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Gender Equity Through Education and Public Policy

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Monique M. Maldonado, Ph.D.
June 19, 2015

Sunday march

Did you know women will control $22 trillion in wealth by 2022? So notes, Forbes’ contributor, Susan Genelius: “U.S. News and World Report projected that women will control $22 trillion of all wealth in the United States by 2020.” This is finally a “come up” for women who have been in the shadows of men for the past 80 years, but how will this affect what we have been trying to accomplish since women entered the workforce?

Gender equity has seemed hypothetical in nature. But we have worked hard to promote equal work environments for both men and women. Yes, there are organizations such as Women for Women International and the National Organization for Women as well as activism for women’s’ rights. Yet, this would not have happened if equal opportunities existed in the first place. In general, there is still discernment toward women and a cultural imbalance in our nation that is still time warped in history.

In the early 1900s, it was taboo for women to work (and if they did, they earned significantly less than men). They also were not considered under the same laws and did not have the same rights. According to John Aravosis of America Blog, “Women are paid less than men, were (and perhaps still are) permitted to work in fewer fields than men, and the law was rigged against women, especially inheritance laws.” Instead of complimenting their spouses’ salary and contributing to the household, their primary [women] responsibility was to take care of children and the home. Today, discriminatory epithets about women neglecting their children to seek their own careers and be successful in the workforce are equal to the offenses noted from history in the 20th Century.

This misnomer about gender equity is that it exists. There are still stumbling blocks to “equality”  that need to be a reevaluated to address the lack of education on the development of effective policy that would diminish gender disparity and discrimination. In the public sector, in particular, we need increased education to give leaders a better understanding of its importance, legality and enforce implementation. Policies are in place but they need to be enforced; failure to enforce is an injustice. The guidance is there, but we are not adhering to the standards.

Understanding gender equity is not having partial bias toward women. Now it is time to show the strides we have made to produce a better nation, not based on gender, but on skills, experience, cooperation, diversity and innovation.

Gender equity continues to be a global issue. And it is up to the leaders to emphatically support human rights and seek retribution for those who do not. Leaders in the public sector need to re-emphasize the standards and ensure their subordinates epitomize these same principles.

This may require starting from the fundamentals. This would be key to establishing competent policies that represent shared standards in federal, state and local laws. Policies should incorporate theoretical outlines of discrimination and consider the range of races and diverse identities in the public sector.

Finally, accountability. We must hold others accountable for not adhering to the standards of equality and fairness. If we choose to continue the back and forth rhetoric, then that is exactly what it will be—back and forth—with no change and no difference. It is long overdue that we rise and obliterate the old chains of separatism and acknowledge the fact that everyone is capable of contribution, no matter the gender, race, color, sex, religion or ethnicity.

As a nation our injustice to women is a failure. It is time to accept women as intelligent, driven, motivated and capable. Once these declarations are made, we can move past the issue of equality, and  concentrate on succeeding as a whole for a better America.

Author: Dr. Monique M. Maldonado is a U.S. Air Force active duty service member and adjunct professor. She teaches for the School of Graduate and Degree Completion Programs in the Department of Criminal Justice at Tiffin University. She is a researcher in public policy and administration as well as national security policy and terrorism realms. For any questions or concerns, Dr. Maldonado can be reached at [email protected]

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