What Is Gender Equality?
Gender equality is imperative to human rights and peaceful societies and has been proven by myriad research to be important for all communities to thrive. United Way of the National Capital Area believes in equity for all, regardless of race, gender, income and ability. Below, we explain what gender equality is, examples of gender equality in action and how it benefits all people.
What Does Gender Equality Mean?
Gender equality definition is the state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender. It’s not only women who are affected by gender inequality—all genders are impacted, including men, trans and gender-diverse people. This in turn impacts children and families, and people of all ages and backgrounds.
Equality in gender does not mean that women and men will have or need the exact same resources, but that women’s, men’s, trans people’s and gender-diverse people’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on their assigned gender at birth.
Examples of Gender Equality
What does gender equality look like in the real world? Below, we list and describe an example of gender equality in various scenarios and how it should look in society.
Example 1: Equality at Home
On average, women around the world do three times as much unpaid work at home as men, including household work and caring for children and family members, and many of these women also work full-time or part-time careers. Gender equality in this example would look like splitting up at-home work as evenly as possible between all genders of a household, so that the burden of taking care of the home and family is not solely on women.
Example 2: Equal Pay for Equal Work
The pay gap between men and women remains strong throughout the United States and around the world, especially for women who are mothers or caretakers. Gender equality in the workforce means being paid the same salary for equal work, regardless of gender. It also means that if a woman takes time off from work to take maternity leave, for example, she will not be punished when she returns to work. She will still be considered for the same promotions, pay raises and career opportunities that she would have been given had she not taken the necessary time off to care for her family.
Example 3: Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Bias
Whether in the workplace, within a religious group, at a community center or any other group setting, people of all genders deserve to feel safe and be free of bullying and microaggressions, sexual harassment and prejudice based on gender. A society that appreciates and upholds gender equality does not allow for offensive comments, harassment, etc., to be tolerated in any form.
Benefits of Gender Equality
Gender equality makes communities safer, healthier and happier. Countries with greater gender equality are more connected and benefit immensely. Below, we list and describe specific societal benefits of gender equality.
Example 1: Economic Equality
When all genders receive equal job opportunities, society benefits. Studies show a diverse workplace is a more productive workplace, and this diversity includes gender diversity. This success in the workplace translates into the economy, as well. When equal job opportunity is given to all genders, poverty rates are reduced, communities are uplifted and a nation’s GDP is significantly improved.
Example 2: Improved Education
Gender equality in education benefits every child within the school system. Girls who receive an education have a higher likelihood to be healthier and more productive, earning higher incomes and building better futures for their families. This in turn contributes to a stronger economy that benefits all genders and leads to better health within a community. According to UNICEF, when a girl receives a secondary education, her lifetime earnings dramatically increase, the national growth rate rises, child marriage rates decline, child mortality rates decline, maternal mortality rates fall and child stunting drops.
Example 3: Better Health
Studies show gender inequality has a negative impact on many health outcomes, including in regard to family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, pandemic disease and more. When health systems are transformed to provide equal access to health care for all genders, studies show there are better health outcomes, including reduced depression and PTSD, reduced mortality rates, better self-rated health and reduced alcohol consumption.
How to Promote Gender Equality in Your Community
There are many ways to promote gender equality in daily life, from splitting up household chores equally to fighting gender stereotypes. There are also many groups and nonprofits promoting equity in their communities across the nation, including United Way NCA.
United Way NCA is focused on fostering equity for all community members, including those of all genders. We invite you to get involved in promoting gender equality in our community by giving, advocating, volunteering and by joining our Affinity Group, Women United, who plan and execute community projects benefiting girls, women and families throughout the National Capital Area.
To learn more, visit unitedwaynca.org. When none are ignored, all will thrive.