Author Rana Tassawar Ali, December 3 2013

The definition of "gender discrimination" is: an attitude or action/decision taken with a bias towards individuals on the basis of their gender. If we analyze the fact of gender discrimination against women in Pakistan and in the global context, we find five facts.

Fact: 1 The women and girls are a neglected segment of our society, and violence and discrimination against women and girls exist worldwide. The main root cause of gender discrimination is hunger and poverty. The majority of the economically poor women and girls suffer life time marginalization.

Fact:2 This kind of discrimination usually occurs when a woman is not given her due right just because she is a woman, or a man is assumed to do something only because of his traditional role as a man and not his merits or capabilities. For example, if a woman is senior and is capable, she may still not get a promotion, only because the management believes that women cannot take on positions of high responsibility. Stereotyping a man or a woman into their traditional roles or associating them with careers traditionally associated with their gender would also fall under this category.

Fact: 3 It is also fact the vast majority of violence against women is committed not by strangers but also by an intimate such as a close relative, father, brother, husband, uncle or in-law. Statistics indicate that women are 9 times more likely than men to quit their jobs, 5 times more likely to transfer, and 3 times more likely to lose jobs because of gender discrimination and workplace harassment.

Fact: 4 Due to poor rights awareness, many of the world’s most impoverished women are confined to their households. They lack mobility and freedom of association and have no opportunity to learn their rights and take action to improve their lives and those of their family members.

Fact: 5 Women and girls are powerful tools to increase development effectiveness. They contribute directly to poverty alleviation, economic growth, reduced gender-based violence, stronger community institutions, increased health and well-being and better governance.

Question: What is the solution?

Solution: Gender equality means that all people, women and men alike, have equal opportunities to achieve their personal potential and maximize their contributions to the development of their families, economies and societies.