Spotlight on International Women’s Day: Time for Gender Equality

Guest blog by Stephen B. Lavalah

Once again another International Women’s Day has come and gone, but the struggles, hardships and difficulties yet persist.  Even though women have got fundamental human rights like their male counterparts, however, women and girls are every so often in many societies excluded from political decision making, policy formulation and essential public activities.  Besides, this segment of the population in most countries, all too often are denied access to land ownership, right to acquire quality education and deprived of getting equal pay for equal work.  Women and girls are still underrated and belittled usually stereotype of being weak and empty vessels.  Moreover, many women and girls still live in societies where gender-based violence, forced teenage marriage, as well as sexual exploitation and abuse continue to increase on a daily basis.

More to the point, gender gap at all levels in society is generally very high as indicated in the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report released on October 23rd by the World Economic Forum.  It is without doubt that in most countries, women and girls even at this time lack access to justice, financial services, employment opportunities, water supply, farmland and effective, efficient and affordable health care delivery services.  Moreover, for far too long harmful traditional, cultural and religious practices further worsen the condition of females and subject them to all sorts of unwholesome way of life that contravene their dignity and worth as human beings.  These and many more factors affecting women and girls put them in disadvantage situation to have the chance to achieve their full potential and measure of happiness.

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