If you’ve been following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you’ll know that we are currently running a competition on Instagram to find out why YOU think gender equality is important. By posting a video (under 60 seconds) or image on your Instagram channel, with a caption about why you think gender equality is important, you are in for a chance to win a DSLR camera (a Nikon D5600). Just make sure you tag @rightbyher and put the #rightbyher in the post and bear in mind that we are judging based on how creative and inspirational the post is.
So, to get you thinking, we wanted to delve a bit deeper into gender equality and what it really means…
…At its most basic level, gender equality is simply about ensuring that both genders have access to the same opportunities at an economic, sociological, health-care and educational level. It is about the same behaviours and needs being valued, acknowledged and respected equally – regardless of gender. Although we have come a long way in the last decades, there is still a long way to go. At present, 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15-49 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period and 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence.
Politically, the breakdown of men and women in parliament does not represent the demographics of the nations they represent. Just to look at a quick snapshot of African, our focus-continent for Right By Her, only 6% of seats in Nigeria are held by women, and in Libya, Malawi, Niger, Mali, Togo, Sierra Leone are all at under 20% women representatives in parliament.
The State of African Women report that was pulished by Right By Her also highlights the situation in Africa for a lot of women and girls, focusing on 4 key rights areas where there is clearly still work to be done (gender based violence against women, HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and harmful practices). Here are just some of the shocking statistics that may enlighten you as to how far we have to go:
- Lifetime prevalence of some form of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner is estimated to be 36.6% for African women.
- Three in five African countries do not criminalise marital rape.
- 45.6% of women in Africa have experienced physical and/or sexual violence.
- 13 countries in Africa do not prohibit FGM
- Young women aged 15-24 in sub-saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected with HIV than men in the same age group.
The good news is that there is also a lot of hope with a stronger recognition for the need for gender equality in the past years. Harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) have declined by 30% in the past decade and more generally speaking, resources have been galvanised, with many companies, governments and NGO’s galvanizing behind the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Developmet Goals, of which achieving gender equality is Goal 5.