Gender equality calls for women and men to have equal rights and rights to social, social,
economic and cultural development, and equal voice in social and political life. This does not mean that women and men will be the same, however, women and men rights, obligations and opportunities do not depend on whether they are born male or female. Simply put, using the concept of gender, women analyze the relationship between forces that affect men and women, how those forces are used, and how those interactions have been practiced, historically, and socially over time or gender. Within International Relations, theories of women's rights have taken on the experience of the underprivileged and oppressed, including women, in order to challenge and review the epistemological and ontological foundations in the field. Investigate gender bias found in sensible ways of knowing and focusing on the core values and concerns of International Relations, such as regions, sovereignty, power, security, international conflict, and international governance. This paper, therefore, seeks to explore how IR is gendered and the possibility of balancing the role of women in the international system and empowering them in those leadership positions.
The term ‘Gender Equality’ narrates the equal valuing of the different roles assumed by men and women. The theme strives to overcome stereotype barriers and prejudices so both men and women are capable of equally reaping benefits and contributing towards social, political, cultural and economic developments within society. When men and women enjoy equality, the direct outcome is instant and stable growth in the economy. The educated and healthy women in a society are more supportive and accommodating towards their families and nations.
Although men and women are dissimilar physically, but it is the economic, political, social and legal interpretation of such differences that ultimately lead to create inequality among them. In social inequality, men and women typically have different responsibilities and roles in their daily lives as well as work. It is anticipated that men seem to do much riskier and heavier work that is generally located away from their home. Work done by men seems to have much higher status as compared with women who have the major responsibility for child-care, elderly-care, preparing and managing food for their families.
Gender equality signifies a society in which men and women enjoy similar opportunities,
outcomes, obligations and rights in every sphere of life. Equality between women and men exist only when both sexes are capable of sharing mutually in the distribution of influence and power; have equal opportunities for monetary freedom through the formation of businesses or work; enjoy equal and easy access to education and the prospects to develop own personal goals.
Inequality for Women
“Women and men are not created equally. Each has their God given strengths, focused on their responsibilities for procreation and family viability. Those differences are not easily dismissed… however, those differences do not condone gender discrimination in society, and certainly not in the workplace.”
Women mostly have unequal access to health services and education, face a glass ceiling in the workplace. Social customs that force or encourage girls into early childbearing and teenage marriages have dangerous and direct consequences for their health. There are much high levels of brutality and violence against women almost in all nations around the world. This could be among their families where it is treated as a normal custom. Violence, in the span of armed conflict, is used to humiliate the rivals and also to undermine resistance and morale.
Economic inequality is directly related to the monetary and financial conditions of women. More than seventy percent of the poor in the world are women, while the number of females living in poverty has significantly and disproportionately increased as compared with men. Women also have unequal access to major economic resources like credit, capital, land and labor. Restricted opportunities for career advancement and employment are available for women. These limitations restrict the capabilities of women to improve their monetary and economic scenario.
Women are not represented appropriately at all levels of governments’ decision making in
community, but specifically at national and regional levels. The legal system in most of the
countries discriminates particularly against women in the fields of inheritance, family law, land ownership, property, criminal law and citizenship. The prosecution of cases, in most of the countries, involving violence against women is difficult and complex.
Gender Equality- An Established Human Right
“Women make up roughly half the human population but are relatively marginalized compared with their male counterparts.”
The gender equality has been accepted and acknowledged as human rights’ principles since the adoption of charter of United Nations in 1945. Most of the international agreements such as ‘the Millennium Development Goals (2000)’ and ‘the World Conference on Human Rights (1993) have highlighted and stressed the grave need for nations to take appropriate actions against such discriminatory practices.
Gender equality is the foremost and primary human right. Women are equally entitled to live in freedom as well as dignity form fear and from want. Empowering women is an effective tool for reducing poverty and advancing development. Empowered women are in a better position for contributing towards productivity and health of entire families as well as communities. They can also support in improving prospects specifically for the future generation.
Despite many agreements at international level affirming the human rights of women and
ensuring the cause of gender equality, women are yet to be more likely, as compared with men, to be malnourished, poor and illiterate. They generally have a low level of access then men to property ownership, medical care, employment, credit and training. Their possibilities for being politically active are less than men. Moreover they are far more exposed to the domestic violence.
Empowering Women for Maintaining Gender Equality
The ability of women for controlling their fertility is entirely fundamental to the empowerment and equality of women. When a woman is healthy she is more productive. When women’s productive rights- including the basic right to plan birth timing along with spacing and to make critical decisions related to the coercion and reproduction- are protected and promoted, she has autonomy to participate equally in the society. A vital aspect of supporting the idea of gender equality is based on empowering women, with a prime focus on redressing and identifying
power imbalances as well as giving more autonomy to organize their lives. Women
empowerment is in fact critical not only to sustainable development but to the understanding of human rights for every one.
Society and Gender Equality
A prosperous and flourishing society means that women and men have equal opportunities for realizing their human rights. Men and women contribute mutually towards fulfilling the
requirements of societal and cultural development. The societal and cultural development is
directly linked with the political, national and economic development. The men and women must benefit equally in a society from the outcomes of that development.
However, inequality severely restricts socio-economic development, specifically in the
developing countries, where most of the women are the major food producers, primary teachers, gathers fuel and water, laborers and providers of health care in the informal economy.
Sustainable development in a society is reliant on the equal contributions made by men and
women. As such ensuring equal participation by women in the progress of their societies requires two major elements; equal ability to contribute as well as equal opportunity to perform such activities. The status of women in the major areas of society including education, health, decision making and access to resources must be improved. Premeditated efforts should be made to ensure that particularly women have a justifiable and equitable role in shaping societal growth.
“Reducing gender inequalities implies benefits not only for women but also for men, children and the elderly, and the poor as well as the rich.”
“Despite many improvements in the status of women there are still many inequalities:
Two thirds of people in the world who cannot read are female.
Nearly seventy percent of the world's poorest people are female.
Women represent a growing proportion of people living with HIV/AIDS.
In only 16 countries in the world is women's representation in national parliaments above 25 percent.
Women's contributions to the global economy are growing rapidly but their labor remains undervalued and undercounted in national accounts.
An estimated one-quarter to one half of all women have suffered physical abuse.”
Gender Issues being Addressed by HRM in Organizations
Human Resource Management represents effective and implementable solutions for the issues evolving from the inequality between men and women. The adoption of a practical HRM model in organizations present equal opportunities, specifically for personnel policy as the adoption of an HRM theme which signifies developing and valuing people in pursuit of goals and which stresses the individual’s role and the significance of involvement, provide opportunities for arguments about assessing all people.
The diversity in valuing people enables the promotion of gender equality to be associated with the accomplishment of business goals. The hypothesis that the rise of HRM is valuable for women, and also for gender equality requires immediate attention and action. This attention is critically needed as significant inequalities exist particularly in organizations reflecting on the progress of women into non-conventional areas of work.
Although significant progress has been made to ensure gender equality, still a lot of work is to be done. The HRM practices in an organization provide workable solutions. Particularly in the public sectors of most of the nations, due to its mission and anti discriminatory management along with provision of public services still remains a major issue. The debate is how to create circumstances in which men and women can accomplish their potential.
At the level of organizations, practices and policies relating to gender management are generally in the sphere of human resource management (HRM). It is pertinent to mention that HRM is viewed as strategic in the organizations; it specifically involves entire managerial personnel including general managers; it treats people as the most significant sole asset of the organization; it is purely proactive in its direct relationship with people; and it eagerly seeks to enhance the performance of companies, the societal well being and employees’ needs. A consistent concept of HRM literature is the creation and development of accountability to line managers for the purpose of managing human resource.
“Responsibility for the effective implementation of the Gender equality policy rests with the
Head of each Department of office, supported by the senior management team.” Senior line
management, in particular, is described as possessing “the locus of responsibility” for human resource matters. The line managers’ role is no longer limited to organizing and monitoring the delivery of services, but is developing in relation with HRM. It involves accomplishing the HRM policy objectives of commitment, flexibility, quality and eventually the effectiveness of subordinates. In the modern age, HRM managers are subject to, and more involved in novel practices in direct communications, selection, appraisal, target setting, training and development and motivation.
In pursuit of such organizations that provide equality and fairness, which specifically ensures
that both men and women fulfill their utmost potential, there are many issues surfacing from
development of accountability to HRM managers, the first concerns HRM manager competence while managing people effectively. Insufficient training along with considerable strains of work has been mainly highlighted as characteristics restricting the level to which devolvement of human resource management is possible. The deficiency of managerial competence and capabilities rather than sexism or racism, could be the major cause of manager’s incapability to manage, diverse and fair group of people.
Another issue is whether or not to evaluate HRM manages on their effectiveness in assuring
performance goals for accomplishing results. Moreover, equal opportunities goals for HRM
managers could also be counter-productive and as such they should specifically be encouraged to set goals for themselves, focusing primarily on their managerial capability.
Challenges Faced by Human Resource Managers
To ensure equal and non-discriminatory treatment of both men and women is still a significant challenge confronted by the HRM managers in the organizations. In the area of managing diversity and HRM, there is much emphasis on delegated responsibility with line managers assuming the major role. Delegation and devolvement has some substantial resonance with the present pragmatic deliberations of the organizations where optimal resources are inadequate and central overheads are particularly subject to scrutiny.
However, devolving responsibility for the purpose of gender management raises some significant questions. The first is whether this symbolizes a significant opportunity to embed into cultures of organizations, managerial thinking, behavior and values of equality and fairness while addressing the gender issues which are the major aspiration for most of the organizations.
Second is whether instead the removal of a supporter of equality, and the stress on line managers being primarily responsible for gender equality in the pursuit of their HRM duties, reveals the circumstances for abdication on behalf of individual managers.
Devolvement of gender management to HRM managers could present a significant opportunity for locating direct responsibility within the remit of most adequate people. Managers could confront many challenges while ensuring gender equality. It includes increasing activities of HRM, conflicting priorities, their deficiencies and lack of accountability regarding equality.
It is essential to search for the ways that could effectively address the issue of gender inequality and develop cultures in which gender equality is ensured. Every individual is free to make his/her optimum contribution. Delegation and devolvement of responsibility to HRM managers can play a vital role. However, it has the huge potential to represent the eventual choice from gender equality. Supportive continuous training, effective leadership, education for managers, vigilance for structure, communication strategies, outcomes and processes are inevitable ingredients to address the grave challenges of inequality present between men and women.
Examples of Current Applications
The HRM organizations are considered high-commitment organizations. Behavioral and
attitudinal commitment are applied to support and increase job performance and to check the rate of turnover, justifying entire investments made in highly trained, highly flexible and high quality employees. A wide range of personnel policies is also applied by the HRM managers to confront the challenges of gender inequality. These policies are directly linked with the employee involvement like communication, job design and leadership style.
The chances of achieving equity in both local and international government can be said to be on the general side. The reason is not hidden but very close to what we know, as it has been noted that the evils of discrimination against women are perpetrated at all levels of human development in society. it starts when men in the class feel that their manhood is being trampled underfoot when a woman is chosen as a class representative. This idea has gradually entered the international system in recent years that even ideas and opinions respond only to men's quest for power. While the view of reality does not encourage or recognize individual role in the international system, liberal view offers hope for equality and its emphasis on the role that partners can play without being male or female.
About The Author
Jeshika Singh Gurjar
Research Intern ,
The Stambh Organisation, India