By investing in women and their well-being, the world can be a far better place
According to the United Nations, the theme for International Women's Day 2022 is "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow" asking for a just world without discrimination of any kind. This theme also recognizes the outstanding contributions of women and girls worldwide, building the change for a new and sustainable future for all. History reflects the fact that the countries that have given due diligence to build their balance in gender equality at all spheres made tremendous progress compared to others. Women and girls are also considered the most effective and outstanding leaders and "change-makers" in societies, lives, and letters of countries and across the globe. By giving them a seat at the important decision-making tables, there is a greater chance for the states and institutions to make inclusive and sustainable decisions.
Every human being is entitled to human rights. However, in a patriarchal system, women's rights are often ignored. Gender equality is a fundamental human right, i.e., men and women. Unfortunately, most of the time, violence and discrimination against women are not seen as a threat to peace as far as men are not harmed, in war or otherwise. In short, women and their problems are disregarded. Without gender equality, women risk becoming completely irrelevant in the evolution process of a cohesive society. They risk being relegated to the preconceived roles assigned to them.
Gender equality is a vital element in national, regional, and global peace, security, and stability. Without a gender-equal world, there are also greater chances for countries to go down into the abyss of poverty and deprivation. The history of the world reflects that countries with less gender equality also remain less peaceful in the global political system. Unbridled power in the hands of a privileged few has led to its abuse.
Patriarchal societies have stereotyped women, restricting their growth. As a result, they are unable to overcome obstacles throughout their lives. Today, the biggest challenge that the world is facing in terms of gender is inequality in education, fundamental rights, professional opportunities, remuneration, rights to choose, rights in inherence, justice, health, and preconceived societal notions. Therefore, gender equality is essential for the world to be inclusive, safe, secure and the wish for a sustainable and equal future will remain a distant dream without comprehensive equality at all levels.
While writing these lines, the world faces the threat of a catastrophic nuclear war, and conflict is ongoing. This is a moment to reflect on what can be done by the countries to fight the threats from wars, famines, injustice, terrorism, and extremism instead of fighting each other through fatal weapons. We have yet to live in a world where there is peaceful coexistence, harmony in our relationships, and respect for diversity. By investing in women and their wellbeing including giving them equal rights and opportunities to grow, the world can be a far better place as it is today.
Farhat Asif, Founder President at Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies
WRN’s Board Member