I always thought I knew the answer to this question. Being brought up in a family with girls and boys, growing up and receiving the proper education I considered myself privileged to be in a society that accepted gender equality. I was wrong! Moving to Australia has opened my eyes to the many possibilities of gender equality that I had not even known about. Simply, I had not even considered the amount of things we are restricted of. So what is it, really? Here’s my answer.
Gender equality is about having equal rights within a society in many ways. It is about a husband and wife taking turns to do the cooking, washing the dishes and share the housework. It’s about a father and mother both being present for their new born baby, taking turns with the work. It is about both parents being able to take maternity leave when a child is being born.
Gender equality is about a man and woman both being able to go to work and provide for their family. It is about hiring females as well as males for certain job roles. A girl can be a bus driver or a woodcutter as much as a boy can be a hairdresser or make-up artist.
Gender equality is about being able to serve in the church as an alter server regardless of whether you are a boy or girl. It is also about being accepted as a lay minister into the church community regardless of your gender. Simply, gender equality is about sharing our life with people no matter what their gender is.
Gender equality is about being able to walk into church with your partner, regardless of if you are straight, gay or lesbian. It is about getting the same government benefits whether you are married legally, or in a defacto (same sex) relationship.
In Sri Lanka while a single parent is being judged for his/her actions, in Australia they are receiving additional government benefits for child support. Which countries do you think has a higher abortion rate? The countries that supports a person in need, or the countries that tarnishes their character?
We need to question ourselves. Have we really understood the meaning of gender equality? It is not only about education and jobs, but about life itself! It is about accepting everyone regardless of who they are.