Gender focus: Rights and inequality

posted in: Issues, Group Challenge | 0

The aim of this activity is to develop awareness of the human rights and issues of inequality that effect women.

Instructions

  1. Share the following with young people:

‘Over the past 50 years significant progress has been achieved in securing political rights for women — the right to vote and to be elected. Today, there are only a few countries where women cannot vote or run for public office.

It is widely believed that increasing the number of women in decision-making positions will result in positive changes for women and society. However, even though women can run for office in most countries, their presence in government is still very low.’

  • Choose a few of the following facts and ask them to consider them:

a) Every year, an estimated 15 million girls under 18 are married worldwide, with little or no say in the matter (Girls Not Brides)

b) On average, 30 percent of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner (World Health Organisation)

c) Female genital mutilation (FGM) affects more than 200 million girls and women alive today in 30 countries. It is recognized internationally as a human rights violation (World Health Organisation)

d) Until recently, women in Saudi Arabia weren’t allowed to drive and are still discouraged from working jobs that would put them in contact with men. The unemployment rate for women is 33 percent for women, 7 percent for men

e) Around the world, only 32 percent of all national parliamentarians are female. That’s more than double the number in 1995, but still a marker of slow change.

f) By 2020, there will be 1.4 million open technology jobs in the U.S. and, at the current rate of students graduating with degrees in computer science, men will outnumber women 4:1.

For more statistics about gender inequality in the UK see the Women’s Resource Centre inequality stats report.

Encourage the group to forward and discuss their reactions to these facts. Are they surprised? Do they think it is because women have been chosen, themselves, to be unequally represented in these positions, or have they been pressured by society to avoid such roles? Do they think women are able, in modern society, to have equal access to these positions mentioned above or do men maintain a dominant force?

2. Having split them into smaller groups:

  • Ask the groups to imagine that another United Nations Conference on the ‘Status of Women’ will be held. Government representatives from each country of the UN will discuss ways of improving the lives of women all over the world.
  • Ask them to make a list of 10 rights that they feel all women should have.

Resources

Flipchart paper, markers

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