Gender Inequality within Education Within the United Nations SDG 4
by Tiago Silva.
The United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are a set of targets to develop a global society by 2030. Within the SDGs, Goal number five is directed to gender equality. According to the United Nations (2020), SDG five aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’’ (p.8.). In addition to the main goal, the UN has also developed a set of six targets to reach the goal. Those targets range from increasing economic participation of women around the world to end harmful activities against women and girls or from addressing unpaid work conditions for women to access to sexual and reproductive health along with the development of reproduction rights.
Subrahmanian (2005) when argued that “…gender inequalities arise from the unequal power relations between women and men, and hence assessments of gender equality need to capture the relational dimensions of gender inequality” (p. 397). In other words, gender inequality is a problem that the solution demands deep alteration of social and cultural concepts and structures, acknowledging that every society around the world will, most likely, have a different process to achieve it. Beyond measuring singular advancement in the gender equality struggles it is more important to change the system that proportionates them and to change the power relations that keep diminishing women values in so many societies worldwide.
The latest UN report on gender equality stated that the world has slightly increased equality between genders. (UN, 2020). Concerning economics, the repost shows that women represent half of the world’s working population, but still, occupy only 28 percent of all managerial positions. In regard to politics, they argue that women are better represented on a local level rather than nationally or internationally, highlighting how women hold 36 percent of all positions on local elective bodies in 133 countries. Finally, for cultural and social, the UN report finds that
Subsaharan Africa is the place with the biggest challenges, especially when attached to early marriage and violence against women (United Nations, 2020).
In regard to the effectiveness of the SDG five and the subsequent target, they do not address particular actions for countries or provide an action plan for nations to follow. Instead, it keeps measurements to follow the advancement of gender equality unconcerned with the methods through which such development was achieved. Another fault in the goal is that it doesn’t consider different economic, political, social, and cultural backgrounds which leave gaps in the analysis of gender equality advancement on a global scale.
In a nutshell, traditionalist views of society based on patriarchy are disruptive because they encourage women to be in the outskirts of decision-making and to not invest in career paths that may lead to more powerful positions following stereotypes of the female gender (Mayimele, Ndudzo, & Ndlovu, 2020). Behavioral expectations start to influence the concept of gender in women from a very early age within the household structure that follows mainstream social structure usually based on male dominance and the super valorization of the male figure (Carmona-Valdés, 2015; Rosistolato, 2009; Dotti Sani & Quaranta, 2017). The educational process is key to changing traditionalist views that endure women’s struggles for representatives and equality, highlighting how the process must be started at an early age with and in close alignment with public education policies and the child’s home life (Jimenez, Lerch, & Bromley, 2017; Sarker, Karim, & Suffiun, 2017). Thus, gender inequality is a struggle that inevitably affects all people, especially women, in the world rooted in differential treatments of people based on their gender. It rises and it is intensified from disparities between gender in regard to social, political, economic, or cultural perspectives or norms.