Gender equality is a vitally important issue that affects not only individual rights but also the societal foundations upon which we build our futures. While there have been strides made in recent history, it is disheartening to know that we are still far from reaching our goal of achieving gender equality by 2030. Women and girls are a valuable part of society, representing half of the population and half of its potential. Sadly, gender inequality persists in many areas, such as the workforce, where women earn 23% less than men on average, and in household duties, where women spend triple the amount of time on unpaid work.
Other significant obstacles include sexual violence, discrimination in public office, and the unequal division of unpaid care duties. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated many of these inequalities, with reports of sexual violence rising, women taking on more care work when schools closed, and the workforce being highlighted as an area where women are underrepresented in leadership positions. Sadly, progress is slow in this area, with an estimated 300 years needed to end child marriage, 286 years to address legal protection issues and discriminatory laws, and 47 years to achieve equal representation in national parliaments. To achieve gender equality, we need political leadership, investment, and comprehensive policy reform to dismantle systemic barriers. Gender equality must be a key focus of national policies, budgets, and institutions.