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Gender equality entails receiving equal treatment to realize social justice and equity; Holtmaat (2012) pointed out that gender equality is crucial in the realization of decent work for all people. According to Holtmaat (2012), decent work entails equal treatment in the different areas of work, social security, political and economic representation. Gender equality is a key indicator of development. The progress of gender equality across the globe has changed since the Fourth World Conference on Women that led to the Beijing Declaration. The following paper reviews the progress of gender equality at the global and national levels.
Gender equality has remarkably improved to the point of a relatively inclusive society at the global level. The progress varies based on the county’s level of development. For instance, in developed countries, there have been high levels of social justice and equity. The progress of gender equality across the globe is based on the reinforcement of the human rights recommendations passed at the Beijing Conference. The key achievements have been the removal of all forms of discrimination against women, the promotion of legal literacy, education, and the general protection of the rights of women (Banda, 2015).
The Gender Chart of 2015 shows that there has been remarkable progress in the areas of education, maternal mortality, and increased participation of women in development imperatives. For example, in developed countries, there are no literacy gaps between men and women. In the developing countries, the literacy gaps among the youth have reduced significantly, and there is positive progress of reduced stereotyping of women at the places of work.
Despite the progress, the main challenges at the global level have been the failure to understand what the phrase ‘gender equality’ connotes. Religious groups such as the Holy See define gender in terms of biological sexual identity; thus, failing to realize the absolute equality of men and women (Banda, 2015). Also, the other challenge has been the failure by States, especially in developing countries to abide by the provisions of the Beijing Declaration, which has resulted in discrimination of women based on customs and cultural practices that undermine the full realization of gender equality.
UAE has made great strides on gender equality; according to Samir (2016), the progress can be attributed to the legal framework of UAE. The constitution enshrines that there should be equal treatment of all citizens. The constitution has created a platform in which women have equal access to education, decent work environment, political, and economic representation. For instance, the literacy levels for both men and woman is 95% with more women completing secondary education compared to men (Samir, 2016). Besides, 95% of the people who complete secondary education join tertiary level education.
Despite the principle of equal treatment of all citizens, still, there are remaining challenges that hinder social justice and equity in UAE. The laws still reinforce traditional gender roles. For example, the law still identifies women as mothers and wives, which limit their progression in the work area and confines them to the homes (Social Institute & Gender Index, 2014).
There have been great social-cultural and legal changes that have been witnessed in UAE; as a result, there has been an expanded space where all young people regardless of sex have access to social, economic, and political positions. The legal measures that uphold the equality of all citizens have reduced gender stereotypes that in the past affected women negatively. As a young person growing up in UAE, I feel that this has had a positive role in my progression and self-identity. Looking at the future, I feel that society will not describe me based on my gender orientation; I see a liberated society in which the autonomy of either gender is respected. Thus, I feel more like the other young people, than we are unalike.
Banda, F. (2015). Achievements and challenges in gender equality in international human rights law: The last twenty years. Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.
Holtmaat, R. (2012). The UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women: A commentary. Oxford: University Press.
Samir, S. (2016). UAE leader in gender equality in region. Gulf News. Web.
Social Institute & Gender Index. (2014). United Arab Emirates. Web.