Gender Issues Essay

For at least twenty years, laws at both national and international level banning gender discrimination have been passed. Women have campaigned for decades for equal rights with men. 

As a result, things have improved. In some countries, girls are doing better than boys at school, and see themselves as equal to their brothers. Many young women today believe that they are capable of doing anything a boy can do even better. However, as they grow up, they find that society does not treat them equally. Even in North America and Europe, women are still not equal to men. They are paid less, and hold fewer positions of power. 

In most parts of the world, women are seen as second-class citizens. A report published in 2007 shows how the birth of a boy is usually something that is more celebrated, while the birth of a girl is a cause of regret. With modern technology, it is possible to find out the sex of an unborn child. In some parts of the world, if the fetus is female, it is often aborted. In addition, girl babies are sometimes killed or abandoned. In places like China and India, boys greatly outnumber girls. 
Are girls treated the same as boys, once they are born? No. In some countries girl babies are fed less and are less likely to go to school. As a result, 62% of illiterates between the ages of 15 and 24 are women. 

As they grow up, women have less control over their lives. some are married off at the age of ten. More than 14 million girls under that the age of 17 are mothers. Giving birth so young which places them at serious risk of death or becoming unhealthy. Young women and girls under the age of 15 are also the victims of violence. The girls are often unprotected by the law and are stigmatised by their families. 
One of the most important measures against such discrimination was the 1989 UN convention on the Rights of the Child, which protected both boys and girls under the age of 18. More recently in 2000, the UN Millennium Declaration, which was signed by 189 countries, including Nigeria, committed those who signed to gender equality and empowerment of women, to universal primary education for both boys and girls and to improvements in maternal health. 
So, are things now improving? The answer is "Yes", but not enough. However, there is still hope. There is now a greater awareness that by educating women, and keeping them healthy, there is a greater chance of improving the lives of future generations.

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