Many have over time presumed gender equality to be women and men becoming the same. This is absurd as we all know there are distinct characteristics between a male and female. Instead, gender equality is simply that women’s and men’s rights, opportunities and responsibilities will not depend on their gender. It means all genders are free to pursue whatever career, lifestyle choice and abilities they want without discrimination. Over the years, the world faces a persistent gap in access to opportunities, resources and decision-making power between women and men. Women have been the marginalised group of society as they do not fully experience their rights and potentials (economic, social and sustainable development.) According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2020, Nigeria ranks 128th in achieving Gender equality.
The United Nations concerned with achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls established and introduced “Gender Equality” as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Also, the introduction of International Women’s Day (March 8) which is a global day aimed at celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year IWD22 is geared towards #Breakingthebias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough. Action is needed to level the playing field, the international women day report reads.
Although gender equality is a fundamental human right, globally, there is still a never-ending gap in equal access to resources, opportunities and decision making abilities. Half of the world’s population is made up of women and girls, yet, their contributions are trivialised. Women have little or no representation in economic and political power, but somehow have high representations in poverty, uneducation and gender based violence. In addition there are several unsaid discriminatory laws and societal norms that hold to a downgrading standard.
However, the break the bias agenda is not just focused on women alone. It is also focused on perception. How the world views women, how men view women, how the relationship between a man and a woman is viewed and especially, how opportunities and leadership positions are viewed when handled by a woman. Therefore, ensuring the fundamental human rights of women by granting them opportunities to share their experiences, ideas in a safe space and also have openings to economic and political leadership positions is a step in the right direction. This is critical to achieving the full potential of women, attaining gender equality and breaking the bias. Empowered women and girls are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of societies both nationally and internationally. They are given the chance to promote the health and productivity of their families, communities, and countries, thereby causing a ripple effect to the advantage of everyone.
The Sapphires Development Initiative is an officially registered Not-for-Profit Organisation that has sensitised over 9700 young persons on civic responsibilities and Sustainable Development Goals in Southwest Nigeria. Achieving gender equality is not a one-day thing. It would not also happen overnight. It requires consistency, awareness and access to resources and opportunities. This is why TSDI is leading the way by committing herself to the empowerment of the female gender and the eradication of harmful gender norms through the following methods;
Education and Capacity Building Programs: UNICEF reports that Girls who receive an education are less likely to marry young and more likely to lead healthy, productive lives. As a result of this, TSDI commits herself to build young females (who will be Women and leaders of tomorrow) through after-school learning, career talks, modelling best practices, promoting the development of life skills(e.g self-awareness, critical thinking, communication e.t.c) and ensuring involvement with other leadership building programs e.g Baobab for Women’s Right, TechUp Girls Initiative, Female and More programs e.t.c
Sensitization: During the International Day of the Girl Child 2021 which was held on October 11, TSDi reached organized an information literacy outreach on digital skills and reached out to over 800 females in 6 schools, in 3 different states of the Western part of Nigeria. Tasking them with the goal and vision of changing the world (with a pamphlet containing stories of women who have carved a niche for themselves in the digital world) to challenge stereotypes and be reminded constantly that the mission is possible and achievable.
TSDI hopes to create a fundamental evolution where young females are groomed to attain excellence through harnessed potentials. We believe in a world where females are great leaders and a positive change in their sphere of influence. Hence, the introduction of a female-led organisation, a subsidiary of TSDI: The Adlers Initiative. TSDI believes every one of us has a role to play in promoting gender equality.