WHAT GENDER EQUALITY MEANS TO ME – By Adebola Aderibigbe

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Gender equality is the creation of opportunities, privileges, rights, advantages and the same level of freedom for both male and female.

In some parts of the world, women are mostly victims of gender inequality. This is an unwelcomed development, as it is generally believed that what a man can do, a woman can also do.

In Africa, in particular, they have this erroneous belief that women are not born for leadership. Who says a woman cannot run a big company, become a minister, a governor or even become a president? Have they forgotten that behind every successful man is a woman? We must consciously change the mentality that some positions are the exclusive right of men. In countries like Croatia, the UK, Brazil, we have women who are presidents, ministers and prime ministers. These countries respect gender equality. Recent researches show that women tend to be better leaders than men. They are strong-willed and confident. Developing their countries is of paramount importance to them.

Right from birth, parents tend to mould and develop the minds of their children. Toys are bought to reflect the gender of the child. For example, footballs are for boys, while dolls are for girls. This automatically brings about thoughts such as I’m a boy, I act like a boy and I’m a girl, therefore, I act like a girl. These thoughts unconsciously create unhealthy rivalry between the two genders as they do not want to relate with those who do not share their beliefs – leading to gender inequality.

Men should learn to appreciate women and not look down on them. We should be seen as equals. A lot of women grow up with great ambitions and dreams but never achieve them as a result of oppression and the negative comments people make about their dreams. They say” You cannot become a pilot (or any other chosen profession)’’ I dare say why should gender become an issue when it comes to choosing a career path? Women should have the same rights as men.

It is alright for a man to be “the boss” and take care of the running of things. The society has segmented professions that are suitable for women and those suitable for men. Such mentality is seen as gender inequality.

Equality between both genders should be accepted and adopted all over the world and the world would become a better place to live in.

I therefore call on policy makers to consider the issue of gender equality when formulating policies because growth and development that is not engendered will surely be endangered

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