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Gender Inequality as a Global Societal Problem Essay

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Updated: Jul 7th, 2021

Introduction

In a globalized society, the barriers between countries and even nations are expected to decrease to reach a similar level of prosperity. However, women still have fewer opportunities for economic participation compared to men, limited access to both basic and higher education, less political representation, as well as greater risks of health and safety. Gender inequality is a persistent problem that captures a range of areas of human life and requires the attention of the global community. The traditional models of the division of opportunities based on gender should be re-evaluated to offer women a greater range of productive tasks.

Despite the substantial international and national efforts targeted at eliminating gender inequality, such problems as violence against women, sexual harassment, the wage gap, women’s health, and work-life balance are persistent. As mentioned by Kamrany and Robinson (2012) for HuffPost, only four out of a hundred and thirty-five countries have reached the desired level of gender equality and include Cuba, Sweden, Norway, and Costa Rica. Thus, regardless of the misconceptions that women have long been equal to men, the problem of gender inequality needs to be addressed for achieving true social justice for all citizens.

Problem

The reasons for gender inequality are rooted in the history of social development. Women have been considered as less important contributors to social affairs, with their roles diminished to bearing children and caring for their families. Gender inequality is a highly debilitating social stigma that for centuries undermined the female psychology of worth and dignity. Today, gender discrimination has a major influence on economic growth because it prevents nations from reaching the maximum potential of productivity (Kamrany & Robinson, 2012). Economic limitations also lead to societal losses such as the low concentration of women in the workforce of governments. In addition, the lack of attention to public health and child care facilities makes it harder for women to participate in all aspects of social life. This issue has been linked to the unequal representation of women in policy-making and institutions.

Considering perspectives from different disciplines, healthcare, economics, and education come into play. According to O’Dowd (2019), few health organizations around the world are making significant progress in addressing longstanding issues of gender inequality. This leads to substantial disparities in access and quality of care, predominantly in developing countries. The wage gap is a persistent gender inequality problem that has been reported in multiple sources. It is defined as “the difference in the median earnings of men and women relative to the median earnings of men” (OECD, 2018, para. 2). As seen from OECD (2018) data, the highest rates of gender wage gap are in Korea (34.6%) while the lowest is in Romania (1.5%). In the US, the rate of the gender wage gap is 18.2% which suggests that the topmost ‘accomplished’ regions worldwide also experience gender inequality in income. In regards to education, there are still significant disparities, especially among developing countries. According to the Global Partnership for Education (2019), an estimated “131 million girls worldwide remain out of school and face multiple barriers to education” (para. 2). Such limitations include long distances to schools, school-related gender-based violence, cultural norms, and practices, as well as early marriage. Therefore, gender inequality is a multi-faceted problem that affects both developed and developing nations worldwide, which points to the need for developing systematic and impactful solutions.

Solutions

Addressing the overarching impact of gender inequality on global society requires a multi-faceted approach, which means that there is no one solution. Designing programs for improving gender equality should be linked to equality programming across a range of sectors such as education, public health, resource management, and finance. To reduce the gender wage gap, it is imperative to initiate governmental interference in the form of legislation, subsidize childcare, offer mentoring programs for organizations, and establish transparency in salary. These solutions are linked to a complete reconsideration of the systematic approach toward wage distribution.

To reduce the adverse influence of gender inequality in education, several steps are recommended. First, it is important to promote gender-responsive learning environments by raising the awareness of all stakeholders to realize that the educational system does not do enough to address gender disparities (UNESCO, 2019). Second, it is necessary to address unequal power relations, social norms, and gender roles. This solution applies to social standards that require women to get married young, bear children, and abandon their educational opportunities. Supporting girls and young women are possible with the help of international organizations’ inspectors visiting schools in developing countries and monitoring whether their environments allow them to get the desired level of education.

Lastly, when addressing gender inequality in health care, policy-specific measures are needed. According to Payne (2015), measures for addressing gender disparities may include “vertical programs which aim to target specific health risks and deliver services to meet women and girl’s needs, and more cross-cutting approaches which aim at “gender” policymaking” (p. 53). Most of such work can be done through the integration of gender mainstreaming principles across a variety of policy arenas.

Evidence

With the integration of policies for establishing equal access to healthcare for women and girls, significant developments have occurred when stakeholders at intergovernmental, national, and international levels have pioneered the rights of women (Payne, 2015). In regards to education, the establishment of policies for addressing unequal power relations leads to the improvement of gender role socialization (Fleischmann & Kristen, 2014). Girls have more opportunities to get the desired level of education when policymakers unite in the effort to improve the overall learning environment for girls across the world. For eliminating the gender wage gap, nationwide legislation shows to increase the hiring and promotion of women in the workplace (Bishu & Alkadry, 2017). Gender representation is achieved when occupational segregation is eliminated, and women’s participation is distributed across a range of disciplines.

Unfortunately, there is a gap in scholarly research in regards to reflecting the success of solutions for addressing gender inequality. Most of the studies focus on proposing solutions instead of finding evidence for their success. Because of this, there is a need for enhancing the reliability of research articles that focus on discussing issues of gender inequality. In addition to this, there is a significant bias of researchers when discussing gender inequality in education, economics, and healthcare. The majority of them are focused on the Western perspective of addressing these issues instead of considering the range of disparities that girls and women experience in developing or third-world countries.

Ethical Outcomes of the Solution

Equal access to opportunities represents the main ethical outcomes of establishing gender equality in healthcare, education, and economics. Fairness is the fundamental ethical principle that applies to this case as it is concerned with the range of processes, actions, and processes that are seen as morally honorable and equitable. On the downside, in the movement to reduce gender inequality, the rights of boys and men can be diminished due to the focus on women’s issues rather than men’s issues.

In regards to the ethical issues associated with the outcomes, there is a problem of integrating a diverse set of experts and collaborators involved in the solutions. This implies the involvement of women-legislators and women-stakeholders in the process of establishing the environment of gender equality in education, healthcare, and wage distribution. Also, finding ways in which equality of genders can be achieved on a global level relates to equality of opportunity, which is an idea that all individuals regardless of gender, race, status, income levels, and ethnicities are treated equally when presented with employment, healthcare, and other services.

Conclusion

The problem of gender inequality remains to be addressed as the efforts of both national and international organizations are not enough for guaranteeing equal opportunities for men and women. It has been identified that gender inequality exists in multiple areas of social and political life, pointing to the need for developing a cohesive set of solutions to address them. The actions of policymakers worldwide are necessary for ensuring the societies are regulated with the help of laws that prevent any discrimination based on gender. Nevertheless, much more remains to be done to reach the desired level of equality since women around the world are denied opportunities that could help them in leading successful and fulfilling lives.

References

Bishu, S., & Alkadry, M. (2017). A systematic review of the gender pay gap and factors that predict it. Administration & Society, 49(1), 65-104.

Fleischmann, F., & Kristen, C. (2014). Gender inequalities in the education of the second generation in Western countries. Sociology of Education, 87(3), 143-170.

Global Partnership for Education. (2019). Web.

Kamrany, N., & Robinson, C. (2012). The global problem of gender inequality. HuffPost. Web.

O’Dowd, A. (2019). Health organizations are slow to tackle gender inequality in workforce, report finds. BMJ, 364, 1084.

OECD. (2018). Web.

Payne, S. (2015). The health of women and girls: How can we address gender equality and gender equity? Seminars of Reproductive Medicine, 33(1), 53-60.

UNESCO. (2019). Web.

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IvyPanda. "Gender Inequality as a Global Societal Problem." July 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-inequality-as-a-global-societal-problem/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Gender Inequality as a Global Societal Problem." July 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-inequality-as-a-global-societal-problem/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Gender Inequality as a Global Societal Problem'. 7 July.

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