Gender and Rights

What is the difference between gender and sex?
• ‘Sex’ refers to the biological differences between males and females.
• Gender describes roles, rights and responsibilities that communities and societies consider appropriate for women/girls and men/boys.
Read posts about gender from VOY contributors.

We often talk about gender as a social construct. That means that gender roles are not a ‘natural’ result of biological differences, but are determined by the systems and cultures in which we live. We are born as males and females, but we learn to become girls and boys, men and women, from our families and societies.
These assumptions are what create gender identities and in turn gender-based discrimination and gender inequality. Gender is a fluid concept and often changes over time, as well as from one culture to another. This means that we can address and contribute to changing these roles by challenging the status quo and seeking social change.
How does gender inequality affect girls?
Gender inequalities can impact many different aspects of girl’s lives. While each country and community is different, we can observe the following global trends:
• Girls are less likely than boys to go to school. • Girls are more likely than boys to be married before the age of 18. • Girls are more likely than boys to become infected with HIV. • Girls are more likely than boys to have experienced sexual violence. • Women hold fewer leadership positions both in politics and in the workplace.

Often we see that girls from minority populations and rural areas are especially affected. Gender roles intersect with discrimination based on age, ethnicity, poverty, belonging to indigenous groups, caste, disability and other factors to create ‘double discrimination’ towards girls. We have to address these factors together to reduce discrimination against girls.

Discrimination heightens in adolescence
The discrimination girls face heightens during adolescence (10-19 years old). When we look at programs that typically target children under 10 years old, such as primary education and immunization, the differences between girls and boys are often quite small. But when girls reach adolescence they face a set of new challenges, such as child-domestic labour, child marriage, reproductive health, and sexual violence. The differences between girls and boys in these areas are much greater. So it is important to continue to address the specific needs of girls also when they reach adolescence.
How can we achieve gender equality?
Governments have made commitments to gender equality through ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and adopting the Beijing Platform for Action. These international frameworks promote the rights of girls and women and what governments must do towards achieving gender equality.
However, governments also need to make sure that standards and laws that protect the rights of girls and women are enforced. This is not always the case, and we need to continue to advocate with governments to play their part and support girls and women through laws and policies.
It is also important to change existing stereotypes and behaviours among all members of society who do not fully recognize the rights of girls and women. That can be difficult and involves challenging long-standing beliefs and attitudes in a community. But it is only when all girls and women are respected as equals that we can achieve gender equality.
Boys for gender equality
Gender equality can only be achieved by working on both sides of the equation – with girls and women and with boys and men. It is important to make boys aware of the effects of discrimination against girls and include them in developing responses and solutions.

The word feminist

Over time the word feminist has gained a different definition in many people's eyes. Some think feminism means man hating, but the definition in Merriam- Webster Dictionary is "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities". That is saying we do not...

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Talking About A Revolution Currently Does Sound Like A Whisper

3 days ago I was having a conversation with 2 friends(A and B); and in typical gossip fashion, a particular guy's name pops up... friend A blurts out that she found out he was gay from another friend; then friend B says she had a feeling he was. She went on to say (friend B), that it's very...

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You Are A Miracle

MIRACLES! How many people did you touch today? How many people did your eyes see today?...

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Police Brutality in New york

In recent years there has been an increase in cases pertaining to police brutality and the mistreatment of citizens of color and of particular descent. This shines a light upon the social standards of today and the morals of the men and women that protect our streets and neighborhoods. These...

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This Should Be the Norm

Imagine: you're sitting in first period when you realize that you really have to pee. Your teacher...

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Source: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/t31.0-8/10604691_10152750...

25 years of children's rights

Next Thursday, 20 November 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the C...

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Human Rights in 2014

Human Rights are the principles that should be guaranteed to every person regardless of sex, age, income level, or race. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was ratified on December 16, 1949 by the UN, after the atrocities committed during World War II. It was the first global e...

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Minimum Wage

A minimum wage is an hourly wage rate that is set by law. As of early 2010, the minimum wage in th...

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Youth (un)employment

Employment is an essential topic in public policy because for many a job is much more than a salar...

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A Lack of Cultural Understanding

With the international tensions that are going on these days, I feel the need to write this article. These days, I feel like people pay more attention to politics a little more than culture. People pay more attention to any governments' bad actions, thinking that it reflects people's beliefs. Peopl...

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