Seek Equity- Not Sameness !

(Ali Haider Rizvi, Karachi)

Considering the times we live in, this topic is something we all need to pay close attention to. It is funny how often we find ourselves asking for equality when it is actually equity that we should be looking for. The modern era of social media has blurred the difference between these two and both equality and equity are used interchangeably which I believe leaves everyone a bit misguided.

‘Equality’ is a quantifiable term which talks about numeric growth and improvements whereas ‘Social equity’ is a qualitative idea. Social equity revolves around the idea of provision of equal opportunities and satisfying the masses. It means that there will be no special favors upon any particular segment of the society. But it is possible that the regulations of fairness in one country might not be considered right or applicable in some other country. There are high chances that the idea of social justice is perceived differently nation to nation. This makes social equity bifacial, narrow and conditional.

Now, around the World, social equity practices are made to look like they are efficiently functioning even though they aren’t. Issues like discriminations based upon age, race, religion, sexual orientation, culture etc, gender inequality, disability bias, health and education issues, and employment equity are some common elements present in almost all our societies.
The most important element that needs immediate fixing, if you ask me, is gender inequity. The sustainable development agenda must be rooted in principles of human rights, human security and equity so that nobody is left behind. Sustainable development will not be achieved unless the needs and rights of all people are fulfilled. Priority must be placed on ending gender inequality as the most pervasive form of inequality and on advancing the rights of women as the largest groups facing systematic inequality worldwide. Beyond the harm and injustice caused to individuals and communities, inequalities—especially as faced by women, adolescents and youth—perpetuate poverty, progress, reduce economic efficiency, hinder growth, threaten social cohesion and stability, and undermine human capital accumulation.

In addition to this, I believe more attention is given to just merely highlighting these problems which rather, as per me, should be given towards finding more and more practical solutions to these issues. Firstly, we need to make laws in countries where they don’t exist and then ensure the implementation of these laws that would put an end to gender-based violence, harmful practices including child, early and forced marriage. Guarantee equality before the law and non-discrimination for all people in the exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Ensure the participation of all in conflict resolution, peace-building negotiations and post-conflict policy-making, and investments in growth and well being of society and the integration of gender perspectives across national plans and programs. More than half the population in Pakistan has inadequate access to basic health care while also enduring the effects of discrimination, poverty, and dangerous environments that accelerate higher rates of illness. Innovative and evidence-based social strategies can improve health care and lead to broad gains in the health of our entire society. Improve access to quality education, with particular attention to girls’ retention and completion rates at all levels of education, and the elimination of illiteracy. Eliminate color, race, gender stereotypes and biases in curricula and teaching practices, and in the transmission of occupational aspiration. Protect human, labor, civil and economic rights and eliminate exploitation in all its forms, with particular attention to women, low-income workers and migrants, including domestic workers. Proper education implementation of civil rights such as press freedom, religious freedom, trial by jury, fair treatment and others should be provided to masses.

All in all, despite my inner-self wanting to see these changes being incorporated in the society, my study on the struggles and current situation of civil and economic rights in the Pakistan does not allow me to put a lot of faith in the future. Traditional institutions are no longer in shape for providing rights. Socially inclusive and comprehensive bodies are needed for sustainable economic and social policies which are nowhere to be seen.. Trust deficit biases and struggles have widened the gap among citizens and institutions and hence there are credibility issues. Laws guaranteeing civil rights can be interpreted differently depending on the beliefs and customs of the period. As long as deep held feelings and prejudices exist towards a group of people, that group will never have a complete guarantee of civil rights.

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11 May, 2019 Views: 292


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