In the gender literature, we often come across two concepts: ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender equity’. They are sometimes used interchangeably, but they do not quite refer to the same thing.
Simorgh: Women Resources Center set out to explain the concept. A daylong session was organized in Falettis Hotel Lahore. Masarrat Misbah participated as DSF representative.
The session began with introduction of simorgh as an organization aiming to promote equality between men and women. Simorgh works with the students, teachers, media professionals and NGO’s. Their focus is on Women‘s rights as human rights with special emphasis on violence against women.
Later in the session speakers explained that Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued opportunities, resources and rewards whereas Gender equity is the process of being fair to both women and men. Providing women and men with the same opportunities is the first step; but for true gender equality to be achieved there is a need for gender equity. Women and men should not only be given equal access to resources and equal opportunities, but they should also be given the means of benefiting from this equality. This is where the concept of ‘gender equity’ comes into play. Gender equity implies fairness in the way women and men are treated. The lower status of women in society often constitutes a handicap and provisions should be made to redress this inequality before they can take advantage of the opportunities provided. Gender equity thus serves to level the playing field and empower women. Therefore, we can say that equity is essential to achieve true equality.
Masarrat Misbah gave a brief of DSF activities indicating that women of Pakistan are being restricted by many self imposed issues which are due to cultural norms and lack of literacy. DSF helps women who have been targeted by violence. A video shoot indicating the case study of Shamim – a victim of acid who was supported and treated by DSF, was played at the event. The audience was highly moved and condemned such atrocities against women.