Gender Equality towards Sustainability

FYEG organised last month, from June 20th to 27th, an international Conference on Rio+20 and sustainability called “Youth Empowerment and Global Solidarity” . During this Seminar,which held in Brussels, Belgium, participants with speakers and readers developed and debated about differents topics related to the differents connotations of sustainability such as: green economy, degrowth, post-growth, sustainable societies, gender equality and global justice.

Moreover, we deeply discussed the stagnation since Rio+20 by finding answers to the question “What kept us away from sustainability during the last decades and how can we achieve it?”. We identified areas of Improvement, some of them were: gender, equality and education. In hindsight, the perhaps most significant term is gender equality ! We recognize that sustainable development is linked to and depends on  gender equality.

In this aim, a theory sessions about approaches towards sustainability and different concepts of sustainability has been given by our speaker Meike Spitzner, the Scientific Coordinator of the “Gender-Research & Consulting” of Research Group: Energy, Transport and Climate Policy.

Spitzner, who works with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy in Germany and part of the Science Centre Northrhine-Westphalia, presented an academic lecture about gender and sustinability by showing the German experiences and challenges in this field “women at the crossroads with transportation, the environment and the economy” and shared with us some of their work experiences such the example of transport system  in Indonisia .

It was an enrichment experience  in the aim of gendred transportation, economic reality and rationality also an ecouragement experience too, as Meike said  : “In Germany the federal government has finally taken the initiative. It was the result of years of stubborn efforts by a few women experts in gendered transportation research, of the commitment of the national Network of Women Inc., of the Taskforce on Environment and Development and of the specialized feminist expertise in the Office of the Secretary of State”.

Her presentation allow us to see and to care to the linkages between gender equality and the promotion of sustainable development in differents concept of societies not only in the way of transportation but over all fields. In fact, these experiences let us view and produce ideas on how can we integrate  gender to  achieve sustainability. To think critically about the causes and consequences  of gender inequality and how to implement gender equality through Sustainable Development Strategies a sustainable model of society to promote a strong democratisation of our social structures by improving the human rights to equality in dignity and justice .

This seminar was an opportunity to debate seriously about the subject ‘gender and sustainability’ including a deep discussion on the role of women to achieve  gender equality and sustainability. In fact, inequality is an obstacle to sustainable development; economic contributions, both formal and informal. We note with concern that persistent social and economic inequities continue to affect women in South as well as in North, regardless their location but with different level and forms.

Furthermore, gender hierarchy created and accumulated during the history of the human being and rise up with differents structures of socities which create indicators and conventions to classify into feminism and masculise. However, these inequal conventions and norms on gender must be broken down to change this classification radically in the goal to create a new concept of real sustainable society based on the gender equality and justice to reach the global justice as the gender’s equality is the core of the global equality as well as the global justice .

For example, norms concerning jobs, economic development, science, engineering and social and cultural level and values create standards which infect gender by limited women’s freedom and excluded them from the power and responsabilities like many govermnent jobs and posts .

To conclude, as the gender equality is the responsabily of all the society, find solutions to the problem of gender inequality must include all member’s of the society: Govermnents and moreover civil society and social movement organizations are invited to develop policies and work approaches for promoting gender equality and empower the role of women in creating methodologies and  strategies for sustainability witch care for the strong and important linkage between gender equality and sustainable development.  Women also, as gender the core of sustainability, invited to refuse the inequality and faith more and more against discrimination and violence to get their rights aand to achieve justice . To find solutions to this difficult problem, women invited to include men for sharing responsibilities for mainting global justice and equality.

May we call for an International Conference and  forums for learning and  networking about gender and sustainability to collaborate with different work in this way and to share experiences and discuss challenges for better future which protect rights and dignity for all human being over their gender’s diffenrence, to enrich our human culture and civilisation for peacefull coexistence.

Olfa Jelassi