By Christine Angela R. Ilagan
The women today are now reaping the seeds sown by courageous females long ago.
But it was not an easy walk in the park. It took long dreadful decades before women gained their rights and somehow, got to enjoy equality in the way they were treated. While we still long for a full harvest, gender inequality still persists. Countless females still live in poverty, still face discrimination and various form of abuse and violence.
MDGs in focus
Both genders have their own distinct physical, mental and emotional attributes. But these do not mean that one gender should be labelled as stronger over the other. With the aim to draw needed attention and importance to gender equality most especially to women, this goal has been incorporated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
There are eight targets under Millennium Development Goals. These are: 1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; 2. To achieve universal primary education goal; 3. To promote gender equality and empower women; 4. To reduce child mortality; 5. To improve maternal health; 6. To combat HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases; 7. To ensure Environmental Sustainability; and, 8. To develop a global partnership for development.
Practically all the MDGs, if achieved, are beneficial to women in all walks of life and age ranges since all these targets encompass females’ needs. However, MDG 3 and 5 are really focused on women since they specifically mandate to promote gender equality and empower women, as well as improving maternal health.
MDG 3 puts a premium on women education, aiming to eliminate gender disparity in education at all levels including the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Education is what women in the past longed for since a lot of females particularly those living in underdeveloped countries were given less priority to study in schools. By 2030, along with many of the UN’s objectives, all girls and boys will have equal access to quality education, and quality early childhood development. The genders are also equally ensured affordable tertiary education.
As Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, said: “Every girl, no matter where she lives, no matter what her circumstance, has a right to learn. Every leader, no matter who he or she is or the resources available to him or her, has a duty to fulfil and protect this right.”
According to Global Partnership for Education, there are around 53 percent of the 121 million children population in the world who can’t access good education are girls in the primary school, and 48 percent are females in the lower secondary level.
We have heard about i, a 15-year old Pakistani girl, who was shot in the head and neck by a gunman just because she was promoting the rights of Pakistani girls to receive a proper education. Pakistan and Afghanistan are just a few among the many countries where girls are deprived from education.
“Educating girls has proven to be one of the most important ways of breaking poverty cycles and is likely to have significant impacts on access to formal jobs in the longer term,” according to an International Labor Organization report.
Women’s maternal health
As they say, one of the greatest achievement women can have is motherhood. However, women’s lives can be put at risk as they give birth. So, maternal health is on the priority as MDG 5.
Different Gender and Development departments all around the Philippines, together with the Department of Health are working hand in hand to provide financial aid to women’s maternal needs.
As education and labor force are important, maternal health should also be given a boost. Hopefully, teen pregnancies, and unplanned or unwanted pregnancies would be significantly reduced. Hopefully, too, there will be more physicians, nurses and healthcare providers who can attend to women to ensure a safe pregnancy and uneventful delivery.