ArticlePDF Available
Chimere Arinze Obodo
Faculty of Law, Imo State University, Owerri,
Gender bias;Gender imbalance
Discrimination is difcult to dene, but there is a
common agreement that it occurs when compara-
ble situations are treated differently and different
situations treated in the same way (Maliszewska-
Nienartowicz 2014). Generally, discrimination
involves treating a person with a particular char-
acteristic less favorable than others because of
feelings of dislike or hostility toward persons
with their characteristics (Bracken 2017; Adami
v Malta 2006; McCrudden 1991). Although this
denition adapts to a general denition of dis-
crimination, it suggests that discrimination is
motivated by prejudice. However, discrimination
from an international law perspective is under-
stood as unfair treatment to persons because of
sex, race, age, nationality, religion, ethnicity, or
political afliation (Rourke and Swaine 2018;
Aiyar 1997; article 14 of European Convention
on Human Rights, 1950). From this perspective,
the concept of discrimination takes into consider-
ation any failure to treat people equally or differ-
ences in treatment between people (Fombad
2004). For example, the Convention on the Elim-
ination of all Forms of Discrimination against
Women 1979 (CEDAW) denes discrimination
against womenas any distinction, exclusion or
restriction made on the basis of sex which has the
effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the
recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women
irrespective of their marital status, on the basis of
equality of men and women, of human rights and
fundamental freedoms in the political, economic,
social, cultural, civil or any other eld(Article 1,
CEDAW, 1979).
The term genderwill be used in this entry to
refer to male and female and also cover transgen-
der individuals even though much emphasis will
not be on this later group. While the terms gen-
derand sexmay be used interchangeably,
sexhas traditionally been used to refer to bio-
logical characteristics of human beings who
are born either male or female (Rivers 2007).
However, gender is described as either of the
two sexes, especially when concerning social
and cultural difference rather than their biological
ones(English Oxford Living Dictionaries 2018).
On the other hand, reference to a transgender
person means a personal process of changing
ones gender identity from their birth sex by
changing physiological or other attributes of sex
(Henery 2018). Thus, gender discrimination is
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
W. Leal Filho et al. (eds.), Reduced Inequalities, Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,
dened as any distinction, exclusion, or restric-
tion made on the basis of socially constructed
gender roles and norms that prevent a person
from enjoying full rights(World Health Organi-
zation 2001). Discrimination studies have
attracted extensive literature and now part of the
many facets of contemporary human rights dis-
course as exhibited in several international treaties
and domestic laws.
The concept of discrimination is complex and
problematic and at the center of it is a problem
of distinguishing people (Fombad 2004). Gender
is a human construct that creates a societal social
and moral implication to justify sexual differenti-
ation. Against this background, human beings
construct and promote stereotypes and segrega-
tion based on their belief and assertion over gen-
der roles which have largely been developed
socially and traditionally (Rivers 2007). Conse-
quently, gender-related discrimination contributes
to the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence,
poverty, hunger, harassment, and unequal treat-
ment against women, girls, men, and sometimes
transgender people. Interestingly, the elimination
of gender-related discrimination is recognized as
Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Devel-
opment Goals.
The forms of gender-related discrimination are
copious and diverse and are of perennial concern.
Many factors contribute to gender discrimination,
and some of these factors highlight the irreconcil-
able dichotomy between the desire to recognize
gender-related discrimination and the interna-
tional community goal of eliminating gender dis-
crimination. For instance, Constance Newman in
her analysis of discrimination in the health work-
force described it as biological characteristics and
functions that distinguish men and womens abil-
ity to enjoy rights and freedoms. She further
argued that gender-related discrimination results
from systematic inefciencies that impede
the development of a much-needed robust
workforce (Newman 2014). Without a doubt,
women and girls experience gender discrimina-
tion encounters; at the same time, however, there
is also a robust and overwhelming legal attention
toward elimination of gender discrimination
against women. Still, it is not in doubt that men
suffer discrimination as well.
Gender discrimination against women is an
old-time global phenomenon not new to human
race. Regardless, gender has been a particularly
important basis for discrimination and a key factor
operating in everyday life of every human being.
In this regard, scholars sometimes describe gender
discrimination through multifaceted concepts
such as gender gaps, gender equality, gender
imbalance, gender bias, gender inequality, and
differentials (Steele 2010; Radacic 2008; Bell
2004; Murray 1982). Therefore, there is no agreed
single conceptual expression of gender-related
discrimination as they all examine differential
treatments and the consequences of such unfair
treatment to human beings. For example, while
Article 14 of the European Convention on Human
Rights (ECHR) and Article 2 of the African Char-
ter on Human and PeoplesRights (African Char-
ter) are couched in terms of discrimination
rather than equality,Aileen McColgan has
observed that a prohibition based on discrimina-
tion’” can be more demanding than a guarantee of
equality (McColgan 2006). In a bid to further the
commitment toward eliminating gender-related
discrimination, the European Court of Justice in
P v S and Cornwall County Council pronounced
that discrimination in employment due to gender
reassignment is unlawful (I.R.L.R. 1996, 347).
For instance, transgender people are protected
against direct and indirect discrimination under
the Equality Act 2010 of the United Kingdom
(Equality Act 2010, Section 7).
The focus of this entry is to take a critical look
at gender as a criterion for establishing discrimi-
nation. This will cover discussions on the forms
and characteristics of gender discrimination,
human rights implication in gender discrimina-
tion, and the discussion on addressing gender-
related discrimination.
2 Gender-Related Discrimination
Classification of Gender Discrimination
The protection against the social concept of gen-
der discrimination has appeared in several
national and international legal instruments. For
example, while the Equal Pay Act 1970 is used to
challenge sex-based disparities, the Sex Discrim-
ination Act 1975 applies only to discrimination
on specic grounds such as sex, gender
reassignment, or married status in the United
Kingdom (McColgan 2006). On the European
continent, evaluation of discrimination is focused
on the application of equal treatment principle in
the context of direct and indirect discrimination
(Article 2 (1) of the Council Directive 76/207/
EEC of 9 February 1976; Council Directive
2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004). A direct
discrimination includes a de jure discriminatory
provision such as a legal provision or policy that
restricts, prefers, or distinguishes between gen-
ders, for instance, where a particular gender is
explicitly prohibited from driving a car or assum-
ing the CEO of companies. However, an indirect
discrimination occurs as a result of detrimental
effects of law and policies that seem gender-neu-
tral or nondiscriminatory. Take, for instance, a
meeting of heads of the families will sometimes
exclude women because men are in most cases
regarded as head of families. This is also attrib-
uted to as de facto discrimination. This classica-
tion has been enshrined in some domestic
legislation and has been accepted in US law and
EU law as well as by the Human Rights Commit-
tee (Moor and Allen 2006).
Direct Discrimination
Direct discrimination is commonly understood as
a less favorable treatment of a person on the
grounds of a prohibited criterion that another is
treated in a comparable situation (Equality Direc-
tives: Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June
2000; Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13
December 2004; Council Directive 2006/54/EC
of 5 July 2006). Such disadvantageous
treatment is usually carried out using specic
characteristics or decisive element such as gender
to distinguish individuals (Maliszewska-
Nienartowicz 2014). For instance, the European
Court of Justice had held that employment refusal
to a person because she is pregnant constitutes
direct discrimination against women on the
ground of sex (Dekker case 1990). In this case,
the Court held that an employer is in direct con-
travention of the principle of equal treatment for
men and women as regards access to employment
if a female candidate suitable for the job is denied
the job on the possible adverse consequence of
employing a pregnant woman. However, in
another case, the decision of the European Court
of Justice to reject illness manifesting itself after a
maternity leave as discrimination indicates that
not all disadvantageous treatment to women fol-
lowing post-pregnancy-induced illness will be
regarded as direct discrimination because,
according to the Court, everyone, male and female
workers, is equally exposed to illness (Hertz case
Direct discrimination put every group of peo-
ple at a disadvantage. However, direct discrimi-
nation based on sex can be justied by a genuine
and determining occupational requirement that is
proportionate and objective (Council Directive
2006/54/EC of 5 July 2006, article 14 (2); Council
Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000, Article 4).
The traditional approach is that the justication
for direct discrimination must be set out in legis-
lation (Tobler 2005).
Indirect Discrimination
Indirect discrimination occurs where an appar-
ently neutral provision, criterion or practice would
put persons protected by the general prohibition of
discrimination at a particular disadvantage com-
pared with other persons unless that provision,
criterion or practice is objectively justied by a
legitimate aim and the mean of achieving that aim
is appropriate and necessary(Maliszewska-
Nienartowicz 2014; Doyle 2007; Lippert-Ras-
mussen 2006). This is less clear than the
concept of direct discrimination. However, much
attention has not been given to indirect discrimi-
nation even when it is obvious that many grievous
forms of direct discrimination have been legally
prohibited by the law (Maliszewska-Nienartowicz
Gender-Related Discrimination 3
Indirect discrimination enjoys widespread
practice in many if not all contracting states of
the European Union following the interpretation
to Article 14 of the ECHR and the subsequent
enactment of Protocol No. 12 (Etinski 2015).
While the concept of indirect discrimination is
not an exclusive invention of the European conti-
nent, this concept has become a source of inspira-
tion for the European Court of Human Rights in
interpreting Article 14 of the ECHR. In the United
States, for instance, the term disparate impact
has been used to reect the idea of indirect dis-
crimination in the case of Griggs v Duke Power
Company (401 U.S. 424, 1971). This concept
cannot be said to be running without uncertainties;
however, it has been used by the European Court
on Human Rights to protect vulnerable groups, to
facilitate inclusion in the society, and to stop
social marginalization of such groups (Collins
2003). Further, the concept of indirect discrimina-
tion has been used to guarantee fairness in the
distribution of social duties between sexes (Zarb
Adami v Malta 2006). The point to note is that the
concept of indirect discrimination has had a con-
siderable impact in the employment context by
promoting unfair discrimination against women
across the globe (Dupper 2000).
Forms of Gender Discrimination
As earlier indicated, gender-related discrimination
is linked to stereotypes, gender roles, and the
belief that one gender is more superior to another.
Gender-related discrimination has existed in most
societies, including contemporary industrialized
and democratic states. Yet, the prevalence of gen-
der-related discrimination is sometimes promoted
by religious, cultural, and traditional values, for
example, the tradition that forbids women from
owning land or inheriting property in some parts
of Nigeria (Ajala 2017; Abara 2012; Dike 1983)
or religion practice that prohibits women from
wearing certain clothing in some countries
(Human Rights Commission 2005). However,
because gender-related discrimination comes as
a result of unequal or differential treatment, a list
of the forms of gender discrimination will be
endless. This is because gender-related discrimi-
nation is so ingrained in the daily activities of
human beings that it sometimes goes unnoticed.
As a common type of discrimination the world
over, gender discrimination is experienced in the
social, political, economic, and many other
spheres of the daily lives of people in the work-
place (Klugman and Twigg 2016; Bobbitt-Zeher
2011; Coakley 2003; Loveday 1997; Haines
1983), healthcare (Bruce et al. 2015), education,
wage (Steele 2010), and others (Farrior 2009;
McInerney 2000; Baker et al. 2000). For example,
in a 2013 survey conducted by the International
Labour Organization, women are more concen-
trated than men in domestic and unpaid workforce
worldwide (International Labour Organization
Gender Discrimination in Employment and
Gender-related discrimination in the workplace as
a multifaceted occurrence is seen in the organiza-
tional practices, processes, and structures such as
hiring, training, wage, unequal compensation, dis-
ciplinary action, and promotion (Stamarski and
Hing 2015). Gender discrimination in employ-
ment occurs when the use of gender remains a
key factor and criterion for employment, post-
employment decisions, and organizational activi-
ties. Discrimination at the workplace sometimes
leads to deprivation of the basic human rights,
harassment by co-workers, less wages compared
to their male counterpart, and inability to be
assigned jobs which they are capable of doing.
For instance, in EEOC v Sage Realty Corpora-
tion, the District Court for the Southern District of
New York found the defendant liable for
requesting that a female lobby attendant, on the
basis of gender, wears a sexually provocative and
revealing uniform which subjected her to lewd
comments, gestures, and propositions from the
public (EEOC v Sage Realty Corporation 1981).
Historically, more women than men are disad-
vantaged on every global indicator of economic
opportunities (Klugman and Twigg 2016).
According to a World Bank report, fewer women
participate in the labor force, and women also earn
less than their male counterparts for the same
4 Gender-Related Discrimination
work (World Bank 2014). While more men work
outside the home than women, more women
are allocated with household duties than men.
Likewise, some societies and social practices
value women more at home, while men are in
the workforce and seen as breadwinners (Loveday
1997). For example, some societies practice a sex-
based division of labor system which thus pro-
motes discrimination against pregnant women
and mothers at work and workplace (Shaffer et
al. 2000).
Another traditional perception of gender dis-
crimination in the workplace concerns equal
remuneration and vocational opportunities which
contributes to womens lower socioeconomic sta-
tus and segregation into low-status or marginal
forms of work (Stamarski and Hing 2015). In
this regard, it is expected that the government
uses adequate stringent legislation and policies
to curb the perpetration of gender-based discrim-
ination at the workplace. For example, while the
United Kingdom has enacted laws such the Equal
Pay Act 1970, the Employment Rights Act 1996,
and the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regu-
lations 1999 to relate with the European Union
legislation to cover maternity rights (Pregnant
Workers Directive 92/85/EEC) and leave rights
for birth and adoptive parents (Parental Leave
Directive 2010/18/EU), the United States has
addressed same in Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act 1964. This US Act mandates equal pay for
equal work unless for justiable reasons such as
merit, seniority, or a factor other than sex (section
206 (d) (1) Equal Pay Act 1963 in 29 United
States Code 1976).
Gender Discrimination in Respect to Sexual
Gender-based violence is another form of discrim-
ination that seriously inhibits the equal enjoyment
of rights and freedoms. This form of discrimina-
tion is majorly directed against women because of
their gender, and it includes acts that inict phys-
ical, mental, or sexual harm, threats of such acts,
coercion, and sometimes deprivations of liberty
(Keyhani 2013). Women experience violence
from men in private and public places, and this
affects women of all ages, culture, class, and
background. Gender-related violence is expressed
in various forms such as rape, sexual assault, child
sexual abuse, gender bias, sexual harassment, and
domestic violence. Accordingly, at least one out
of every three women worldwide has been beaten,
coerced sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime
(Amnesty International 2015).
Gender-based sexual violence impacts mainly,
but by no means not exclusively perpetrated
against women. Men are also victims of gender-
based sexual violence (Porche 2008;
Sivakumaran 2007; Stanko and Hobdell 1993).
It can be deciphered that the idea of gender-
based sexual violence places much emphasis on
female victimization; this emphasis has been
taken further in the international attention
accorded gender-based sexual violence in armed
conict. For example, the 1998 Rome Statute now
recognizes acts of sexual and gender-based vio-
lence as a war crime and crime against humanity
(Article 7 (1) Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court, 1998). This is against the back-
drop that certain kinds of sexual violence are
traditionally perceived as an offence committed
by men against women. For example, the long-
time denition of rape as the carnal knowledge of
a woman against her willsuggests that rape can-
not be committed against men (Hale 1971). Such
denition of rape has been the subject of an ongo-
ing process of evaluation and reform (Rumney
2001) because this denition of rape as a gendered
crime against women has a potential of contribut-
ing to nonrecognition of men as victims (Weiss
2010). Likewise, such idea promotes the social
stereotype that women are physically weak and
sexually vulnerable while attributing to men as
strong, tough, and impenetrable. However, this
is beginning to change following the broader
denition of rape which includes cases of non-
consensual penile-anal intercourse and male-to-
male rape upon penetration of the vagina, anus,
or mouth (Section 1, Sexual Offences Act United
Gender Discrimination in Respect to Property
Right to land and property includes the right to
own, use, control, transfer, inherit, exclude, and
Gender-Related Discrimination 5
make an independent decision about land and
property (Gomez and Tran 2012). It can be
inferred that while gender is not the only cause
of misallocation of land and property, it has the
potential to aggravate many other causes
(Ravnborg et al. 2016). The implication of this is
that gender inequality in securing land and prop-
erty impedes inclusive economic and social devel-
opment (United Nations 2012). For example, the
practice in some societies is that succession to
titles is typically discriminatory in favor of male
child succession. Accordingly, such practice
excludes women from succeeding and inheriting
regardless of the legitimacy or genetic connection
between them and their parents. In addition, this
gender-based bias is sometimes link to bias in
other issues such as the education of the girl
child and the sex-selected abortions to eliminate
female fetuses as commonly practiced in some
Indian states and Nepal.
Gender-based discrimination in property own-
ership is not of recent origin and has attracted
judicial attention. For example, it has been con-
rmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria that the
Igbo Customary Law on succession which
excludes female offspring from inheriting the
property of their fathers is unconstitutional, null,
and repugnant to natural justice, equity, and good
conscience (Lois Ukeje and Enyinnaya Ukeje v
Gladys Ukeje). However, the link between
womens right to land and property and sustain-
able development cannot be overemphasized.
According to the World Bank, independent and
joint ownership of land and property by women
will not only ensure that they have access to and
control over land-based earning, but it will
increase their bargaining power within the house-
hold and increased household welfare (World
Bank 2005). Similarly, such denial reduces both
the voice of women and their viability in eco-
nomic and social activities which such entitlement
would ordinarily afford them.
Gender Discrimination in Respect to
According to the Education for All Global Mon-
itoring Report 2015, gender-based discrimination
appears to be one of the key obstacles to realizing
the right to education. This report notes that
although females make up the majority of the
out-of-school children, boys are also disadvan-
taged in some countries (UNESCO 2015). Gender
discrimination in education is concerned with
achieving equality by ensuring girlsfull and
equal access to and achievement in all levels of
education without hindrance on the basis of sex.
According to the Education for All Global Mon-
itoring Report 2015, almost 15 million girls will
never set foot in a classroom for the basic primary
and secondary education compared to over one
third of boys who are out of school.
Historically, the default position in discussing
gender-related discrimination in education policy
has been to consider differential treatment through
acts such as exclusion or denial on the basis of sex
in education matters such as access to nance,
benets, or admission into education institutions.
However, 3 years after the adoption of the Sus-
tainable Development Goals 4 and with less than
12 years to the year 2030, there is an urgent need
to eliminate gender-related discrimination imped-
ing education goals and for greater investment in
education (UNESCO 2018b).
Gender Discrimination in Freedom of
Freedom of expression is another area where gen-
der plays a vital role in some societies. As one of
the important dimensions to UNESCOs work, the
mandate to foster freedom of expression, free
media, and free and equal access to information
and knowledge is essential for lasting peace,
democracy, human rights, and sustainable devel-
opment (UNESCO 2014). Accordingly, gender
discrimination in the media is of great concern
and grave consequence because the media plays
an important role in promoting gender equality
(UNESCO 2018a). This notwithstanding, there
is a perception that governments across the
world, especially in Asian and African countries,
are clamping down on free speech under the guise
of surveillance for anti-terrorism and hate speech
despite the relevance of free speech and freedom
of information and expression (Araromi 2018;
Bakircioglu 2008). Without a doubt, many people
around the globe, especially women, face
6 Gender-Related Discrimination
a multitude of legal and policy restriction and
social ideas in relation to freedom of expression
and free speech similar to what was obtainable
when women were barred from voting in many
Western countries before the twentieth century
(Friedman 2014).
Freedom of expression has been emphasized as
a common good (Christie 2012). Still, women
experience restrictions to specic daily expression
and information by cultural and religious barriers.
For example, cultural and religious intolerance
against women can manifest in their dressing,
life choices, child marriage, and voicing and hav-
ing their opinions heard. Further, women are
sometimes excluded from civic space and lack
adequate support within the media political sec-
tors. For example, there is glaring discrimination
against women in the political institutions of some
countries which undermines womens right to
participate in political affairs and their claims to
equality (Iloh and Ikenna 2009).
Gender Discrimination as a Violation of
Human Rights
The concept of gender-related discrimination is
neither a new nor purely traditional feature; nor
is it a characteristic only of underdeveloped coun-
tries. The recognition that women, and sometimes
men, continue to face discrimination in private
and public places has assumed a human rights
dimension for being repugnant to natural justice,
equity, and good conscience. In addition to the
human rights protection against gender discrimi-
nation, the principle of equality has been recog-
nized as a universal right. Against this
background, the European Court of Human
Rights has earlier upheld the equality of sexes as
among the major goals of the Council of Europe
and one of the key underlying principles of the
Convention (Leyla Sahin v Turkey (GC 2005);
Abdulasis, Cabales and Balandali v UK 1985).
The vulnerability of women around the world
is an incontestable fact despite the enactment of
several human rights instruments for their protec-
tion (Banu 2016; Cesare 2014). Discriminatory
practices on the basis of gender violate several
human rights entitlement to women and girls. It
has been observed that despite the visibility of
discrimination against women, religion, culture,
and tradition have over time posed as a shield for
such discrimination against women (Farrior
2009). Consequently, women are sometimes rec-
ognized by some international human rights bod-
ies as part of weak and vulnerablegroups
(Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, in General, Comment No. 16, 2005).
Gender discrimination denies human beings,
particularly women, equal social, economic, and
political empowerment and undermines the ability
of certain groups to compete equally (Hepple and
Bernard 2009). To this end, the Human Rights
Committees General Comment No. 28 (2000)
on the equality of rights between men and
women obliges states to ensure that traditional,
historical, religious, or cultural attitudes are not
considered in its justication of violation of
womens right to equality and enjoyment of
rights. This denotes that human rights prohibition
laws may not be enough if not backed by positive
actions that redress past and present disadvan-
tages. Regardless, human rights is a good founda-
tion for prohibiting discrimination and achieving
sustainable development across the globe because
it requires that every individual is respected and
guaranteed equal opportunity without prejudice or
preference on the account of gender.
Addressing Gender-Related
The above analysis does not exhaustively deal
with all the possible issues relating to the concept
of gender-related discrimination; rather, it focused
on common crucial fundamental aspects of gen-
der-related discrimination. In addition, this entry
offers innovative ways of thinking to effectively
address gender-related discrimination toward
achieving one of the key objectives of Sustainable
Development Goals. Gender equality is a funda-
mental human rights as well as an essential foun-
dation for a sustainable and prosperous world.
Ensuing equality between men and women will
fuel sustainable economies and benet humanity
Gender-Related Discrimination 7
in general. It is an attitude that must be imbibed by
both the international community and the state
Legal Reform
Further initiative on eliminating gender discrimi-
nation entails implementing new legal frame-
works regarding equality in the various spheres
of life and proscription of nonconforming tradi-
tional and customary behavior that promote dis-
crimination. Harmful practices targeted at
women, in particular, must be identied as crucial
to ending the prevalent forms of gender-based
discrimination. While new legal frameworks
require countries to enact or amend general legis-
lation or constitutions allowing for the abolition of
discriminatory practices, there is a need for aid
agencies to actively contribute and support these
legal reform processes in general. It is important
that such reforms consider loopholes in existing
laws, contradictions between customary and stat-
utory law, and state implementation guidelines.
The fact that the principle of equality and non-
discrimination has assumed a common element in
international human rights law suggests that it is
not enough to have constitutional provisions on
these principles without a political will to
strengthen implementation through national insti-
tutions. At this juncture, it is also necessary to
enact independent domestic anti-discriminatory
laws to protect equality between men and
women in various spheres of lives. Perhaps, the
complex nature of gender equality does depend
not only on legislation on gender discrimination
but also upon labor law, the customary law regu-
lating inheritance, marriage and family, and reli-
gious laws, which, to a large extent, inuence
equality between men and women. For example,
adoption of a quota legislation toward a gender-
balanced company board, peace-keeping mis-
sions, parliamentary representative, and political
appointments, to mention a few, will reduce gen-
der-based discrimination and intolerance of dis-
criminatory tradition and culture.
Broad Collaboration
Eliminating gender-related discrimination needs
an open and inclusive process of consultations
and collaborations with civil society and donor
agencies. Collaboration here entails a process in
which participants acquire knowledge through co-
participating and co-problem-solving within cul-
tural and academically heterogeneous groups
(Gutierrez et al. 1999). Given that some of the
gender equality legislation has been put in place
through the joint efforts of government, civil soci-
ety, and aid agencies, further collaboration is
essential in establishing and to effectively run
the enforcement institutions. By so doing, impor-
tant input and lessons are drawn from these bodies
in promoting gender equality.
Furthermore, because gender-related discrimi-
nation discourse is sometimes entrenched in legal
and cultural practices, state institution collabora-
tion with other bodies with the capacity to dissem-
inate information, to train, and to sensitize the
populace is vital toward achieving this goal.
Collaboration may be considered in facilitating
new modes of monitoring gender discrimination
through the establishment of national bodies such
as gender commissions. Such body may have the
mandate to disseminate information, foster edu-
cation on the effect of gender-based discrimina-
tion, and monitor helplines and hotlines for
Role and Control of Information and
Communication Technology
The contribution of information and communica-
tion technology in achieving twenty-rst-century
sustainable development goals will be colossal.
Information and communication technology has
a potential of reducing gender inequality by
increasing womens access to education, employ-
ment, political participation, and even healthcare.
Further, information and communication technol-
ogy provides access and consolation to people,
particularly who are in isolation on the social or
cultural basis. However, to facilitate achievement
of sustainable development goals, states have to
remove barriers to information and communica-
tion technology and also provide more control
through legislation and other measures. However,
gender-sensitive information and communication
technology applications have helped societies
progress toward development (Vyas-
Doorgapersad 2014). This new trend, especially
through the use of social media, may present
8 Gender-Related Discrimination
another form of opportunity for the promotion of
non-violent sexual discrimination and sexual
harassment against vulnerable groups, especially
women (Farrior 2009). Thus, it is vital to consider
policy gaps and nd solutions for improvement by
providing more surveillance and censorship.
Beyond the innovative legal reforms and collabo-
ration with donor agencies and civil society,
womens literacy through information and educa-
tion is important to ensure gender equality. There
is a need to institutionalize and domesticate inter-
national treaties on free and mandatory basic
education to ensure equal opportunities for all
irrespective of their economic and social status.
Equal access to education will promote literacy,
discourage traditions and customs which are gen-
der bias, and further act as a social change for
societies. It has been observed that lower female
education lowers the average level of human cap-
ital which has a direct impact on income growth
(Baliamoune-Lutz and McGillivray 2015). In
other words, equal education opportunities pro-
duce social gains by reducing infant mortality and
fertility, improving family and child health, and
increasing the quality and quantity of childrens
education attainment (Knowles et al. 2002).
Beyond Gender-Related Discrimination
From the foregoing, states should design, rede-
sign, and revise laws to ensure women are treated
equally with their male counterparts. This will
require states to remove and forbid discriminatory
practices not only in law and polices but also in
customs and traditions, for example, proscribing
de jure and de facto tradition and practices.
However, this cannot be achieved by the state
alone; civil society and international agencies
should join hands in raising awareness and
spearheading any necessary dialogue needed in
eliminating these discriminatory social practices.
The impact of discrimination on people should be
the rallying point for an equality-based
justication for nondiscrimination. Usually,
women are treated differently and unequal than
men in numerous spheres of lives. This common
type of discrimination is practiced directly or indi-
rectly throughout the world and will only be elim-
inated when women and men are treated and
protected equally. However, the concept of gender
discrimination is intimately tied to some key fac-
tors impeding the achievement of equitable and
sustainable development goals. As a recognized
barrier, the concept of gender-related discrimina-
tion lowers the social status of affected persons
and, in turn, makes them more vulnerable to vio-
lence, poverty, illiteracy, and hunger. Achieving
equality requires taking into consideration domes-
tic practices that breed inequalities between men
and women and positive actions by states to
address the perceived disadvantages and gaps.
However, since it is not enough for state legisla-
tion to guarantee equal treatment of men and
women, states should create an enabling atmo-
sphere to achieve equality and further give every
human being, irrespective of gender, access to
opportunities that may be out of reach through
custom, tradition, and religion.
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Gender-Related Discrimination 11
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