Sustainable Development Goals Scotland
Goal 5 - Gender Equality

What You Should Know: SDG5, by Aina Turillazzi

In February 2017, the Spanish company Memondo Network’s information and entertainment portal, ‘Cribeo’, made a video about the current situation of women around the world; in Sierra Leone, 90% of women suffer genital mutilation while early forced marriage and underage pregnancy are both common. In Saudi Arabia women cannot go out without their husbands, nor speak with a man who is not part of their family. In South America, the rates of domestic violence and women murdered by their partners are a great cause of concern.

In India, a woman is raped every half an hour. In Thailand you can buy a sex slave for just 100 pounds and 90% of human trafficking victims are women and girls. In Russia, inequality is institutional and women see marriage as the only way to make sense of their lives. In addition, domestic violence has been decriminalised. In the United States, 8 out of 10 girls suffer bullying, and 1 out of 5 women have suffered sexual aggression. In Spain, women earn 30% less on average than men for the same work. One woman in four will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. According to the WHO, 3 out of 10 women suffer gender violence, which is the main cause of death for women between 15 and 44 years worldwide.

Empiricist philosopher John Locke created the theory of “tabula rasa”, the idea that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception. Even though, from birth we learn that pink is for girls and blue is for boys; dolls for girls and cars for boys; dance for girls and football for boys. Besides, we define the idea of a breadwinning father and a stay-at-home mother as normal. Society calls girls who speak out ‘bossy’; but would never call a boy ‘bossy’, assuming instead that he is just being a boy.

Feminism is neither men-hating, nor the buzz word of the moment. Historians say that we have had ‘feminism’ since the 18th century. By definition, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities; it is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. Regardless, this word has been misunderstood. As a result, so has the entire concept. You can still hate the word ‘feminism’, but do not change the whole idea and purpose.

While you are reading this, 1.3 women are being raped; 78 per hour; 1,871 per day; 56,916 per month. The next could be your mother, sister, friend. If you just take time to look around, there is so much that can be done. Be the change you want to see in the world. We are part of something bigger than us, it is called ‘humanity’; it is our responsibility to make this word something we are proud of. As Emma Watson said in her speech at the ‘HeforShe Campaign 2014’: “If not you, who? If not now, when?”.

*This is the second post in our blog series, What You Should Know, aims to offer an introduction to the research behind and goals behind each SDG.

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