I was watching a program on television that caught my attention. The program was focusing on gender inequality in Japan and it got me thinking lot on this subject. The program was looking at the working conditions and environments of women.
Did you know that a woman in Japan after delivering of their child would either lose their jobs, get a pay cut, or get demoted? Yes, it happens. This is despite the fact that the women are more educated than their counterparts (men). Japan, the 3rd leading economy in the world has not moved from traditions and cultures that hold it back. It is ranked 105th by the Global Gender Gap Index and Kenya was ranked 78th in 2013 while in 2014 Japan was ranked 104th and Kenya 37th. This means we are not badly off.
We are mostly complaining of the situation in our country that we never stand long enough to smell the roses and appreciate that things could be worse. I do not disagree that we could do better, but how about some appreciation of the steps that Kenya has taken in regards to Gender Equality and the rights of women. Women in our country have a say of their own. In the program I watched on Japan, a woman was being interviewed but a man had to be present to witness it. Freedom of speech? I don’t think so.
The gender gap and how the index is obtained and countries ranked is based on three concepts. They are:
“Gaps vs. levels
The Global Gender Gap Index, rewards countries for smaller gaps in access to these resources, regardless of the overall level of resources. Thus, in the case of education, the Index penalizes or rewards countries based on the size of the gap between male and female enrollment rates, but not for the overall levels of education in the country.
Outcomes vs. inputs
The second basic concept underlying the Global Gender Gap Index is that it evaluates countries based on outcomes rather than inputs or means. For example, the Index includes a variable comparing the gap between men and women in high-skilled jobs such as legislators, senior officials and managers (an outcome variable) but does not include data on the length of maternity leave (a policy variable).
Gender equality vs. women’s empowerment
The third distinguishing feature of the Global Gender Gap Index is that it ranks countries according to their proximity to gender equality rather than to women’s empowerment. Our aim is to focus on whether the gap between women and men in the chosen variables has declined, rather than whether women are “winning” the “battle of the sexes”. Hence, the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men on particular variables in some countries. Thus a country, which has higher enrollment for girls rather than boys in secondary school, will score equal to a country where boys’ and girls’ enrollment is the same.” From Gender Gap Report.
This shows that with the third gender rule and free education, we have, put us ahead of countries like Japan, Russia and China. so let us give credit where it is due and work even harder to have our country like the likes of Iceland.
Women and men nowadays have learned to embrace culture and modernism. Even in the same Japan, there are men that have commendable characters. Despite the culture being that the men leave work after the boss and later go drinking, some men have chosen to leave work at the stipulated time. They then go home to help out with the families. This is commendable and is also reflected in Kenya too. Some men have been seen taking the responsibility of raising their children quite seriously. Helping in raising your own children doesn’t diminish one’s manliness but instead compounds it. Gender equality has a long way to go,but in the move to improve the women, we should not lose sight of our sons/men. The Boy child.