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Millennium Post

Unfair sex

Unfair sex
Is gender equality more of a farce? Given the hard realities that exist in so many countries, it would seem so. Much indeed, is spoken about gender gap—the vast discrimination between the two sexes—and for all the right reasons. Historical landmarks are often cited to show that the woman, generally known as the weaker albeit fairer sex, has come a long way. It has, for instance, been 100 years since women got the vote in the UK, but gender equality remains a pipe dream. One hundred years on—their mission to achieve equality through representation in the Parliament is not yet complete. The number of female MPs reached a record high of 208 following the 2017 general election. But, they remain vastly outnumbered by the 442 male MPs sitting in the House of Commons. For, while suffragists wanted to see women in the Parliament, if those politicians did not support women's causes and issues, their gender would likely be viewed as irrelevant. Enlightened Iceland, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), was found to have a smaller gender gap than any other country—though, crucially, a gap still exists there—followed by Norway and Finland. That these Scandinavian nations lead the way may not come as a big surprise, but the rest of the top 10 is likely to raise a few eyebrows, given that it features Rwanda and Nicaragua, but not the United Kingdom, which came 15th. At the other end of the table, the shameful end, was war-torn Yemen. Yemen was followed by Pakistan and Syria as the least equal nations; Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving, even if they are allowed some to sit and watch proceedings at a stadium, was also among the top 10 worst performers. The WEF marks countries against a range of criteria—including wage equality, number of women in the Parliament and life expectancy for both sexes – with 0.0 being the lowest score and 1.0 being the highest. Now in its 11th year, the Global Gender Gap Report has given WEF an opportunity to identify long-term trends in gender equality, and the news is not great. While the global gender gap may have narrowed since 2006, it has done so at a glacial pace and, should that continue, it would take another 100 years for the world's women to be on an even footing with the men. Furthermore, there has actually been a widening of the gender gap since last year's study. What needs to be brought out, in no uncertain terms, is the harsh reality that the woman and the girl child have to endure in so many countries where male dominance echoes medieval times. The physical and mental strain women have to bear assume barbaric proportions even in the space age.
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