Generation Equality: Including The Boy Child

By: Mojalefa Mokhosi

Generation equality can be described as the state of being equal in status, opportunities, and rights within a generation or all the people born and living within a specific time frame. The importance of generation equality can be effectively emphasised through a gender lens. A gender lens reflects how we as society may or may not be fairly affording all genders equal opportunities. ACTIVATE! has used the month of August to collaborate with various stakeholders to facilitate conversations about generation equality.

Generation equality would include advocating for all humans��� basic rights. This means closing the gap across all demographics. Everyone who is a global citizen should be afforded equal rights regardless of race, sexual orientation, age, nationality, ethnicity, or religion. Striving for women���s rights is a topic that is highlighted when exploring generation equality as the disparities in gender equality are impressively vast compared to other demographics.

In as devastating as the pandemic of Covid-19 has been across the globe, it has also been a peculiar silver lining in how effectively it has managed to highlight the importance, urgency and need for gender equality in our communities. A popular example is that of the extremities of unreported gender-based violence and femicide cases.

While conversations like the Generation Equality Forum, a multigenerational campaign and platform to unify all sectors and accelerate collective action for bigger and bolder commitments and actions for gender equality are important and impactful on a global scale, it is just as imperative to integrate plans to include the boy child in these safe spaces. It is impossible to create a world in which the girl child is taught to be fearless and phenomenal in her own right without embracing the boy child and his role in this ideal future. ACTIVATE! aims to dismantle dysfunctional behaviours within society that perpetuate gender inequalities and these changes should be implemented simultaneously with the empowerment of girls and women alike. Feminism has more recently received a bad reputation as it has become perceived as the empowerment of women at the expense or downfall of men in all spaces. This narrative is dangerous and directly opposing the fundamental principles of feminism at its core.

It is now more than ever critical to emphasise the inexpressible, priceless value of support from boys and men in the empowerment and equality of women and girls alike. The way forward in any space or revolution of activism is collaboration. The key to redefining women���s futures is to unlearn and relearn gender roles, advocate for economic justice and keep all stakeholders accountable to their roles and responsibilities. The aim is to alter mindsets, so history does not repeat itself.

Efforts by the UN, contributions from various governments and youth-led organisations such as ACTIVATE! are a collective and powerful force to creating a future in which all humans will enjoy the same rights for years to come. However, our work does not stop with webinars and conversation. Action needs to be taken consistently and constantly for a sustainable future to exist. Every action made to empower females should be parallel with those taken to sustain males. Patriarchal and traditional ways of raising children are quickly becoming an ancient practice. This is what equality looks like. With a mindset of collaboration in lieu of resistance, generation equality is not too far off in the future.

���As the mother of a son, I do not accept that alienation from me is necessary for his discovery of himself. As a woman, I will not cooperate in demeaning womanly things so that he can be proud to be a man. I like to think the women in my son���s future are counting on me.��� -Letty Cottin Pogrebin



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