This is a powerful time to be a woman. We are facing an opportunity to create significant changes in favor of gender equality. It’s not about viewing equity as an abstract goal; it’s about planning specific actions that bring us closer to becoming a society in which human rights are respected, regardless of gender. Knowing the advantages of equality and women’s empowerment, it’s absurd for us to continue with the same patterns of discrimination, misogyny, abuse, and sexism.
To advance in the gender agenda, we must focus our efforts on six high-priority areas: health, education, economic empowerment, political participation, gender violence, and access to justice. Tangible solutions that address these fundamental issues from a long-term human rights perspective — not superficial, isolated actions — must be implemented strategically to improve women’s quality of life.
Based on these six essential areas, I stress the need to give political priority to preventing and attending teenage pregnancy; executing an integral sexual education program; strengthening actions favoring a more equal distribution of household labor between men and women; implementing corporate policies that promote equality and support women’s professional development; lengthening maternity and paternity leave; eradicating the gender pay gap completely; and coordinating and encouraging co-responsibility in the public and private sectors. Widespread gender violence transmits a message of tolerance toward crimes against women. The justice system has loopholes regarding the definition of gender violence and its implications. Many cases remain unresolved and the offenders untried. Therefore, justice must be implemented from a gender perspective so that women can resolve civil, penal, and family conflicts with real support from the system.
Without a doubt, political will is required, but also a coordinated effort among all stakeholders to change sexist attitudes that only perpetuate harmful behavior patterns toward women and society. It’s time to demand that international organizations and local governments prioritize gender equity in the public agenda, not only in political speeches. Democracy doesn’t just imply voting; it also implies demanding transparency and accountability.
A just and inclusive society benefits all of us and future generations. Let’s not forget that change begins within each one of us and that the future depends on us. Our present actions will promote or deter a sustainable development in which human rights are respected.