Gender equality means equal visibility, empowerment, responsibility and participation for both women and men in any area of public or private life. It also means equality in the access and distribution of resources between women and men. Although the legal status of women in Europe has undoubtedly improved during the last decades, effective equality is still far from being a reality. While progress is noticeable (educational achievements, participation in the labor market, political representation), gender gaps still persist in many areas, keeping men in their traditional roles and limiting women's opportunities to affirm their fundamental rights and assert their interests.
The most striking expression of the unequal balance of power between women and men is violence against women, which is both a violation of human rights and a major obstacle to gender equality.
A change in gender relations, the empowerment of women and the elimination of traditional negative gender stereotypes are the key to achieving gender equality and benefit the whole society, including men, as well as the next generation. An extensive research has shown in many contexts, that when women have the same opportunities as men in being socially and politically active, the economy and societies thrive.
The essential contribution of women to communities, societies and economies, and the high costs of gender inequality, must be fully recognized, especially in the current context of economic crisis.
Inequalities are increasing at all levels of society. The crisis and the consequent austerity measures have hit women hard in many countries, including loss of jobs, wage cuts, reduction in public services and in resources allocated to support services of crucial importance for women victims of violence.
Discrimination against women has a horizontal and structural character that permeates all cultures and communities, as well as all sectors, levels and areas throughout life. Gender inequalities tend to add up during the course of life, so certain disadvantages that are suffered in the early stages of life cause disadvantages in later stages, leading to limiting choice options. Women often suffer discrimination in various fields such as those referred to in Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 4.3 of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combat of Gender-based Violence and Domestic Violence ( Istanbul Convention).
For all these reasons, it is important to address discrimination against women in a systematic and comprehensive manner, in order to achieve full and substantial gender equality. This requires a two-way approach to the work of gender equality, which includes:
Specific policies and actions, including positive action, in key areas for the advancement of women and for gender equality and
The promotion, monitoring, coordination and evaluation of the integration process of the gender perspective in all policies and programs.
Achieving gender equality is a crucial point for the protection of human rights, the functioning of democracy, respect for the rule of law and economic growth and competitiveness.
For UNOMÁSUNO+ gender equality and respect is one action more to protect human rights that as a NGO always have to keep in mind in all its actions.
The promotion and participation in different development cooperation projects in the Gambia has led us to realize the complicated situation of women and girls in a sub-Saharan country like this, where the roles of the different genres are very marked, differentiated and accepted by society and institutions.
However, the work of other non-profit organizations, international institutions and small activist groups, often clandestine, take steps in a direction that opens the door to effective equality between men and women while empowering to her in different roles like social and political.
Therefore, projects such as SOM UN BLOC or MATERNITY OF TUBA KOLONG have been aimed at improving the situation and conditions of women in areas such as health, social economy, their role and weight in decision making for the community and their training in areas such as trade and agriculture.