Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.
~ Kofi Annan
Strengthening Communities by putting an End to Gender Discrimination
What is gender discrimination?
Gender – noun: The state of being male or female.
Discrimination – noun: the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people (http://www.merriam-webster.com).
In its simplest terms, the gender discrimination definition is: the practice of treating a group of people differently based upon their gender. In most cases of discrimination, it includes the presence of unfair behavior toward one gender believed to be inferior by another. For the purposes of this article – gender based discrimination by men against women.
Women have been discriminated against for centuries. Why?
There is not one easy answer for that question, of course. Gender discrimination cases are as old, expansive and varied in nature as there are types of women in the world. Examples of gender discrimination can be categorized though. Such organization is helpful for pinpointing sources of unfair treatment, and thus, beginning the process of healing and implementing more equal practices.
Gender discrimination examples include, but are not limited to: workplace discrimination, sexual discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and wage discrimination.
In some parts of the world, discrimination is strict and almost arbitrary. For example, such extreme documented cases include: women being forbidden from driving, from traveling, and from getting an education. In some cases women’s clothing choices are mandated by local law – with severe punishments inflicted for noncompliance.
Especially prevalent in underdeveloped communities, the effects of gender discrimination are extreme to the point of violence. Women are punished for perceived misbehaviors with harsh, often painful, consequences.
Fortunately, much change has been made over many years. With the help of Project Concern International (PCI) and other compassionate organizations, women are excelling and succeeding. Just as important is the improvement in quality of their day to day lives. Women around the world and are receiving fair and equal treatment in many exciting new ways.
Women Powered (WE) Initiative
PCI has harnessed the power toward proactive change with its Women Empowered (WE) Initiative. PCI’s Women Empowered Initiative is a global effort to promote the economic and social empowerment of women through the formation of self-managed and self-sustaining savings groups.
PCI provides training to savings group participants in governance, record keeping, savings and lending, and entrepreneurship. Regular group meetings provide a platform for social support and individual leadership development, enabling women to become powerful agents of economic and societal transformation within their communities.
The Women Empowered Initiative is currently being implemented in 12 countries – Guatemala, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Haiti, the US, Ethiopia, Botswana, Liberia, Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi – with a current membership of over 438,000.
SHE Movement – Strong. Healthy. Empowered. (United States)
SHE is a group of ambassadors who dedicate their efforts, time, energy, skills, and “hands on experience” to benefit and support PCI programs throughout the world. Through the synergy of the SHE program, we work together to find innovative ways to ensure women are able to live lives that are strong, healthy and empowered.
SHE members reach out and support PCI’s programs in the local community, and have the opportunity to participate in vision trips, volunteer internationally, as well as attend locally hosted educational events and social occasions.
Gender Equity Commission
In alignment with the universal values of respect, equity and justice, and our commitment to people and the concept of human rights, PCI formed a Gender Equity Commission nearly 10 years ago. Its mission is to contribute to achieving equality of opportunities for health and human development for the women and men with which we work and serve around the world. We adopt a gender perspective as we proactively identify areas and opportunities for improvement, and implement projects accordingly, thereby allowing individuals to fully achieve their potential, without the interference of gender-based bias, inequity or injustice.
While working towards equity, we embrace differences between women and men and focus on optimizing the potential of all human beings, men and women alike.
We are committed to achieving equity through the activities we implement, the systems we set up, the organizational policies we adhere to, and the organizational culture we foster.
We recognize that to achieve equity, changes are needed, and acknowledge the fact that true change starts from within each person. In our own organization and in the communities we serve, we share our commitment and work towards gender equity in respectful and clear ways, while respecting individuals’ rights to be uniquely different and to make his/her own decisions.