Equality being a very complex concept with multiple layers of intertwined topics it is even more complicated when you break it down into those individual layers, for instance gender equality in its own right is a very complex issue; the way you understand it and also how it relates with other kinds of equality is unique. In a society where there are economic disparities you will find that the most affected people belong to a certain gender category of the population, women are usually marginalised in societies whereby there are economic inequalities since we have been conditioned to believe that women cannot wield enormous economic power. This phenomenon also portrays itself in societies with less political equality; you will find that those who have been sidelined belong to a certain group of the population. These problems are however as a result of social constructs that have been passed along from one generation to another. It is also imperative to note that marginalisation based on gender has not only occured in underdeveloped democracies but also in those developed ones who consider themselves to have a politically conscious citizens. It is only until recently that more emphasis has been towards eradication of gender inequalities.
I remember growing up in a society whereby at an early age we were taught about our roles in the society and they were very distinct from those of the opposite gender; men were not supposed to even hang around a gathering of women or go near a kitchen, that is what I was taught. I broke free from this narrative as I grew older and learnt the importance of accepting that we are all born equal. In our contemporary world I believe change has started to take place because more and more women have started rising above these inequalities and become empowered to fight for their rights. Society has slowly but surely begun to accept these changes because a wise man once said “be the change before change changes you!” indeed change is inevitable and all of us must submit to it or we will perish. Nowadays it is easy to find women occupying top positions in the government as compared to the past.
This positive change towards a more accepting world can be attributed to many factors; as technology continues to advance day by day it makes it easier to spread the gospel of equal rights in the society. It has become very easy to create awareness on these pertinent issues in the society as nowadays everyone is somehow connected to the global network. It is also important to note the activist movements that have sprung in the 21st century which have majorly contributed to the shift in the status quo. Due to these activist movements there have been development of more and more policies to protect the rights of the marginalised people in the society. In my country for instance we have the affirmative action which has been captured in the constitution and it provides that all rights of the marginalised people in the society should be prioritised to ensure the realisation of a more equal society; it goes on to prescribe a two-thirds gender rule in the national assembly whereby in order to ensure equal representation in the parliament special seats have been specifically designated for women only. This move has greatly improved the level of equal representation in our country. The equality culture has greatly improved in our contemporary world, nowadays kids are being taught in school at an early age the importance of respecting other genders.
In the contemporary world it is evident that the issue of gender equality has taken a centre stage and there are so many programs that have been created to advocate for women rights, this is the way to go but it is also imperative that as we aim at eradicating the marginalisation of one gender lets hope we don’t end up completely shifting the balance and repeat our old mistakes.
Written by: Raymond Kigai