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Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Isata Mansaray, Mar 22, 2006
Poverty , Human Rights , Child & Youth Rights , Sexuality , Gender Equality   Opinions
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By Isata Mansaray
17 Years old - 2nd Prize- TIG Sierra Leone Essay Contest

Do you think the MDGs will be achieved and what will be the role of youths in their achievement?

MDG Goal #3: Promote gender equality and empower women - Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

For some decade ago it has been observed that our community/society classifies people according to their SEX, giving priority to men by granting them more right than women, or making people believe that it is better to be a man than not. For instance, a woman gives birth and the first question she must answer to her friends is what sex the baby is. When it’s a boy, everyone is very very happy and there is a famous expression “you don bette” which means “you have won victory”; yet when it’s a girl, people say with satisfaction but less fanfare, “now your home’s little servant has been born.” This shows that in our society, women serve only for housework.

So from the moment we are born, we are subject to this kind of situation where people try to show that men are worth more than women, where boys are even greeted with universal rejoicing and girl with parental satisfaction and joy on the part of the others.

Now everyday we get older and the time comes to study, in some families, especially in the rural areas, only boys have the right to education and girls mostly stay at home. So many sacrifices are made so that a boy can study, but a girl better not even think about requesting this right to education.

In other cases, a boy will go to a private school where he will get more concentration because of the kind of student population there and they also pay tuition and the education is better, never mind more expensive. A girl, on the other hand, will be sent to a government school where there is no tuition, is cheaper, but not as good.

This seems to imply that an investment must be made in boys but not girls, often with the idea that there is no point in spending money on girls because in the end, they will simply take care of their home and their children.

As they get older, boys are given a lot of freedom and can do what they like without anyone disapproving. For girls its very different. They don’t have so much freedom. Boys can come home late, while girls can’t go out at night; boys can go out without saying where they are going, while girl must undergo a big cross-examination before they go out. Not every thing is bad for girls, however. It may be considered unfair to boys to have so much freedom, as it may cause them major problems, or expose them to activities that can harm them. Too much freedom can take them into the world of drug addiction, expose them to venereal disease and many other things, if they have not been properly brought up, while we girls can say that we enjoy a degree of protection from this.

Thus, at every time in our lives, we face situations in which a person is accepted or rejected purely because of his or her SEX, without taking into account his or her skills or ability to develop what he or she needs. Each day is a challenge to get through, perhaps less for men because everyone believes in them and their ability to do things and their job is simply not to disappoint these people. While for women it is rather more difficult because everyone thinks they cannot do it and their role is to defy everyone and show that they can. In this life, to be someone you have to fight and it is better if we do it together.

We all know that we are all equal in the eyes of the Supreme Being, the same should be true in the environment in which we live and work.

However, the entities responsible for education and for working with each group in the community, as well as today’s young people and especially we women, must not allow ourselves to be part of the problem but try to be part of the solution.

We must begin by recovering our self-esteem as women and realizing that we are equal and have the same right as men. We must show by effort and work that we can help in the development of our country, not only by providing the nation with children who are good citizens, but also by being a part of the country’s economic, political, cultural growth. Working hard to change the idea that only men can do be part of this. Men must be taught to value women and to respect and care for them. We must rid people’s mind of those deeply rooted gender roles in which women’s role is to serve in her home. We must show that women can develop not only in their role as a wife and mother, but also in the professional field and that they can excel in doing so.

People must be educated no to disapprove when a woman carries out activities which only men can allegedly perform, such as being a painter, carpenter, tailor, agriculturalist, running a business and all the other activities that we are capable of. As well they are not to disapprove of men who help out at the home or in some other activities which until now we have only been done by women. If we start to work on this, it won’t be very long before we have a world in which we shall all have the same opportunities, and development will be greater for everyone.

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well written, well done
Cara McDavid | Aug 22nd, 2006
I agree heartily that without working towards true equality, we cannot reach development goals in an effective manner, you are right, there is still much to be done,

edith asamani | Aug 27th, 2006
i believe ISATA wrote on what is really disturbing and honestly,this issue when raised disturbs me too because globally,women form a larger population than men but when it gets to representing them in the political or government sector,we find more males than females.is this really going to help resolve most of the global problems and help achieve this goal?

No. Sorry.
katie | Jun 23rd, 2007
Hi, Ya, I like the article. Its nice. I agree that women are often discriminated against, but in the same defense, so are men. I believe that men have a better chance being hired in certain occupations than women, but that is NO reason to sit on a pitty pot and feel sorry for your self because your a women in todays society and blame your lack of activity to succeed further than a highschool diploma on MDG's, Goverment and the Male population. I understand being discriminated against, judged because of your sex. But if you want more power privledged to women, more movement by women why are you writting articles about it? That sounds bad, I mean make people aware and all, but listen to your self, you wrote a great winning article about how we are so unprivledged in so many things, and that we should be more strong in society!? Hello?! Ok buddy, if you think that, thats great, so do I, so why dont you do something about it, why dont we ALL do something about it, instead of complaining about it on a website and take action. well written, but im sorry, your standing up for rights for women but you dont do anything about it. -katie.

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