Gender 26 countries/states in GPE Secretariat’s analysis. Other

Gender inequality is considered to be the process where there is a disparity in the way an individual is treated and has access to resources based on their perceived gender. This can be seen as a major issue as both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognised gender equality as a target that the world needs to meet. In my essay, I will be outlining the gender inequalities seen at a household level, but also within education and the provision of healthcare. I will also put forward evidence to show these inequalities have either diminished or amplified in recent years.An education allows an individual to gain insightful knowledge which helps to improve their chances in an economic setting, such as through having employment based on their set of skills. It is also known that education can provide the individual social power, increasing their mobility. However, in many developing countries, there is a struggle for females to receive an education up until the age of 18. A reason for this being that females are more likely to drop out of education. Certain factors contribute to this occurring, such as toilet facilities within schools being unsatisfactory making it difficult for females to manage their menstruation, which is seen as a barrier by 14 out of 26 countries/states in GPE Secretariat’s analysis. Other major barriers noted by 15 low income countries include early marriage, and 14 countries suggesting opportunity costs, such as being forced into caring for their relatives at home, be it due to ill health in the family or by collecting water from a well that is far from their family home, instead of completing education to be an issue.  As mentioned, having an education can improve the prospects of employment, but as it can be seen there are still substantial differences in literacy rates between males and females in the developing world. For example, data collected in 2015 shows that in Mozambique, only 70% of females aged 15-24 are literate compared to 84% of males (UN). These literacy rates are similar to many countries within Southern Asia and Sub – Saharan Africa, which is a cause for concern. With women being less literate than men, they are likely to end up in a low-income job, which only reinforces the ideology that women hold a subordinate position to men in society.Although there are still shortcomings in reducing gender inequalities within education in the developing world, it can be argued that there has been continuous improvement in getting girls into full-time schooling. This is noted through the fact that ‘in Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2012, the enrolment ratios were the same for girls as for boys’ (UN), which allows me to suggest that the inequality gap is being reduced in this area.In many cultures, men are usually considered to be the head of the household, and the one deemed to create the income. This leaves women in a subordinate position in the patriarchal society, and therefore have less access to an income. Microfinance and small business enterprises have allowed women to gain an income, through a small loan given by NGOs, which gives women an opportunity to acquire skills to finance themselves and build a business, through the formation of a cooperative such as Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Schuler et al found that credit programmes also reduced the domestic violence, as women created this comradery through meeting with others often. They became more empowered through having a social network. A social network is often crucial for a woman, as they often marry into a new network, (Schuler et al, 1996, pp 1740). An increase in social power has allowed women to become more equal, as they are more likely to have their voice heard. This can be seen through the example of the Muslim and Christian women protesting for peace in Liberia, as they are eventually listened to by politicians. Gender inequalities can also be seen in many healthcare issues, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic. ‘In Eastern and Southern Africa 60% of those living with HIV are women, and young women aged 15 to 24 are between 2.5 and 4 times more likely to be living with HIV than men in the same age bracket.’ (Olinyk et al, 2014, pp 1). This is caused by power imbalances where women are considered weak, meaning they are more vulnerable to sexual acts of violence, and having to resort to prostitution. The widespread nature of this act can be seen by the fact that ‘30% of adolescent girls (aged 15-19) have experienced physical and/ or sexual violence by an intimate partner’ (Progress in Partnership: 2017 Progress report, pp 13). Grieg et al also argue that women are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS because many are married as child brides to older men, in a culture where polygamy is generally accepted. Combining this act with a general lack of information known to women regarding protection from sexually transmitted diseases, as well as the prevailing ideas of masculinity preventing condom use, suggests why the HIV prevalence is high amongst women.The recent nature of these reports suggest there is much to improve to see gender equality within healthcare, and even when attempts to address the problem of sexual violence through screenings, the WHO found an insignificant difference in improving women’s quality of life, (WHO, 2013, pp 17).Another problem that has arisen which will only hinder progress in gaining gender equality is that many women struggle with accessing safe health care when it comes to childbirth. This had led to a staggering amount of maternal mortalities, as women do not have the political power to demand sterilised medical equipment or have adequate resources such as a skilled nurse at the delivery of the child. An issue with many maternal cases is that the woman giving birth is barely past the start of puberty. ‘In developing regions, 40% of women give birth before reaching age 20 and adolescent girls have a 20–200% higher risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes than adult women – the younger the girl the higher the risk’ (United Nations, 1995). This causes the fertility rate to be high, as women are continuously having children from a young age, due to a high infant mortality rate also. In conclusion, I feel that though there is some improvement in gaining gender equality, many developing countries are far from providing equal opportunities and resources for both men and women. Yet, as more girls are enrolled in secondary education, this will allow a greater chance of having women gain a higher social and economic status, so the power imbalance is minimized. Education will lead to an increased set of skills, knowledge, and resources. Therefore, it is crucial for developing countries to keep focusing on providing education to girls. 


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