gender equality
Over the past century, women around the world have made great strides in the workplace, in their homes and in politics. However, a campaign created by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai on behalf of the United Nations highlighted how far women still have to go to fully achieve gender equality.

The campaign utilized Google’s “Auto Complete” feature, which brings up related phrases and words whenever a word is typed into the search bar. They used this feature to demonstrate what would happen when the words “women should…” were typed in the search bar. The auto-complete words and phrases that came up were surprising.

The results that appeared demonstrated the extent to which gender equality is not fully embraced  in society today. For example, phrases such as: “Women should… stay at home, be slaves, be in the kitchen, be put in their place, be disciplined etc,” all appeared. A snap shot of the search results were placed over women’s mouths – as if silencing their voices.

The powerful response quickly spread around the world as people did their own auto-complete searches to see what came up. The campaign drew attention to the fact that women still face many obstacles in achieving gender equality.

Here are some quick facts about gender equality around the world today:

1. More than half of all employed women in the world (and 80 percent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa) work in an informal work sector where they do not have job security or receive benefits.

2. In most countries around the world, women earn between 70 and 90 percent of men’s wages.

3. Gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty – an estimated 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls.

4. If women had the same access as men to agricultural resources, they could help boost a developing country’s total agricultural production by 2.5 to 4 percent, which would reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 percent (100-150 million people.)

5Women hold only 21.4 percent of the world’s parliamentary seats.

Developing countries face gender inequality more intensely, with many women and girls denied adequate access to education and the employment opportunities enjoyed by men. While women in sub-Saharan Africa spend collectively 40 billion hours each year collecting water, their ability to learn, work and take advantage of opportunities to be entrepreneurial is diminished.

Raising awareness about gender equality through such a powerful ad campaign reminded women everywhere to not become complacent when it comes to fighting for female empowerment in the work place, politics, education and the home. While it is easy to believe that women today have every opportunity open to them and that gender equality is uncontested, the fact is that the majority of women throughout the world do not have every opportunity and are too often oppressed.

This campaign reminded people everywhere that bringing more women into the work force is not only good for poverty reduction, but also for the overall development of countries around the world.

– Andrea Blinkhorn 

Sources: Adweek, UN Women 1, UN Women 2

Photo: The Muslim Times