Where do I start? Things are becoming unbearable especially for men who seem to be losing the script while women are gaining and moving forward. There are very many cases of divorces in the world and many young people are opting to be single for life. Marriages are no longer a priority among very many in various societies. A group young people me included decided to go for counseling session that was dealing with issues of gender mainstreaming.
Most of us expected to be enlightened on gender issues such as what society expected of men and women in the day to day occurrence, other expected guidance on how equality between men and women could be attained .The equality view was spearheaded by the fact that a year or two ago women tennis players started earning the same as their male colleagues after making so much noise they argued that both of them knock a green ball backward and forward over a low hanging net and thus had a right to equal pay. Very soon this calamity of equalization is coming into homes
Part of the group expected to be enlightened on how women and men would compete favorably for high positions without creating conflict. In most offices there are a lot of women and their numbers keep growing. How did they overtake the men? Well it all started with the slogan “what a man can do a woman can do better” .Then came that “girl –child is endangered”. All these have created unfavorable competition in the job markets and various leadership positions an example is in Kenya where someone wants to reserve 70 constituencies for women. Is this really fair share to the men?
Another part of the group expected guidance in marriage life. Questions such as how to make marriage work were very common. Many women have careers and are earning well. Money is power which women are accumulating and very soon they will dictate the terms and conditions of marriage.
Some individuals in the group expected to be informed on matters regarding women empowerment. How are women empowered? Is it in capacity building? Allocation of funds for development schemes? Educating the women on their rights among other questions.
Another area that was of concern was how the men are integrated in gender mainstreaming. This question arose because all the issues that are discussed in gender mainstreaming mainly deal with how women participate in development and in decision making but not how men participate in development. Issue such as women in development and women and development are seen to promote women and develop them does it mean that men do not need development ?
What was experienced?
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We learnt that gender mainstreaming is a means of attaining gender equality i.e. the ultimate goal of gender mainstreaming is gender equality. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, opportunities and responsibilities will not take into consideration whether they are born female or male. Gender equality involves the interests,priorities and needs of both men and women are taken into consideration thus recognizing the diversity of variuos groups of men and women. Gender equality is therefore not a women’s issue but should fully engage men as well .
Gender mainstreaming should start at a very tender age and not at advanced ages. Examples of gender mainstreaming at tender ages included infrastructure that is in the city parks should be unisex to encourage the little boys and girls to play and interact freely, elimination of separate playing corners in schools, toys of the same kind to be offered to both the boys and girls.
A good tool for gender mainstreaming is competence development whereby people are given the right knowledge and skills on issues for gender and development. Women and men are incorporated in decision making they participate fully and are seen to be part of the development process. Women and men are in the areas of legislation research policy implementation among others.
In matters of marriage we learnt that the art of communication is very important. Marriage partners should be able to communicate and understand each other. We also leant that it is vital to marry for the right reasons i.e. don’t marry due to peer pressure but because you want to be committed to the relationship and you should put your best feet forward in marriage. Everyone is entitled to be happy in the relationship and marriage. Advice was given regarding matters of respect, faithfulness, loving, effective communication, patience with one’s spouse among others
In many countries there is a strategy of working with boys ,male adolescents and youth on sexuality life skills and general education on gender issues so as to promote the male understanding of women in society and their rights and gender equality.
In other countries e.g. in the Philippines, a project targeting educational campaign on health issues to men who are seen as the road ways to their wives’ access to health services is really helping the men to understand their female counterparts. This project has enabled gender issues to be understood by both men and women effectively. Women cannot get gender equality and reproductive health without having the participation and cooperation from men.
Men’s involvement in gender issues is key to development especially in healthcare sector. This is because mostly it is men who decide the number of partners they have and the frequency of the sexual activites.This hinders women from being in control of their health conditions. Therefore women and men should work together in gender mainstreaming in order to eliminate the aids pandemic.
There were mixed reactions from various individuals in the groups. Although gender mainstreaming included both men and women it is clearly seen that women are benefiting a great deal. The incorporation of women in decision making enables the women to dominate and the women needs are fulfilled as men lag behind. Female children have been taken care of adequately while the male child has been forgotten this clearly shows that the male will be endangered in the coming years.
On matters of equity, although women have been given high leadership positions in various departments, they still perform poorly as compared to male counterparts .This is due to the fact that the women’s workload has increased they are not only in leadership positions but they are also home makers. This double work portion hinders the women from delivering their duties effectively. Therefore instead of having equity as an option there should be fair share
Gender mainstreaming has not increased the number of women in decision making. Very few women hold leadership positions e.g. concerning the European Union, Lombardo (2005) reports that as of 2003 women represented only 20% of the representatives of the head of state or government the member states, 10% of the representatives of national parliaments, 31.25% of the representatives of the European Parliament and so forth.
Gender mainstreaming has done more damage than good on previously accomplished goals such as equal treatment and positive action. There are improper strategies of implementing gender mainstreaming activities i.e. there is very little follow up done on the implemented projects. Due to lack of follow-up most projects at the infancy stages thus they don’t develop at all.