In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re going to celebrate the progress we’ve made over the last several decades, and reflect on all the ways we must continue to fight for equality.
Gender equality is complex, multifaceted, and bottom line – it benefits everyone. Today we’ll discuss its various aspects, and how women still face resistance, lack of support and gender discrimination. This is seen in the workplace, public settings and even at home.
Let’s dive into the facts.
We’ve all become increasingly aware of the stark difference in wages between men and women. The gender pay gap is evident across all industries and positions of superiority and seniority. In recent years, there has been more of a push for transparency with regard to salary, in an effort to empower women in the workplace to obtain the salary they are entitled to, as well as establish and maintain accountability throughout organization decision-makers.
Women also commonly experience disparity in terms of workload versus compensation, meaning that at times, women are expected to take on more work and exert more effort, for less than their male colleagues. Not only that, it is also more difficult and takes longer for women to receive promotions and raises than their male counterparts.
We must all acknowledge the experience of women versus men in the workplace, and aim to provide employees of all genders with the same opportunities with respect to salary, advancement, etc.
Homemaker & Parental Inequities
Gender equality begins at home. In many partnerships and families, is unfortunately expected that the woman assumes sole responsibility when it comes to homemaking and parental duties, with the outdated belief that the male partner is responsible for employment only, and that homemaker / parental duties require less effort and energy. This is simply not true. If anything, we know that parenting often does not allow breaks for basic human necessities like going to the bathroom, taking a shower, meeting nutritional requirements for optimal health, etc. Not to mention, many cisgender-hetero partnerships consist of the women feeling obligated to attend to small children / infants overnight during feeds, changes etc. In some cases, female partners become severely sleep-deprived and as a result, their health is compromised, which can lead to unsafe situations while parenting.
Of course, every situation is unique and requires joint understanding and mutual respect. And the bottom line is that spousal inequity, exploitation and abuse are very present in household settings when talking about housekeeping and parental duties.
Public Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment
We’re all familiar with harassment tactics like “catcalling”, and while things like this are commonly accepted or tolerated by women, it is usually due to fear of retaliation or compromising of personal safety. As a society, we must stand together and condemn this kind of behaviour and the violent and intimidating nature from which it stems.
With all that said, it is important to recognize the progress we’ve made as a society in achieving gender equality. And in honour and appreciation of the brave, trailblazing women that have come before us, we must continue their mission. Of course, we can always do better and if everyone leads with that mindset, gender equality will no longer be a dream for the future.