Global Gender Equality Issues


Whatever side of the argument one takes, understanding the concept of gender equality is imperative. According to the definition given by the Cambridge Dictionary, it refers to the act of not only treating women and men equally in the meaning that they are the same but also in the sense that they have equal value. Educational attainment, financial independence, and personal development are three key areas pertaining to gender equality that require special attention on the part of social researchers, governments, non-profit organizations, and the general public.


The topic of gender equality has always been subjected to controversy due to varying opinions on it. On the one hand, there is an opinion that there is no such issue as the inequality of genders in Western society and that the attention should be placed on under-developed and developing countries where the practices of equality do not exist. On the other hand, there is an argument that even in the West, some gender groups are oppressed and discriminated against. In this paper, global gender equality issues will be explored, with a particular focus on the rights of women and representatives of gender minorities.

Despite gender equality being a basic human right, on a global scale, women have fewer opportunities within the economic context compared to men, limited access to basic high education, the increased risks on health and safety, as well as less representation in the government. The definition of gender has gained the meaning of describing socially constructed responsibilities and roles that people deem acceptable for women and men. Thus, the equality of genders implies the equality of opportunities for personal development, financial independence, and education. The empowerment of previously oppressed groups (for example, women) is a critical issue to address when achieving gender equality.

Inequality in Education

According to the findings of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2016), girls are less likely to get the education they need despite some progress made over the last two decades. The organization’s 2030 agenda recognizes that order to reach the equality of men and women requires an approach that will not only ensure that both genders have access to education but also help them in ensuring that it empowers everyone equally.

More than sixteen million girls worldwide will not set foot in the classroom, while adult women account for two-thirds of the total number of the population without basic skills of literacy. Factors that contribute to gender inequality within the educational context include the geographical isolation of some populations, disability, the status of minorities, health complications (including pregnancy), early marriage, violence, and the traditional misconceptions about the role of men and women, as well as other obstacles.

In the exploration of global educational inequality, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2018) concluded that in 30 out of 127 countries, less than 90 females for every 100 males completed their secondary education. In 17 countries, fewer than 90 males for every 100 females completed their secondary education (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 2018). These statistics point to the fact that even though males can also experience the inequality of educational attainment, females experience this issue on a larger scale.

Inequality in Economic Independence

Prior to discussing the issue of economic independence in the context of gender equality, it is important to mention the main misconception that limits the considerations of this issue significantly. Most young women are misinformed about the fact that discrimination awaits them in the future when it comes to receiving equal pay to men. In the United States, this issue cannot exist despite such authorities as the government perpetuating the myth: average full-time working women are said to get paid $78 for every $1 a man earns (Lips, 2016). These statistics support the stereotype that women are less valued than men as workers while it fails to address the most important aspect – women get paid less because, on average, they do less work and have more family responsibilities.

In developing countries, the issue of women not earning enough money exists mainly due to the lack of skills and education they get as teenagers. Because of the poor preparation for their future careers, women cannot seize the same labor market opportunities that are available to men. There is also a trend of women not having access to formal financial institutions and saving mechanisms that they can use for improving their financial position. The gap is especially large among lower-middle-income economies. In addition, such problems as early pregnancies, sexual and physical abuse, as well as family-related responsibilities make it harder for women to be economically independent of men.

On a global scale, women do get paid less than men, but the reason behind this trend is not associated with them doing the same work that their male counterparts do but with factors such as being unpaid family workers, engaging in low-productivity activities, have less workplace mobility, and not being represented by unions (Lips, 2016). Furthermore, women also play the roles of unpaid workers when they care for their households, devoting between one to three hours more than men to work around the house. Caring for children is also one of their largest responsibilities, with them spending between two to ten the amount of time a day to care for other family members.

Lastly, it should be mentioned that more women compared to men are in low-paid, vulnerable job positions, which are rarely protected by governmental laws on labor regulation. In East Asia, South-East Asia, the Pacific, North Africa, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa, women are at higher risks of being in vulnerable employment compared to men. Having fewer opportunities than men on average leads to women not getting the level of economic independence they desire. This is challenging to the global economy since women can make a positive contribution but are limited to fewer choices (van der Gaag, 2014).

Overall, the issue of the economic independence of women remains to be addressed; however, perpetuating the myth that in developed countries, the gender pay gap still exists means taking away from the real inequalities that exist in developing states around the world.

Inequality in Personal Development

For the purpose of the current exploration, the term personal development will refer to the opportunities of individuals to improve, learn, show their traits and talents, and pursue their dreams. In general, women have a more positive perception of self-improvement than men and thus are more likely to change something about themselves when they feel that such a change is needed. However, when it comes to self-confidence and self-worth, they are less likely to pursue the opportunities they are given because of the imposter syndrome. The combination of these two factors creates a challenge to the establishment of equal personal development opportunities for men and women. While men are not exempt from doubting their contributions to work and society, they do it at lower rates than women.

Understanding the factors behind women’s personal development problems is imperative for recognizing how well they can function in society and be prepared to develop as people. Considering individual worth beyond factors such as gender is essential for determining whether women will have the individual desire to strive for something better and more impactful (Berg, 2015). Life and relationships for women are an issue of concern not only because of the problems of inequality but also due to the competition between them in being respected, loved, establishing a successful career while also being in a relationship to build a family.

Therefore, in personal development, the problem lies not only in the perception of women as not being the same as men but also in the competition between women themselves that do not understand the value of the support and empowerment of each other.

Bridging Gender Equality Gaps

After discussing three important components pertinent to the topic of gender equality on a global scale, it is imperative to mention several solutions that can help women become more economically independent, get the education they need, and develop as successful individuals who bring value to their own and others’ lives. Economic empowerment is the first step in the direction of a better future for women because better work conditions and opportunities will benefit them exponentially. In countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, the economic empowerment of women starts with bringing more financial support to businesses for which they work. The majority of these businesses are farms, which means that women plant, grow, and collect crops.

The support of credit unions for women-owned businesses is another possibly effective solution for making them empowered and inspired to do business. Uzbekistan showed notable progress in this area, with the Small and Microfinance Development Project working closely with the Association of Business Women in order to facilitate their involvement in important decisions associated with letting Uzbek women access to credit and get business advice when needed (“Uzbekistan: Helping women one small loan at a time,” 2018). The implementation of similar programs in countries where women are financially insecure is an appropriate solution that will not only empower them but also show that they are valued and seen as equal to men.

Closing the skill gap through appropriate training and education is another step toward reducing the impact of inequalities on women. For adult women who do not want to go to school, providing specialized training related to the industries in which they work is a possible solution. For instance, in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, women are getting training in multiple specializations ranging from automotive repairs to furniture making, and incentives given to them in such programs can significantly aid in choosing interesting and non-stereotypical occupations. Such projects are helpful for giving women better chances at finding employment, becoming entrepreneurs, developing new and valuable skills, and having higher future incomes.

Non-profit organizations have set several goals regarding the improvement of girl’s education and reaching equity for all by 2020. Since the 2000s, significant efforts targeted at boosting girls’ enrolment in educational facilities have been made; however, they are not enough for ensuring that all girls in developing countries are given the same learning opportunities as boys. Since educational inequality exists on a governmental level, international organizations overseeing this problem are responsible for communicating the negative side effects of girls not getting the appropriate education and introducing programs that can be sustained at both regional and national levels.

Concluding Remarks

As a social issue, women still experience disadvantages that make them less valued and recognized than men. The efforts to establish equal opportunities and training for women that do not have enough support are crucial to bridging the gaps in gender equality. Interesting takeaways from the analysis of some countries include courses that educate women on attaining unique skills in the trades that they do not usually pursue, the support from financial establishments, and considerations of women’s health and safety. In conclusion, gender equality is not about elevating the role of oppressed groups but about giving people opportunities that they can use to become successful and fulfilled in life.

Annotated Bibliography

Berg, J. L. (2015). The role of personal purpose and personal goals in symbiotic visions. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 443.

The study evaluates the role of individual development in terms of reaching life goals. The researcher concludes that personal goals can motivate people regardless of their gender.

Lips, K. A. (2016). Don’t buy into the gender pay gap. Forbes. Web.

The author explored the gender pay gap issue to discuss the disadvantages behind women in the myth. It is stated that even the smartest women that have multiple opportunities presented to them limit themselves by thinking that they will be paid less compared to men for the same work.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2016). 263 million children and youth are out of school. Web.

The research underlines the problem of children and youth not being educated. An important finding refers to the fact that girls are more likely to be left out of school than boys.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. (2018). World inequality database on education. Web.

The source highlights the effect of environmental factors on establishing equality in education. The findings show that girls are at a significant disadvantage in terms of educational attainment.

Uzbekistan: Helping women one small loan at a time. (2018). Web.

The article presents some interesting information on how women in Uzbekistan are supported through governmental programs. This experience shows that similar programs in other countries can improve women’s financial independence.

van der Gaag, N. (2014). Women are better off today but still far from being equal with men. The Guardian. Web.

The author explores the equality of genders in developing countries. It is revealed that the gender pay gap is decreasing; however, there are still fewer opportunities for women.


Berg, J. L. (2015). The role of personal purpose and personal goals in symbiotic visions. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 443.

Lips, K. A. (2016). Don’t buy into the gender pay gap. Forbes. Web.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2016). 263 million children and youth are out of school. Web.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. (2018). World inequality database on education. Web.

Uzbekistan: Helping women one small loan at a time. (2018). Web.

van der Gaag, N. (2014). Women are better off today, but still far from being equal with men. The Guardian. Web.

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