As We Remember the March on Washington, the Journey Toward Universal Equality Presses On

March on Washington

Worldwide, there is consensus that a few names stand out as game-changers in the fight for equality. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the front-runners among those names. Today, as we remember the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we think of many of the dreams we were inspired to achieve as a result of King’s call to the world.  And we’ve made considerable progress.

But equality has been and will continue to be elusive if we don’t stretch our expectations of what it means to be equal in the world. During a commemoration event on Saturday, Martin Luther King Jr.’s oldest son said, “This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration. Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more.” 

Equality has been and will continue to be elusive if we don’t stretch our expectations of what it means to be equal in the world.

Most of us could not agree more. People continue to suffer around the world due to race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, ethnic background, caste, and many other entrenched social and cultural parameters. In our own field, we see the tragic effects of how inequality denies women the access to life-saving and life-shaping health services. This inequality also exposes women to unnecessary risks that could be prevented given freedom to make their own decisions about sexual and reproductive health. 

I was horrified and saddened to recently read about the rape of a young photojournalist in my hometown, Mumbai, a place where I felt quite safe as a young woman. But the numerous incidents of rape that continue shamelessly throughout India are telling, despite the amazingly strong community outcry and rallying in the face of the rape of a young woman in Delhi last December. Tragically, the world continues to see this as one more statistic and moves on. Can we speak of equality to this young photojournalist who was only doing her job—admittedly a job that few women would have been allowed to do 50 years ago?

At this year’s Women Deliver conference, I was asked how I would define “equality” and I talked of the universal ability to have the same access, the same opportunities, the same rights. Now, however, I am beginning to wonder how the new generation is defining gender equality. To me, at its core, equality means treating all with the same respect and dignity. Simply put, equality means treating everyone the way you would want to be treated. 

To echo words from this generations’ rally for greater equality, “We can and we must do more.

This week, there have been many reactions to the performance of a young female singer who, at a recent awards ceremony pawed the male singer who was singing with her on stage using a foam finger glove. Her performance raised many eyebrows and elicited extensive reactions (far too many, perhaps giving her perhaps exactly what she wanted —attention). The performance made me think that, perhaps, we are missing the essence of equality. If we want to be respected, we have to treat others with respect too. I doubt the female singer would have wanted to be treated in the same fashion, as a sex object, to be touched inappropriately on stage or otherwise by anybody. 

To see a potentially effective role model, with a wonderful talent, destroying this essence of equality and at the other end, hearing of the gang-rape in Mumbai, was for me, a tragic recognition that we still have a long journey toward ensuring gender equality and getting it right. To echo words from this generations’ rally for greater equality, “We can and we must do more.”

Focus Area: Gender

Purnima Mane

Purnima Mane is Pathfinder's President and Chief Executive Officer. She oversees more than 1,000 staff around the world, an annual budget exceeding $100 million, and sexual and reproductive health programs in more than 20 developing countries.

Leave a Comment

* Change

Comments

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates racing games
alex April 23, 2014
Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.rebelmouse.com/mikefiorecapturehisheartreview/
alikhan April 23, 2014
Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Dermatologista
calvinbrock735 April 23, 2014
Laura's wedding was totally boss. Remember when she was like Almanzo dude we gotta tell the minister not to say obey during the ceremony, and Almanzo was like Right on. vancouver apartments
william April 22, 2014
As the economy in low income countries are growing, the role of the accountant becomes more essential.Busienss economy Leadership, ethics, and professionalism will be essential help created financial stability for the companies in these developing nations.
Business economy April 21, 2014
I've just decided to create a blog, which I have been wanting to do for a while. Thanks for this post, it's really useful! the best weight loss pills
the best weight loss pills April 21, 2014
You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older. MARIETTA
MARIETTA April 21, 2014
The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more.” Hay Day Hack iOS
Hay Day Hack iOS April 21, 2014
Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it! http://the-top-mattress-brands.mixform.com/
stuart April 21, 2014
To see a potentially effective role model, with a wonderful talent, destroying this essence of equality and at the other end, hearing of the gang-rape in Mumbai, was for me, a tragic recognition that we still have a long journey toward ensuring gender equality and getting it right. To echo words from this generations’ rally for greater equality, “We can and we must do more.” http://aokmedia.co
william April 20, 2014
This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration. Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. logo design service
logo design service April 20, 2014
I wanted to say that it's nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. spécialiste
sad April 20, 2014
This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration. Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more. research paper editing || research paper help
MichaelStone April 19, 2014
This is a good and an informative article. It’s good to be here. I will share it with my friends. swiss replica watches
swiss replica watches April 19, 2014
Beach Portraits MauiIt was great to see the old printshop and everyone who works there again. I am excited to see a printing business still operating and growing, great job guys
ali April 18, 2014
Your vision helps to guide you through every day and long-term decisions.You might not think that your vision of yourself plays a role in what you charge clients and your value but it does. Your vision grounds you and serves as a roadmap for where you are going text your ex back michael fiore review
alex April 17, 2014
Nicely presented information in this post, I prefer to read this kind of stuff. The quality of content is fine and the conclusion is advantage. click this over here now staceykreviews.com
Name April 16, 2014
I Really enjoyed your blog. I just bookmarked it. I am a regular visitor of your website I will share It with my friends exposed skin care coupon
exposed skin care coupon April 16, 2014
I found very useful knowledge you done a great job, Keep more posting like this. link
sad April 15, 2014
You might not think that your vision of yourself plays a role in what you charge clients and your Business Team value but it does. Your vision grounds you and serves as a roadmap for where you are going. Your vision helps to guide you through every day and long-term decisions.You might not think that your vision of yourself plays a role in what you charge clients and your value but it does. Your vision grounds you and serves as a roadmap for where you are going. Your vision helps to guide you through every day and long-term decisions.
Business Team April 15, 2014
Scroll to top