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.

Fix Society - Transgender People and HIV/AIDs

5:30 PM on December 28th 2014, a scheduled post hit tumblr saying “Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself.” The owner of the blog and writer of the post, Leelah Alcorn, chose neither and killed...

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Let's take a stand against unethical businesses

If you found out that a brand you love, or a company you buy from all the time, is guilty of child labour or pollution, what would you do? That's the question we asked a group of young people on Voices of Youth, in collaboration with the Guardian Sustainable Business to find out what you...

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Taking action at 2015....for a better future for everyone!

It seems that 2015 will be a crucial year for the world. This year two UN events will take place. The first one will be in September in New York, where world leaders, after the "Millennium Development Goals" (which were put in 2000), will put a new set of goals, the "Sustainable Development...

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Can we really change something...?

Yesterday, I had a talk with someone who, at times, I would call suicidal. He told me he was consi...

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Have you ever wondered, “What is my purpose in life?” Lord knows I have. I...

Source: http://hurt2healingmag.com/a-purpose-driven-2014/

A Purpose-Driven [2015]

Have you ever wondered, “What is my purpose in life?” Lord knows I have. I think it’s safe to say that discovering your purpose in life then working towards that purpose is what almost every human being undertakes as a goal. Purpose is what gives our lives meaning. So, how do you know...

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Women's rights, freedom and religion in the MENA region (2)

In the previous post, we talked a little about freedom of women in a patriarchal society and I fin...

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Women's rights, freedom and religion in the MENA region (1)

I talked last time about honor killings in the region of MENA; it’s a critical problem that no o...

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Having Natural Hair in Africa

The look of the hair on my head is the look of a wool. The texture is course. But surprisingly I a...

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RELIGION, RADICALISM & TERRORISM - Two Parallels and a Bridge

Religion is a form of organized belief or ideology that guides a group of people. Religion is as o...

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Is there any value in unpaid internships?

The recent Voices of Youth debates are dedicated to theme of internship. And the topic exactly sou...

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