Within the framework of the “gender” priority, UNESCO is preparing a programme to promote gender equality and strengthen the place of girls, women, disabled people and minorities.
Six consultations were organised by Zoom, one per continent, on gender equality and sexist prejudices in the world, and on possible ways forward. The three AIC representatives at UNESCO took part. One thing is clear: with the pandemic, the situation of women has deteriorated in all regions: violence has increased, children are being home-schooled, and employment options have worsened or even disappeared.
Throughout the world, most women are subject to the authority and absolute power of a man (patriarch, macho or guardian). Between housework, raising children, caring for animals and working the land, few women receive a full education. In many cultures, women have no value, which leads to feminicide, forced marriages, polygamy, sexual crimes, and aborted baby girls. Laws are discriminatory, crimes are tolerated; if there are laws to protect women, they are not applied. Preachers often use religion to justify women’s submission and block proposals for laws promoting progress.
Solutions and ways forward:
- Encourage access to education for girls, right up to university, so that leaders emerge; train teachers in gender equality.
- Culture: change the image of women (songs, artists, comic book design, Internet).
- Media: highlight male and female role models; publicise international programmes.
- Men: include them in projects and develop their parenting skills.
- Families: work with them.
- Politics and law: women politicians must change their own mentality and that of their male colleagues.
- Religions: after training them, work with religious leaders and preachers to make their followers think about the harmfulness of stereotypes.