Sustainable living is something that all organisations, industrial or non-industrial, are focused on promoting. I was recently introduced to sustainable living by the institution I study in, and I can say that I have learned a lot.
The United Nations has adopted Sustainable Development Goals known as the Global Goals as a universal action towards addressing and working for important agendas that need the people’s attention as it can be considered a disaster waiting to happen. Starting from 2015, the aim is to achieve these 17 goals by 2030.
Sustainability is a way of life that protects our natural resources and protects the environment without compromising our lifestyle and being innovative in ways that are beneficial not only for us but also for the planet. And as for contributing to living a sustainable lifestyle, there are many things we can do on an individual level, like carpooling perhaps, going plastic-free or being water-wise (12 Ways to Live More Sustainably).
Out of the 17 goals established by the UN, I resonate with the most is Goal 5: Gender Equality. I have always been a strong proponent that there should be equal opportunities for females as there are for males. I feel that it gives females the opportunity to try out new things and helps them grow and be empowered.
My mom is a working woman, and the way she handles both her job and her family inspires me to be just like her because if she can do it, then anyone can.
Goal 5 addresses Gender Equality and targets nine issues that take place in society today. It focuses on ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
Women are faced with many sorts of discrimination based on different grounds. Discrimination against women has not changed despite all the rallies and awareness programmes conducted. We need to stand united as women, speak up when an event like this occurs and raise our voices in unity. After all, we girls need to look out for each other.
The goal also focuses on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation. Now, this is something we should be talking about.
Just the other day, I came across a video wherein a man who called himself the “husband” of the victim stabbed her multiple times until she died in the middle of the road just because she allegedly refused to quit her job to be a housewife. All the people on the road dared to stand and witness and record the incident but couldn’t call the police or at least the ambulance for her because it was their “personal matter”.
Is this what they call humanity? How do we trust anybody? One or more cases of violence against women are reported in the newspaper every day. It breaks my heart to come across such cases daily. Is this the progressive world they talk about? The world is nothing but threatened by the upliftment and empowerment of women and can do anything to pull them down as crabs do to each other.
Another goal they focus on is eliminating all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Even today, teenage girls are forced into marriages with older men, or sometimes boys of the same age. Practices like forced female genital mutilation are practised in some parts of India.
It is alarming to a point where people commit such horrendous acts despite awareness and do not face the consequences. Every time I think that the world might be changing into a better place to live in, such cases occur and I lose hope in humanity and the world that it is capable of not changing.
At this point, I would like to question people in higher political positions. Why aren’t they concerned about such things and why aren’t they doing anything to stop such malpractices.
Another focus of this goal is to recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.
Women these days are taking up jobs everywhere, be it at a professional workplace or in their houses. It is considered these days (according to orthodox Indian households) that a woman’s job is to take care of the house and family. And have you ever noticed any woman getting credit for keeping the house in such good condition? No.
Well, I can proudly say that after all the work my mom does at her job and home, she deserves a lot, and my dad makes sure of it. Families should respect and take care of the women in their households. Women should be provided with the benefits for every work they do and should help them feel empowered and deserving in the role they perform.
The goal also focuses on ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
I read somewhere that women are born leaders. I say that being authoritative but caring about your peers is what makes a good leader and we as women are capable of doing much more than that. And when we take up such responsibilities, whether it be a political responsibility, an economic or a public one, it makes us independent. Nothing in the world can then stop us from becoming what we want to become.
So, if you’re thinking about taking up such a position, go ahead with it because you may not know it, but there will be many people who would love to see you grow and who will always be there to support you.
Something which is very important and needs attention today is to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and knowledge about reproductive rights.
Even though technology has developed so much today, certain backward areas in India do not have access to sexual and reproductive health products. As a result, some women still use unsafe cloth pieces instead of safe sanitary products.
This is something that the government should be paying attention to and should be implementing and executing plans, drives, campaigns and awareness programmes that somehow cater to these needs, therefore, ensuring that no woman in any rural area is deprived of necessities.
Another issue that the goal focuses on is undertaking reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources under national laws. Changing laws have helped women to inherit their rightful ownership over land and other properties.
Enhancing the use of enabling technology, particularly information and communications technology, to promote women’s empowerment is another focus of the goal.
As I have already cleared that I am a strong proponent of all things related to women empowerment, I think that this is a very important and wonderful step taken by the United Nations to give women a chance to grow and be independent. More opportunities should be available for women other than information and communication technologies to feel empowered.
We need to be role models to each other to inspire and be inspired by women. That’s what would be called women empowerment. So we need to start by empowering each other.
Last but not least, the focus of this goal is adopting and strengthening sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at all levels. The more we promote gender equality and women empowerment, the more awareness it creates among the masses and the more this notion will be practised.
Awareness campaigns play a vital role in educating people about such issues. The only contributing factor is that we have to be comfortable with talking about it. We have to take the initiative and start the conversation regarding promoting gender equality and women empowerment.
As said earlier, we women need to start supporting each other, inspiring each other, empowering each other and looking out for each other in every way possible. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many supportive, inspiring and empowered women because it makes me feel empowered and makes me feel that if I want to achieve something and work hard for it, there’s nothing that can stop me from getting it. Period.
And lastly, I would like to thank all the strong women in my life. It’s because of their constant support and motivation that I have been able to transform into my best, headstrong and confident self. So I owe all of it to them. And if we stand united and take small steps, even that will help.
Go one mile at a time and we will be able to achieve this goal of gender equality.