A few days ago I read this article, Elite Women Put a New Spin on an Old Debate, which sent me on a journey of gender rediscovery and reaffirmation. I, subsequently, began researching the effects gender inequality has on families, domestic economies and the environment. Although I am far from understanding all of the details and intricacies involved, the importance of the role women must be empowered to assume within their immediate & extended families, domestic economies and internationally cannot be adequately underscored.
What has also become equally evident is the destructive framework that mankind is working within that prevents building a foundation for eradicating poverty. Archaic mindsets that limit women’s potential for whatever reasons, whether through cultural or religious beliefs or simply because the necessity of women’s empowerment isn’t understood, are rigidly in place that not only damage the world’s most vulnerable but endanger all of our futures.
Just as our educational and healthcare systems are rigidly outdated here in the “developed” world, so is our concept of the labor market. Women will play an ever-increasing role in career and professional tracks as well as in the un- or low-skilled labor force. We, as a result, should begin to conceptualize and implement comprehensive gender-sensitive work force concepts. Furthermore, women who are the heads of households, most of which are found in the impoverished, near poverty and middle income classes, should receive the targeted and unwavering support of civil society and institutions. This support must not consist solely of equal pay models although they are essential as a part of developing an equal opportunity basis. Reproductive rights, comprehensive childcare and healthcare, educational and training opportunities must be protected, instituted, made readily and broadly accessible and financed, respectively, in order to create a foundation for gender equality which is essential in eradicating poverty.
Here are some links to literature which not only address the necessity of empowering women internationally and domestically but shed light on the impact of gender disempowerment and disavowal:
Rio+20: Key Messages: Every Woman, Every Child
United Nations: Global Strategies for Women’s and Children’s Health
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn: The Movement
Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendahl: Unnatural Selection