I watched two little girls being interviewed on YouTube after President Obama’s visit to their town and they were both asked if they would like to be president one day. In response, one of the little girls said “No, we are not boys” while her friend explained “girls can become president too, but I don’t want to”. Their answers reflect the quagmire the fight for gender parity is facing today. It also poses whether or not the world is moving forward and achieving the goal of closing the gender gap or is this seeming progress a mirage?
In 2015, the World Economic Forum announced that global gender parity will not be achieved until 2133. This projection runs contrary to the earlier prediction, in 2014, of gender equity being achieved by 2095.
Women all over the world continue to make tremendous contributions to economic and social advancement, yet key leadership positions remain elusive. Numerous global studies show the positive impact of women in leadership: higher GDP, more productivity, more prosperity, better financial and overall performance. Yet, one has to ponder, “Why has the pace towards attaining global gender parity slowed down, when the evidence points to the fact that gender parity is directly aligned with economic prosperity?”
Urgent action must happen now to reverse the tide and make significant strides for women. Waiting more than a century is too long for a strong and determined mother in rural India to have the freedom to go out and earn a living with dignity without the fear of oppression. Enabling her children, irrespective of gender, to receive an education is a necessary fight that needs to happen immediately.
As we celebrate women around the world today, let us all heed the call to “Pledge for Parity.” Beyond equal pay, the right to dignity and respect, and the right to education, let us pledge to ensure a world where all little girls believe that they can be leaders in any position of authority. Their aspirations, even the highest office in the free world, are attainable and not exclusively for boys, men.
HealthRight pledges for parity by intensifying our efforts to improve access to healthcare services for at risk women, adolescents, and children in Kenya, Ukraine, Nepal, Vietnam and the United States. Empowering women through health education and capacity building to ensure better health outcomes enabling them contribute to the socioeconomic development of their communities. We also train health workers to provide services free of stigmatization, that addresses the special needs of marginalized populations (Persons living with HIV, unaccompanied migrant children, survivors of torture and abuse and LGBT populations) and provide comprehensive case management to women and girls who are survivors of violence to help them overcome their trauma and improve their lives. For more information on our programs, click here.
Take the gender parity pledge here today.
Onome Eka, HealthRight Intern