Equality means that men and women have the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life. Equality means that both men and women make decisions about their own bodies and their sexuality.
Equality means greater freedom for everyone. Everyone should have the potential to be themselves and to feel safe.
Equality is discussed in most countries and many countries are in the process of becoming more equal. However, no country has complete equality yet.
Equality is for both men and women
Most often, it's girls who lose out when there is a lack of equality. Men have more power and money in the world. But boys lose out in other ways.
There are political objectives for equality
In Sweden, parliament has said that equality is important. There are plans for how to make society equal. These plans deal with the following:
- Men and women shall be able to receive an education and earn money in the same way.
- Men and women shall share childcare and household chores equally.
- Male violence against women shall end.
- Schools, colleges, universities and workplaces must try to be equal.
- Men and women shall have the same opportunities for good health and good health care.
It is discriminating to be treated differently because you are a woman or a man. Discrimination is illegal.
A few examples that show that society isn’t equal
- Women do more in the home than men, such as cleaning and taking care of children. This means that they often work less outside of the home and, therefore, earn less money and have a lower pension than men.
- Women often have lower pay than men even if they perform the same work tasks.
- It is much more common for men to have a job where they get to decide a lot, such as prime minister, corporate leader or professor.
- Women are often judged more harshly than men based on their looks and how they dress.
- Nearly all sexual assaults are committed by men, against both women and men.
- Men are responsible for the largest proportion of violence and crime in society against both women and other men. More men than women are victims of violence and assault.
- Men have accidents more frequently and often have more problems with alcohol or narcotics. More men than women commit suicide.
These examples are supported by statistics. They apply to women as a group and men as a group. Of course, these are not true for everyone. And, naturally, there are differences among men, and there are differences among women.
Why aren't things equal?
There are several explanations, which are interrelated. One of them is the way things have been throughout history, that men have had more power for a long time. This has affected laws, traditions and other things that take a long time to change. And people who are used to having a lot of power can be resistant to change because they want to keep the advantages they have.
Another explanation is that different things are seen as "masculine" or "feminine". For example, what you should like, what emotions you should show or what kind of job you should have. These become like invisible rules for how girls and boys should be. Sometimes it may feel OK for it to be this way. But sometimes it can be very troubling or wrong.
What is considered "masculine" and "feminine" can vary in different parts of the world. And it can change over time.
What do you think?
- Do men and women need to help out equally in the home?
- Can they make the same decisions and be out equally as late?
- Can they show feelings in the same way?
- Are men and women under the same pressure regarding their appearance and how they dress?
Think about what this is like in your life. And consider how you think about men and women. Then it can be easier to do something yourself to make society more equal. For example, speak up when something is unjust.