BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Archive for March, 2018

Gender parity can be defined as a numerical concept used to express gender equality. It is related to gender equality in that it’s used to express relative equality in terms of numbers and proportions of women and men or girls and boys. It is often calculated as the ratio of female-to-male values for a given indicator or factor. It can also be referred to as sex or gender ratio when males-to-females ratios are calculated. When compared to gender equality, gender parity describes the contribution and numerical representation of women and men in every dimension of life, including private and public sectors.
One of the major aims of gender parity is to increase the participation of women and lay a foundation for economic prosperity. Increasing the economic participation and advancement of women is essential to ensuring this strong foundation. This is because women account for about half the global labor supply and about 70% of global consumption demand. Ensuring and maintaining gender parity in educational and employment opportunities fosters faster and more inclusive growth because women are more likely to invest in the human capital of their families. Despite being near parity with men in health and education throughout much of the world, women still lag behind in economic participation and opportunity by about 20% in many societies.
Gender parity index (GPI) is a purely numeric value which gives information on the ratio of female to male values of a given indicator. Like every other ratio, the GPI value is obtained by a simple mathematical calculation of dividing the female value of an indicator by the male value of the same indicator using the given values of the indicator. The aim of GPI is to measure the progress towards gender parity in education participation and/or learning opportunities available for females in relation to those available to males. The significance and importance of GPI lies in the interpretation of the value obtained after the calculation. In general, when GPI value equals 1, it signifies parity or evenness between females and males; when GPI value is less than 1, it indicates disparity which favors the male gender while a GPI value greater than 1 indicates a disparity which favors the female gender. However, in some cases where the direction of the GPI interpretation ideally approach 0% (such as dropout and illiteracy rates), a GPI of less than 1 indicates a disparity which favors females while a value greater than 1 indicates a disparity which favors the males. One limitation of GPI is that it does not show whether improvement or lack of it is due to the performance of any of the gender groups. Furthermore, the interpretation of GPI requires trend analysis of the underlying indicators to make complete sense of it.
The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, made the quoted statement below to illustrate the significance of Gender Parity…
“Gender parity at the United Nations is an urgent need and a personal priority. It’s a moral duty and an operational necessity. The meaningful inclusion of women in decision-making increases effectiveness and productivity, brings new perspectives and solutions to the table, unlocks greater resources, and strengthens efforts across all the three pillars of our work.”

Violence can be defined as a form of abuse which involves the intentional use of force or abuse of power, either through verbal threats or actual physical contact, against oneself, another person or a group. Violence and other forms of abuse are most commonly viewed as patterns or forms of behavior intended to establish and maintain control over a person or group of people, reflecting some level of power imbalance between the victim and the abuser. Most forms of violence are rooted in the many types of inequality which continue to exist and grow in societies. Acts of violence may take any of the following forms including Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Psychological, Spiritual, Cultural, Verbal and Financial abuse- resulting in injuries, poor mental health, disability or death. In their various forms, violence and abuse severely affect individual health and impact their well-being. Common victims of violence include oneself, spouse, family or household members, friend, opposition or foe, intimate or estranged partners, colleagues, individuals or groups. This illustrates that most violent offenders are familiar to their victims, however, acts of violence and abuse can also be committed by complete strangers. Violence may occur only once or frequently, escalating over a period of time.

Gender-based violence is any form of violence or abuse rooted in gender differences, disparities or inequalities including gender identity, expression or norms, unequal power relationships and perceived gender. It is sometimes referred to as “violence against women”, since most cases of gender-based violence are inflicted on women by men. Gender-based violence is a global problem, affecting one in every three women according to a 2013 data from World Health Organization (WHO). Gender-based violence is one of the most common human rights violations worldwide- surpassing social, economic and national boundaries. It refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will including threats of violence and coercion. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature. The consequences of gender-based violence are severe for its victims, yet it remains masked in a culture of silence and negligence. These victims suffer sexual and reproductive health problems, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, and even death.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and WHO work to consistently promote gender equality and women empowerment as well as to address the physical and emotional consequences of gender-based violence. Non-governmental organizations such as UNFPA and WHO mentioned above, offer programs that provide therapeutic assistance, psychological support, medical treatment and rape kits to survivors. These organizations also aim to promote the right of women and girls by empowering them to live free of different forms of violence and abuse.

Social Integration is defined as the process by which social minority groups including racial minorities, refugees and underprivileged persons move into the mainstream of societies. Social integration requires that these individuals become proficient in a national common language of the society, accept and abide by all the laws of the land as well as adopt and practice the set of values associated with that society. It ensures that individuals and groups unite in communications and actions, resulting in a common understanding of one another and the society at large. Social integration does not mean that people have to change who they are and become what they’re not. However, it means that they learn to accommodate, tolerate, accept and respect other groups in the society while identifying with the majority ethnicity as the common way of living. Social integration is a naturally occurring phenomenon which increases peace, unity and cohesiveness in a society, giving everyone a sense of belonging. The only detriment of social integration is that children and adolescents born in different racial societies may lose their original racial identity.

Economic integration, on the other hand, is an organized economic arrangement between regions and countries that often include the reduction or elimination of trade barriers as well as the coordination of financial and fiscal policies. The major purposes of economic integration are to reduce costs for both consumers and producers and to increase trade between regions and countries involved in the agreement. Generally, there are fewer barriers to trade and increased political and economic coordination between these regions. Benefits of economic integration include reduction in the cost of trade, increased employment opportunities and stronger political cooperation. Reduction in the cost of trade increases the availability and selection of goods and services which leads to greater purchasing power. Additionally, employment opportunities improve because liberalization of trade increases market expansion, technology sharing and cross-border investment flows. Finally, economic integration increases political cooperation among countries because it leads to stronger economic ties, which can potentially help in conflict resolution and greater stability. Irrespective of the above mentioned benefits, however, economic integration can occasionally lead to trade diversion, resulting in the deterioration of national sovereignty.

As seen in the preceding paragraphs, social and economic integration play unique and significant roles in increasing and maintaining unity within and amongst countries. These factors favor and improve globalization, the increased interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples and countries- a major backbone of global civilization.

Right is an important issue as everyone has some basic human rights including adolescents. These rights often come with a corresponding responsibility to uphold the rights of others such that one person’s right doesn’t interfere with another’s. Knowing and understanding our rights as human beings is essential to preventing bulling and many forms of abuse. For adolescents specifically, reporting to an adult or appropriate authorities is a brilliant way to handle different forms of abuse.

Thefollowing are some basic adolescent rights, and the responsibilities that correspond to them:
• Right: To be cared for and protected by a family.
Responsibility: To care for and respect your family.
• Right: Freedom of speech.
Responsibility: Accord respect to what others say, even if not in agreement.
• Right: To food, shelter, and a healthy environment to live in.
Responsibility: To value and take care of these resources.
• Right: To health care.
Responsibility: To take care of one’s health, and protect oneself from disease.
• Right: To be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.
Responsibility: To report any act of abuse to oneself or others
• Right: To education.
Responsibility: To make the most of the schooling.
• Right: To equality – this means that people shouldn’t treat adolescents differently based on things like sex or gender, disability, sexuality, race or culture.
Responsibility: To do the same for others, too.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) outlines the rights of adolescents and upholds them as the innate benefit of both girls and boys. UNICEF is guided by the CRC and mandated to invest in adolescents as rights-bearers and a marginalized population. The United Nations Joint Statement on adolescents emphasizes the understanding that healthy, educated and skilled adolescents will help build a better future. As the future of the society, adolescents represent a vital part of the population and their empowerment and protection has broad and significant impacts on their behaviours and the society at large. Adolescent girls have a right to education because girls who stay in school, marry later and delay childbearing- having healthier children and being able to earn better incomes that benefit themselves, their family, community and nations.