Gender equality is not just a fundamental human right, but is necessary for transitioning to peaceful societies, unleashing its full human potential to achieve sustainable development. It has been revealed that empowering women socially & economically enhances the productivity and economic growth of a nation. They turn the wheel of progress together. Addressing gender inequalities is the most impactful way to deliver on five pillars of global commitments: People, planet, peace, prosperity, and partnerships (Hepp, et al., 2019). Such advancements are hampered by evidence of evils such as domestic violence, workplace harassment, and sexism in public spaces. The existence of gender stereotypes leads to violence against women. Therefore, strong advocacy for women’s rights is vital for achieving gender equality. Women are equal, we are equal. The chapter on gender disparities has to be turned to history.
Health and Violence against Women
Advancement in developmental processes has highlighted the importance of intersectionality in social issues. The notion of ‘Leave no one behind can be realized when the complex interactions amongst the SDGs is acknowledged. A paper titled ‘Gender equality for health and well-being published by UN Women in 2022 establishes the linkage between SDG 3 and SDG 5.
It is derived that the well-being of a nation is symbiotic with the health of its female population. This statement has a deep connotation that throws light on a range of issues from where gender inequality stems. Women’s health is compromised due to the prevalence of various socio-economic factors. Men and women have unequal power relations, which results in fewer educational opportunities for women ultimately leading to fewer employment opportunities. As a result, women are dependent on men for their health care. The prevalence of violence against women in physical, mental, and emotional forms worsens the condition of women’s health. As per a WHO report, 40% of pregnant women are anemic. An exclusive focus on the reproductive rights of women is also the need of the hour.
Employment & Entrepreneurship
A safe workplace is essential for everyone, but there is a belief that women workers necessitate workplaces to be more regulated, forex. provision of maternity leave. As a result, women have a difficult time finding jobs in small businesses unless they work for a large corporation with strict company policies. The supposition of equating basic rights with privileges is a problem that has sown the seeds of gender inequality.
Gender roles and the pressures on women to conform to them differ across regions, religions, and households. One way in which conformity manifests itself is through marital status. As per the International labor organisation, women who have a spouse or partner are less likely to be employed or actively looking for work in developed and emerging economies. This is frequently caused by the economic stability of a partner’s income, which can reinforce the “male breadwinner” bias in some marriages. In developing countries the reverse is true: the economic necessity in the region gives all women little choice but to work despite their marital status.
Women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men worldwide. As a result, men and women have lifetime income disparities, and more women are getting pushed into poverty.
The rigid inequality of average wages between men and women dwells across all countries and every sector of work. Women have concentrated in certain professions and their work is undervalued.
Even if the work done by women requires equal or more effort and skills, it’s not compensated equally.
The disparity widens for women of color, immigrant women, and mothers. The so-called “motherhood penalty,” which pushes women into the informal economy, casual and part-time work, is greater in developing countries than in developed countries.
Another problem is the underrepresentation of women in managerial positions. The healthcare sector is significantly dominated by the women workforce, yet women remain underrepresented in the top echelons of leadership positions, especially at the higher executive or board levels. Although, we have seen great progress towards gender equality globally across many sectors yet gender differences can be witnessed significantly in the types of leadership positions women do attain. Traditionally, the healthcare sector has attracted the participation of women in ‘caring’ professions like nursing. According to available data, women make up to 30% of doctors and 80% of nurses and midwives in India. But, when it comes to leadership positions such as CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs, women comprised only 22 percent of the top tech positions last year, according to Boardroom Insiders’ 2021 report. Participation of women in every rung of the healthcare sector will lead to inclusive and equitable healthcare delivery with a focus on everyone in society including the marginalized.
Such issues push women to go for jobs that are informal in nature and then they don’t enjoy work rights in them. Social stigmas around women are also present like menstruation which is still taboo.
During the pandemic, everyone suffered job losses and was pushed out of secured social nets. Even though the pandemic affected everyone, more women lost jobs in India & worldwide compared to men. According to a report by McKinsey, the dual role of handling household and work pushed women out of the workforce at a faster rate. It’s given that the pandemic had an impact on everyone but women were impacted further.
When you educate women you educate society. Educated women benefit entire societies. They make substantial contributions to flourishing economies and the improved health, nutrition, and education of their families.The objective of SDG 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. More girls are attending school than ever before. They not only learn to read and write, but each year they stay in school after the primary level lowers their chances of marrying at a young age. It improves their employment prospects, health, and overall well-being. Girls and women have the same right to high-quality education and learning throughout their lives. By receiving an education women have a far better chance of reaching their full potential and finding a respectable, well-paying career or leaving a violent household. 90% of children in poor nations and 96% in developed regions receive elementary education. At the elementary school level, all developing areas have reached or are on their way to reaching gender parity. However, in secondary and higher education, gender discrepancies deepen, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, and South and West Asia. Some of the most significant disparities persist in the poorest countries. Globally, 80% of adult women can read, compared to over 89 percent of males, but just 51% of women in the least developed nations are literate. Gender prejudice harms women’s educational opportunities in a variety of ways. Many young girls drop out of school due to early marriages and domestic duties. Sexual harassment in public places can keep them confined at home.
Biassed teaching and educational materials limit fields of study, for example, alienating women in the sciences. Women make up just 30% of the world’s scientific researchers. Despite the fact that more women are enrolling in universities, many do not pursue higher-level degrees. When 189 UN Member States adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995, one of the 12 essential areas of concern was women’s education and training. They pledged equitable access and financial resources for women and girls’ lifelong education, as well as the elimination of female illiteracy. They advocated for non-discriminatory education and training, as well as boosting women’s access to training options such as vocational programs.
The world’s recent progress toward universal elementary education is commendable. But not enough for women and girls. Women continue to be disproportionately absent from school, as well as downtrodden, jobless and trapped in low-wage occupations. Education is their right and their only hope for a brighter future. In India As per the 2011 Census, India’s total literacy rate is 74%, and the women’s literacy rate is 65.46%, which is greater than the female literacy in 2001, i.e. 54.16%. The female literacy rate from 1991-2001 increased by 14.87%, whereas the male literacy rate rose by 11.72%. The increase in the female literacy rate was 3.15% more compared to the male literacy rate.
Champions of Hope- women empowerment skill and livelihood development initiative.
Responsenet believes that girl power is our country’s true power and that empowering women is critical to the country’s progress. If women are healthy, free of violence, and have a sense of dignity, a better future for everyone can be built, leading to global progress. Investing in women’s empowerment projects is not only a task but a moral obligation to humanity. In this context, Responsenet initiated ‘The Champions of Hope – Women Empowerment Skill & Livelihood Development Program’ as a pilot project to provide skill-based training to women from marginalized communities in Delhi. The goal is to empower these women and equip them with the skills to become self-sufficient.
We have been mobilizing and engaging women in various vocational courses which we offer at our skill development center located at Kishangarh Delhi. The vocational courses include tailoring, Knitting, Paper Mache, and Baking. The training modules of each skill /trade have been designed by experts comprising theoretical and practical training. The program in Delhi was catering to four locations of Delhi; Vasant Kunj & Vasant Vihar: a) J.J Bandhu Camp, b) Kishangarh Village, c) Masoodpur Village, and d) Kusumpur Pahari, D Block. The four locations are profiled as urban slum communities where most of the end beneficiaries have migrated from Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh. These skill centers have women in the age group of 16-18.
- To develop quality skilled workforce & women entrepreneurs by building their capacities and competencies.
- To provide viable livelihood opportunities for women through skill training.
- To facilitate work linkages with relevant industries, markets, and schemes.
- To enable personal growth and help build their identity.
- To facilitate their financial stability and enable them to have access to food and nutrition, shelter to live in, better education for their children, and access to health care.
According to the most recent PLFS report for the fiscal year 2020-21. Male labor-force participation is 54.9%, while female labor-force participation is 24.2%. Respoonsenet goal is to alleviate the substantial disparity in workforce participation. We intend to establish a skill center in each state of India to provide employable skills and to give birth to female nano entrepreneurs. We envision women rising to positions of leadership, and we want to play a role in that. We want women to get integrated in the formal economy and not settle down for unsecured jobs in the informal sector. In the long run, we hope to establish a seed fund to encourage women entrepreneurship in SHG Federation & Microenterprises Development.