Gender Equality & Empowerment

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Gender Equality & Empowerment

Gender Equality & Empowerment

 

What is Gender Equality & how to advocate .

When we talk about equality there is “Disparity” somewhere . This could be Geographical, societal, family based or Individual. We will make some observations to try and understand the causes and possible mitigation by way of Empowerment.

Gender inequalities persist largely due to occupational segregation and gender pay gaps. The balance of domestic work completed among genders can also indicate areas of inequality. With respect to gender and unpaid care and domestic work, there are variations according to regions and across countries. Despite being foundational to all societies, unpaid care and domestic work is neither recognised as work nor valued. The unequal distribution of this kind of work between women and men and between families and societies more broadly – acts as a powerful constraint on practising gender equality. Across the globe women and girls perform the bulk of this work, leaving them with less time for education, income generation, political participation rest and leisure.

What is gender and why gender equality

Gender is …..

  • Context, place and time specific
  • Heirarchical
  • Institutional
  • Dynamic and time bound
  • Changeable

Gender stereotypes ! A specific case of Women who can be generally described as below :

Energetic          Homely              Gentle               Sensitive           Desire security             Emotional Kind                   Nurturing

There is often a rigid gender role given to men as breadwinners and women as caretakers which leads to men exercising a stronger decision making power within the family. On the contrary, men can feed their babies by milk bottles and hence there are no reason to prevent men from taking care of their babies. We think of women when we think of cooking and other caretaking activities in Home. It is seen as a part of women’s role to cook and feed the family as a caretaker. On the contrary, there are less female professional chefs than male chefs. Note the gender gap when the action becomes paid or unpaid, professional chefs Vs unpaid care workers. At individual level or through societal initiatives by SHG’s, NGO’s, Education Consultants, Schools, Corporates under the CSR programs, it is possible to close or reduce the gender gap or inequality by Empowerment through programs on Motivation, Creativity and Resilience. A look into each of these one by one will make us understand more for real actions that is required !

Motivation

Motivation can be of two main types : extrinsic or intrinsic

Extrinsic or external motivation is built on and arises from external factors ( those which are outside the individual ) like medals, accolades, praises etc. Intrinsic or internal motivation factors is built on factors which lie within the individual and is anchored on personal gratification like enjoyment of a challenge. Intrinsic motivation is more stable and sustainable than extrinsic motivation as it engages you rather than anchoring to you an external outcome. Although different, both play an important role in varying degrees in situations.

To identify some of motivators

Some behaviours associated with motivation –

  • I know my strengths and how to identify the characteristics of my personal motivation to take action
  • I know how to balance the two types of personal motivations : intrinsic and extrinsic
  • I know how to evaluate opportunities and obstacles
  • I am ready to take action
  • I am capable of personal commitment to the achievement and success of the project

 Creativity

The cerebral connections in the left hemisphere of the brain are linear, logical and sequential. It is the right hemisphere which is more closely related to creativity. The connections of the right hemisphere of the brain follow a network model and stimulate alternative pathways and emotions. This encourages generation of new solutions to complex challenges. Remember creativity can take any way, shape or form!

Some behaviours associated with creativity

  • I use logic to apply the tools that support the creative process
  • I demonstrate a proactive attitude and I am ready to seize opportunities
  • I possess an ability to take initiative
  • I demonstrate a positive attitude when facing the uncertainties of the creative process
  • I adopt a participatory approach to researching ideas

 Improving Creativity – Few steps to practice

  • Allow periods of free thinking
  • Revisit and reconceptualize the problem
  • Stimulate yourself
  • Mindfullness and meditation
  • Not to fear failure or being wrong

Resilience

Some behavior associated with resilience

  • I reacted quickly when faced with significant obstacles and setbacks
  • I identify band apply alternative strategies to respond to challenges
  • I take responsibility for the level of performance needed to achieve the objective
  • I adopt a positive attitude in the face of adversity
  • I analyse my mistakes
  • I develop my capacity for taking risk

 Ways to Improve resilience

Based on psychological research following are a few Soft skills –

  • Persistence/Perseverance
  • Emotional control
  • Openness to change and alternative thinking
  • Working on personal growth ( through skill development etc.)
  • Focus on the process of learning rather than the outcome

Having identified the three forces that requires strengthening, challenges that gender inequality is facing can be reduced or eliminated progressively. Effort would be for more action oriented accelerated programs at ground level . Though, to make this wish a reality, it may take years, but  Societies and Governments are putting in their best foot forward by bringing in Policy changes that can create awareness and deliver the goods. Unfortunately, these policies remain on paper and do not reach the target groups or individuals to benefit as intended on paper.

While the topdown approach remains prevalent, in order to accelerate the process of delivery, a bottoms up approach is needed where the individuals at family level have to develop their internal Strengths to Empower themselves. Pursued as individual initiative or collectively at societal level through Self Help groups, schools, NGO’s or Panchayats etc. to create self awareness on 5 R’s ie. Roles, Responsibilities, Relationship, Respect and Resources, these often can and will empower through adequate Motivation , inculcating a Creative thinking and building Resilience.

A roadmap with action plan to implement these attributes as discussed to empower individuals needs to be developed quickly keeping the urgency in view.

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