“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself it is a precondition for meeting the challenges of reducing poverty promoting sustainable development and building good governance” Kofi Annan.
Sustainable development is a development which meets the need of present generation without putting into danger needs of future generation.
When a child is born her/his mother is first teacher. Mother teaches first lesson to her child after birth that is why it is said that if you educate a man you will educate a person but if you educate a woman you will educate whole society. For sustainable development it is very important to educate women. Unfortunately there is wide Gulf between male literacy and female literacy in world. In India compared to male only 35.2% of female have at least HSC qualification. Women are stereotyped as a machine to give birth to children, to do household work etc. neurological studies suggest that women have capacity to think multidimensional. Educated women is prerequisite for faster and inclusive development.
“Countries with higher level of gender equality have a higher economic growth, companies with more women on their votes a higher returns, peace agreement that includes women are more successful, parliaments with more women takes up a wide range of issues - including health, education, anti-discrimination and child support” Ban Ki moon.
In W-20 Summit IMF chief said that gender equality will leads to reduction in income equality and will result in rise in absolute income. Income equality is a major hindrance to achieve sustainable development. Income equality not only exist among society but also in society between male and female. As female have capacity to think multidimensional, they also have capacity to take quick decision. Ability to take quick decision is important in today's world for faster economic development to reduce extreme poverty which is goal 2 of sustainable development goal of United Nations. There should be a gender diversity index for private companies in India which shows how much gender inclusive is private company. There is diversity index for private companies in USA, companies which have certain level of direct diversities are only allowed for government contracts.
God has given power to women to give birth to next generation. For healthy child it is prerequisite to have healthy women. For Nation to develop, it is important that their citizens should be healthy in physical as well as mental terms. Study found that malnourished women tends to give birth to stunted child. Stunted children have poor brain development which leads to decrease in their productivity. Survey has found out that 50% of above 18 years women are suffering from anemia. This not only puts in danger their own productivity but also of their coming once. Goal 3 of sustainable development goals which talks about good health in general, particularly talks about health of females. It is responsibility not only of government but of society also to look after women's health.
Women have compassion, they better understand problem of society like poverty, hunger, discrimination, crime etc. It is important that women should included in decision making process. Rwanda a small country in Africa which has seen horrible genocide and civil war have done fantastic work in socio economic parameters. In Rwanda Parliament there is 64% participation of women compared to it in India we have 12.2 % participation. For sustainable development it is important that there should be equal participation of women in all three organs of government that is judiciary, legislature and executive. To achieve this it is important that political party should try to establish gender parity in them, as political parties are important institute in democracy. Many states have given reservation to women in state public service which is a positive step. Study has found out that as there is one third Reservation of women at village level the issues pertaining to women have taken precedence.
All over the world there is lot of crime against women. Women are harassed at work place, they are sexually assaulted, they are trafficked etc. Many girls stop going to school because of incidence of eve teasing on a way to school. At workplace women are subjected to sexual harassment and often ask for sexual favors by their Boss for promotion, this leads to reduction in participation of women. It is the responsibility of not only of government but each and every individual that women should feel safe, there modesty should be preserved and criminal element should be punished. Article 51 of Indian constitution says that it is fundamental duties of each and every citizen to protect women. Gender justice is much part of sustainable development.
In National legal service authority vs. Union of India 2014, Supreme Court gave verdict in which it gives status to transgender as third gender. supreme court also says that fundamental rights is equally applicable to transgender, further supreme court also added that as transgender are socially and economically backward they should also be given reservation. This step is welcome step in gender equality as it puts one group of society into mainstream. It will spread awareness in society about transgender and will remove stigma associated with them.
In our culture women has been given highest status. In Vedic period status of women used to participate in decision making process. It is our responsibility to restore status of women. Goal 5 of sustainable development goal of United Nation particularly talks about gender equality. Without gender equality it is impossible to attain sustainable development. It is responsibility of society that women should get proper education, they should get proper Healthcare facilities, they should get employment, they should get environment free from crime, and they should be involved in decision making process and should get equal status compared to man.
Gender equality is part of human rights.