gender equality

by Gretta-olivia on Mars 8, 2016 - 8:59pm

One of the core principles of humanity is that fact that every human being is born free and equal. However, during the course of history, men have somewhat struggled to follow this notion of equality as evidenced by degrading practices such as slavery and the fact that women were once considered inferior to men. As mentioned earlier, women used to be regarded as sexually inferior to men, to the point where they had to fight to obtain the right to vote, to this day women’s suffrage remains an ongoing issue in the world. This post will shed more light on how the situation regarding women’s suffrage is or has been handled from one country to another, those countries being Canada, most specifically Quebec, and Burundi.

Women had to overcome many different challenges in order to acquire the right to vote in Canada. Men were strongly opposed to giving up this right to women as they saw it as a threat to their place as head of the household. This opposition was even stronger in Quebec than any other province. For women to be able to vote it took an effort from brave ladies like Thérèse Casgrain, who created the Ligue des Droits des FemmesI in 1928, and many others. They battled a conservative government and the whole institution of church, which stated that allowing women to vote was against Christian ideals. Finally, in 1940, when the Liberals beat the conservative party that was in place at the time, the Union Nationale, they got to deliver on their promise and in 1944 women were finally granted the right to vote.

The government of Burundi has started the process of free distribution of identity cards, which citizens need to acquire to be taken into account in national investigations or surveys and most importantly to be able to vote. These cards hold even more value to the eyes of Burundian women, who have often been overlooked in the election process, as evidenced by the percentage of women applicants, which is 80%. They see those cards as the promise of a brighter future, a future where they will be allowed they will be respected and treated by authorities like what they are, Burundian citizens. It will also enable them to vote in favour of candidates who plan on putting women on part with men in a country where gender equality is still an ongoing battle.

In 1917, the Canadian federal electoral law didn’t even mention women, it didn’t stipulate they were allowed to vote and neither did it say they weren’t, they were just ignored as if they didn’t exist. All of that changed when World War ӏ broke out. Women were forced to take on more responsibilities as men were leaving for the battlefield, they manufactured ammunition and firearms and contributed greatly to the economy for the first time. That is what gave women more confidence to go and get their due. Women who were fighting to get the right to vote, suffragists, had already got the vote in Manitoba in the year of 1916 and it got other provinces to take note. Even though the party in place wasn’t really high on the idea of granting the right to vote to women but it felt it needed extra votes to win the next election and that is why in 1917 mothers, wives and sisters of serving soldiers as well as servicewoman finally got the vote. Finally, in 1918, every women 21 years and older were granted the vote.

If we compare how the procedure is handled in Canada and Burundi, we can find that there is a notable difference between these two countries. Gender equality is not treated with the same importance, the voice of Burundian women is not heard as much as the men’s. In Quebec, a province of an industrialized country such as Canada, democracy is in place and well respected by the government. In many much less industrialized countries, democracy is in place but only on paper while in reality it is much closer to the opposite. Burundi is one of those country where human rights are not respected and it goes to say not every human being is considered equal.

Finally, the importance of gender equality is not the same in every country around the world. Many women all around the globe have to fight to obtain their right for a better life. In my opinion, there is still a lot of work to be done about this issue. Eventually, in order for women to be equal to men, they need also to get paid equally and have the same career opportunities. To improve the situation in developing countries such as Burundi, citizens would need to elect a more government with more common sense, one who would prioritize the citizens’ well-being and that would make sure their rights were respected over making money. Burundi’s current government is corrupt and the only preoccupations of its members is gaining more money and power for themselves, relegating the respect of human rights and more specifically gender equality to the sidelines. Also, the majority of citizens in Burundi speaks French which could explain why the article “Quand les femmes ne sen laissent plus conter” was published by the courier international from South Africa in French. However, the journal from Quebec, Montreal Gazette is found in English and in French because the majority of citizens speaks and understands both language.