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Gender equality is an indicator of the social and cultural development worldwide. Despite being traditionally associated with developed countries, the women rights movements are gradually gaining momentum in the rest of the world. According to the progress report by the United Nations, access to education is no longer altered by gender criterion in more than two-thirds of the developing countries (United Nations). When the data is disaggregated, the most progress can be observed in Southern Asia, where enrollment conditions for boys and girls in primary schools displayed equal ratios by 2012 (United Nations). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, and Western Asia, where girls still have difficulties in entering schools (United Nations).
Another important indication of the progress is the creation of UN Women, which addressed the known shortcomings of the global women’s rights movements, such as barriers to funding and lack of centralized effort aimed at achieving the set goals. However, it is important to acknowledge that the scope of the UN activities, which is thought of as broad enough to address matters worldwide, is actually bound by its own restrictions, For instance, it is expected to address the most visible occurrences of inequality, while some of the less visible issues remain within the responsibilities of local authorities (Sherwood et al.). In addition, some of the issues, such as abortion rights, see uneven attention of the committee, while others, such as violence against women, hardly see any improvement at all (Sherwood et al.).
The United Arab Emirates is considered a leader in striving towards gender equality in the region, which aligns well with the general picture of the enormous progress made by the country in recent years. The most prominent areas of achievement are education, where women show consistent improvements in literacy rates, presence in educational establishments, and enrollment in higher education abroad, and government and business sector, where women’s participation is gradually more prominent (UAE Embassy). Most of the credit comes from the findings of the Global Gender Gap report issued by World Economic Forum.
According to widely publicized 2014 report, the UAE improved its equality index to 0.64, with 1 being the index of total equality (Khaishgi). However, the next year the UAE lost its leading position to Kuwait, and both countries were superseded by India, Korea, and Zambia (Cann). One of the factors responsible for these shortcomings is the country’s cultural heritage which, unfortunately, still holds certain prejudice against women in leading roles in society (Moussly). Another notable challenge is a relatively slow development of the legal support for equality. Specifically, women still have little legal support when it comes to harassment in the workplace and equal working conditions (Moussly).
I must admit that for me most of the reported issues are somewhat formal. As a young person, I was impacted by the transformation occurring in the country and, therefore, was exposed to all of the changes directly. Probably because of this, my decisions are for the most part aligned with the new concept of gender equality. In other words, I can say that on most occasions, the choices I make are not influenced by obsolete authoritarian values – at least as far as I can tell. What’s more, I already perceive the remaining challenges as something archaic and soon-to-be gone. While I admit this is naïve, I think it is a sign of the onset of a better country. If such attitude is unanimous in young generation, we have far better chances to overcome inequality and serve as an example for the rest of the world.
Cann, Oliver. “It’s Back to the Future as Women’s Pay Finally Equals Men’s … From 2006.” WEForum, 2016, Web.
“Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls.” United Nations, 2016, Web.
Khaishgi, Amna. “Ehtesham UAE Improves Gender Equality Score in Global Study.” The National, 2014, Web.
Moussly, Rania. “Gender Inequality is a Regional Issue.” GulfNews. 2011, Web.
Sherwood, Harriet, et al. “What Has the United Nations Ever Done for Women?” The Guardian. 2015, Web.
“Women in the UAE.” UAE Embassy, 2015, Web.