may be a beginning but it is not an end. There are social, economic and political, in most cases cultural reservations addressing the issue of gender equality. However, it is interesting to note that gender equality is a matter of ensuring social justice and guarantee human rights. It is the soul of development progress and makes inclusive process in paving way to achieving an equal, just and humane society.
In September 2015, the global community has adopted a development agenda called, ‘Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ in the backdrop of listing and targeting to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It is also beginning of an action plan to achieve gender equality to build a more inclusive and equitable society for a just, equitable and sustainable global world. The current article provides an overview of recently published Global Education Monitoring Report 2016 titled ‘Gender Review: Creating Sustainable Futures for all’ by UNESCO. It is the fifth annual Gender Review published to illustrate the efforts and challenges in achieving gender equity and equality in education. It highlights the critical role of good quality education and lifelong learning in achieving gender equality and sustainable development.
The Report opens up with a caricature key-points over next three pages. The inherent message is profound – equality is essential for creating sustainable world. There are few statements worth mentioning from the strip, ‘gender equality is much more than having the same amount of girls and boys in school’, ‘one of the biggest challenges to our well being is violence’, and ‘education is important for teaching boys and men what responsible and respectful sexual behavior looks like.’
The Gender Review 2016 has four chapters with the first chapter titled Introduction and concluding chapter as Looking ahead. The second and third chapters are tilted, Gender parity in access to educational opportunities: unfinished business, and, Achieving gender equality requires major transformation respectively. The first chapter succinctly sets the tone and importance of the Report by stating, “The Gender Review discusses global and regional trends in achieving parity in education access, participation and completion and in selected learning outcomes, stressing that there is much room for progress. It then shifts to an evidence-based discussion of relationships between education, gender and sustainable development by discussing work, civic and political engagement and leadership, as well as health and well-being.”
The second chapter, Gender parity in access to educational opportunities: unfinished business, discusses various trends and progress made in achieving gender parity in education beginning early childhood education to adult literacy. It states that the poorest girls remain the most likely to never set foot in a classroom and makes a wake-up call saying that, “If current trends persist, the world will not reach universal primary and secondary education by 2030.”
The third chapter, Achieving gender equality requires major transformation, discusses issues related to gender inequality and equality on three large areas– work and economic growth, leadership and participation, and, relationships and well-being. The chapter also pinpoints trends and challenges that need to be addressed to make significant progress in achieving gender equality. It also makes some bold comments saying that, “Education is crucial but not enough to facilitate women’s participation in leadership positions.” It also suggests usage of non-formal education to develop young leaders to promote gender equality. The concluding chapter, Looking ahead, argues that good quality education and lifelong learning are a crucial in empowering people to participate in economic, political and social spheres of life.
Though largely the document caters to the needs of the government and policy makers, it is equally interesting reading for people associated with social development. The three page cartoon strip is a quality resource material for language and social science teachers to imbibe gender lessons among school students. The strip is also handy to disseminate information in breaking the silence and stereotype inherited in large number of cultures. It is equally paramount of importance for private firms, corporate houses and institutions working in community development with a focus on achieving gender equality.
About the Author
Nirbhay K is a CSR professional and an IIT alumnus. Author can be reached @NirbhayK2.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are solely of the author in personal capacity and do not in any way represent views of any institution, entity or organization that the author may have been associated with.
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