Tanasorn Promsawang (5841226424)
“Gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities between women and men. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. It is not only a women’s issue but should concern and fully engage men as well as women.” Equality between gender is important in everyone’s life because it is basic of human rights and one of keys for development. This topic is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for sustainable people-centred development.
However, there are not a single country in the world that is absolute gender equal. Since women and men are unequal in every conceivable way in endless circumstances such as physical factors, social status or social opportunity. Women have to suffer extremely under the power of men for many generations. Men believe that they are superior to women due to their biological hormones and instinctive intellect. “Another origin is sexual discrimination; even in the world today, many women are viewed by men as just sex objects rather than a real human being.” They always degrade women in several ways for their own satisfaction, for instance, sexual harassment, physical and emotional abusive. “Violent behaviour is generally perceived to be an integral part of male behaviour and as a normal feature of being a man.”Patriarchy are also the foundation of the social order everywhere. It may be hard to find the solution for this problem due to men’s intensive belief but these cruel behaviors must be solve urgently. Women should be helped from these unpleasant activities. Gender equality also should be promoted in all spheres of society. So, women’s rights organizations are established for this reason. Gender equality supporter believe that equality between gender will help reducing many problems which happens from sexual differences. It will end violence, exploitation and discrimination against women. Although there are many women’ rights organizations for advancing gender equality, women still lack of fairness in education, labor market, domestic abuse, and lower class because belief of men has never disappeared.
Nevertheless,. many countries in globally have much equality between men and women. According to World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017, it shows how close each country is to achieving gender equality. “The score is based on good results in terms of political empowerment, educational attainment and improvements in women’s economic participation.” The report reveals that Iceland is the global leader in gender equality which closed more that 87% of overall gender gap. From this evidence, I argued that gender equality can be achieved in some day.
The essay is divided into four parts. In the first part is about gender inequality in the world today. The second part focuses on Iceland as an example of gender equality development. The third part focuses on key factors for Iceland gender equality accomplishment. The final part is a summary of the essay.
Part 1 Gender inequality is involved with everyone in society. It happens from the differences in social status and power that men and women have in society. It affects women more than men due to social status, for example, many women in middle east are lower position to men. They are taught to be a men’s property more than human beings. Besides, women are typically taught to be housewives. It is a traditional view of the differentiation of sex roles. “A married women’s place is in the home.” They have to do basic activities such as childcare, cooking and gardening. While men are the persons who earn money to support their family. Even today, many women are working in the labor market more than before, they don’t get equality as much as they should.
The intensities and causes of gender inequality vary throughout the world. Crimes against women consist of violence, femicide, and rape. “Honor killing, one such offense, is when a female member of a family is killed for the perception of having brought dishonor to the family. It has become a massive issue in countries such as Pakistan and the Muslim Middle East, and is on the rise. These actions are not only unlawful violence against women, but also towards the whole of humanity.” Another significant major for gender inequality is sex-selective abortion. In India and China, many families in these countries prefer male child birth over female. “In India the birth of a boy is welcomed while that of a girl is viewed as a burden.” Likewise, in China, families always choose boys over girls because they believe that women are worth less than men. Then, a one child policy in China society forced parents to choose the boys more than girls.
Gender inequality is the big problem to the world and need to be resolved, so many women rights organizations are established for promoting gender equality. But they are not sufficient to minimize and eliminate gender inequality. For instance, the society of defending women’s rights in Saudi Arabia is designed to empower women and protect their rights. “Indeed, China and India are both fighting feticide and infanticide. By providing financial assistance to families with girls, India is not only encouraging female education, but also supplying parents with financial aid for their daughters dowry. Meanwhile, China has taken strides to limit the abuse of modern technology by outlawing the use of ultrasound or gender detection methods. Moreover, they have granted parents who have a female child another chance at birthing a son in the hopes that families will not abandon, abort, or murder their female infant.”
Gender equality is also a major obstacle for country’s economic growth. Since women constitute 40% of workforce in the world, encourage them to participate in the labour market is important to country’s economic. There is inequality between men and women in labor force market all around the world. Women workers are generally paid less than men despite being equally capable and skilled. “Furthermore, their status and promotion is limited to middle or below ranks, they are laid off pre-retirement age more frequently than men, they have limited educational opportunity, and they typically run smaller farms and less profitable enterprises. Due to these obvious restrictions, many countries experience loss of productivity that amounts to 25% due to gender discrimination.”
The origins of gender discrimination are in history, tradition and culture. Gender inequality has a huge effects on women’s psychology of their worth and dignity to themselves and to society. Government and communities should cooperate together to change aspects of women and promote value of women. “They all must act in concert with respect to communication, education, leadership, and cultural norms and traditional values in order to shift the attitude and mindset of the population in favor of gender equality.”
However, there are many countries in the world that almost closed gap between men and women particularly in Scandinavian countries. Due to good results in political system, educational success and improvements in women’s economic participation, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden are the top five countries in gender equality gap index. They have the gender norms which was created to abolish gender inequality gap In Iceland, the first place country for gender equality, it has many approaches to make gender equality stronger with the support from both the government and the society. Other countries should take Iceland as a model for having a better gender equality.
Part 2 Iceland has been ranked by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the past nine years as the world’s most gender equality country. The global gender gap report evaluates gender equality in each countries by using measures such as economic opportunity, political empowerment, and health and survival. Due to the World Economic Forum’s gender equality campaign, which conducts the survey, thinks Iceland could be the first to close its gender gap completely. “In 2016, Iceland had closed 87% of their gender pay gap.” Eliminating the gender inequality gap is Iceland’s government plan to complete by 2020
“In Iceland, the beginning of women’s struggle for gender equality is often traced back to 1885 when Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir published her article on education and the rights of women in a widely read magazine.” She became a leader for women’s rights in Iceland. A few years later, in 1907, the first women’s association which had improved rights for women was established under her leadership. An Iceland women’s movement had been created and the struggle for gender equality had begun. “During the last decade, the country has passed laws to ensure gender balance on boards, to ban strip clubs nationwide and to secure paid paternity leave for 3 months.”
“On 24 october 1975, there was a huge wave of professional and domestic strikes in Iceland.” Iceland women had refused to show up for work. They also denied to cook, clean or look after their children. Showing that they are important for society as much as men are one of the objectives for women strike. They also call for men to respect their work and demand equal pay. The previous women’s strikes in the past make Iceland has a good score on almost every front of gender parity. “The country also has had a female president for 20 of the past 50 years, nearly 50% of its parliament members are women, and it closed its health and education gender gaps many years ago.” Today, Iceland became the first country in the world which has equal pay policy. The policy forces companies to stop paying women less than men for the same work. Gap between gender in Iceland is gradually closing due to strong participation from many social groups.
Part 3 The beginning of succeed were needed many key factors. As gender equality’s first place, Iceland need many factors behind this accomplishment too. Being the top country in gender equality requires the cooperation from many factors such as political system, society and culture, and education system because these factors impact on every spheres of equality between gender in iceland.
The first factor is political and legislation systems. Legislation is required to achieve gender equality because human rights are often defined and guaranteed by law, for instance, through conventions and international law. Most countries in the world have a political consensus about the importance of gender equality. However, discrimination based on gender is already illegal in many countries, the legislation is far from effective. Women are still paid less than men in every country in the world. So, women are going to participate in politics more than before. As political participations play an increasing role in the running of institutions of government, and are significant actors in democratic processes, it is important that women are enabled to represent their aspirations and assert their political interests. Iceland is the first country that take the fight against the gender pay gap. “Itso has one of the most gender equal parliaments in the world, with 48 percent of lawmakers being women in 2016.” Moreover, the Iceland’s gender equality legislation is up on the equal status and equal rights for women and men, No 10/2008. The objective of the act is to create and maintain equal rights and opportunities for women and men. For equalising the status of both genders everywhere in the community, Iceland government set a gender equality’s pay policy. The government wants to make it compulsory for all companies to develop a certification scheme for gender pay equality. Due to this legislation, Iceland is the first country in the world to ban pay discrimination on the basis of gender.
“Despite an equal pay act that dates back to 1961, Icelandic women still earn less than men between 14% and 20%. So the president and her association were one of many campaign groups to back a plan that finally resulted.” Public and private companies employing at least 25 full-time employees will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies. The companies will get a certification after they confirm that they will pay wages to men and women equally. Companies and agencies that fail to do so, they risked to being fined. “The fines are set at around $500 per day in the current legislation.” The new law don’t mean that companies must pay everyone doing the same job the exact same salary. Many basic factors like experience, performance and other aspects are determined worker’s wage. However, the companies have to show that the differences in wages are not due to gender.
The second factor that determined Iceland’s gender equality success is social and cultural system. Iceland became the best place in the world for women because the country has topped the World Economic Forum’s gender equality index. For family life issue, Iceland has the best maternity and paternity policy in the world. ” In the past, Iceland is a seafaring country, women had to stay at home while their husbands traversed the oceans. Without men at home, women played the roles of farmer, hunter, architect, builder. They managed household finances and were crucial to the country’s ability to prosper.” However, women in Iceland today are highly educated, a high percentage hold managerial positions and they don’t give up their careers for having children. Many in Iceland see the women’s strike of 1975 as a defining moment in the gender equality struggle. “On the women’s day off, most of women in Iceland stopped work and refused to do any household chores. Schools and nurseries were closed. Fathers were left with no choice but to bring their kids to work.”. This shows how Iceland women’s power be in Iceland’s society.
In 2000, an parental official law was created by government. “It is known as the Icelandic act on maternity or paternity and parental leave. The law increased parental leave from six to nine months.” a parental leaves are covered for birth, adoption, and foster care for all employees in Iceland, even those who are self-employed paying 80% of earned salary to new parents. “Today, fathers have an rights to three months leave, mothers have three months and three months can be shared between the two. That brings the total leave to nine months.” This makes Iceland women return to work after giving birth faster than before, they also return to their pre-childbirth working hours faster. Men get at least three months’ paternity leave, and 90% of them take it. After taking the three months’ leave, men continue to be importantly more with their children and do more housework. This gives them time to become comfortable with child-rearing, encouraging them to share the workload with their partners. Parents split the time of leave equally for ensuring that their children will grow up with equal care from both parents.
For equality in labor market’s issue, women previously had little perceived importance, including investors’ rights and trade liberalization. companies’ boards in Iceland must include at least 40% women workers. Because of the corruption and financial collapse in 2009, the government try to include more women in seats of power to reduce corruption. “In the article 15 of the act on equal status and equal rights of women and men states that no public company board or government council or committee may have less than 40% gender equality. The law also states that any company with more than 25 employees must have a gender equality program in place, which will review goals every three years.” Since women’s paid employment rates were raised to the same level as men’s, women have higher role in the economic system participation. Besides, another important rule for equal society making is sexual discrimination banning. A belief that women are just sex objects to men should be eliminated. In Iceland, pay for sex is illegal. “In 2007, the government amended the law arguing that most people who turn to soliciting sex have no other option or were coerced by others. So instead of penalizing victims of poor circumstances who are often forced into prostitution, the law places criminalization on those who pay for sex, and third parties involved.” This rule helps women from being forced to be a prostitute.
The last factor for being the best country for gender equality is education system. Iceland is well-known all over the world for its high level of education system. The educational structure openly advocates an equal opportunity for all, regardless of sex, economic status, religion, and cultural or social background. This is why Iceland’s education is one of many factors for becoming a global gender equality’s leader. “Since 2011 equality is one of six pillars of education in the Icelandic national curriculum guide for all school levels.” The government make an effort to create conscious mind of equality at an early age. The government believes that teaching children about equality is necessary to ensure a truly equal society. Hjalli method is a program which is now applied in about 20 nursery and primary schools in Iceland. Separating boys and girls at school in order to allow them to flourish fully is the program’s objective. “All activities are the same for everyone. toys, educational tools and clothes are unisex.” So, it helps children to learn how equality between men and women be. After kids grow up with equal time from parents, gender equality learning continues. “Article 23 of the act on equal status and equal rights of women and men mandates that gender equality must be taught in schools throughout all levels of education.” All sports, classes, and forms of schooling from early education through university must include and practice gender equality. “Educational materials and textbooks shall be designed in such a way as not to discriminate against either sex.” Taking the principles of gender equality root in Iceland’s children minds through education has given Iceland’s people a good attitude towards sexual differences.
Part 4 Gender inequality is a big problem that every country in the world faced and should be resolved seriously. It affects to basic human rights and also obstructs the growth of the country as well. It can be problematic because of the belief that men are more powerful than women. But there is a hope that this problem can be solved eventually. According to World Economics Forum Global Gender Gap report, many countries are able to narrow the inequality gap. Iceland has had the closest gender gap of any country in the world. The Iceland’s women has been campaigning and promoting gender equality through the strikes for a long time. “A strong women’s movement and huge pressure from feminist groups have been behind the political will in Iceland to rapidly introduce a series of radical measures in gender issues” Today, their demands have been fulfilled. The success of gender equality in Iceland is based on several factors. Political system are the first important factor. The government provides substantial support for equality between men and women. Iceland’s government is comprised of over 40% of women. “This can be attributed to several political decisions, such as a legal right for parents to return to their job after childbirth and a equal pay policy.” The second key factor for developing gender equality is wider Icelandic society and culture. In Iceland, women and men have equal roles in domestic works and childcare. Also, the men’s belief that seeing as women a sex objects is noticeably reduced in Iceland’s society. Children will grow up with equal cares from both father and mother. The last factor contributing Iceland to be the most equal gender country is education system. The idea of ??gender equality has been taught to children since early-aged of them so that they will grow up to be good adults. In addition, gender equality knowledges are also a part of teaching and learning in all levels of education. These effective factors have resulted to Iceland for being a country with a very high level of gender equality. Many countries that are successful in gender equality use these factors for closing gender inequality gap as well. Although Iceland is still not able to fill the gap completely at present, it is a great start for other countries to learn from the Icelandic model