Gender equality means that women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. Existing power structures mostly privilege boys and men, giving them greater access to resources, greater personal freedom, and less vulnerability to the violation of rights than women and girls. While girls are more likely to be negatively affected from gender-based disadvantages, boys can also face some limitations and vulnerabilities due to their gender.
Gender inequalities are drivers of many child protection violations. They begin with boys’ and girls’ socialisation in the family, school or community which encourages them to follow specific cultural norms and roles deemed appropriate for their gender. The gendered socialisation can mean that girls are expected to do more domestic work, not get as much or as quality schooling as boys, to marry younger, be less mobile, or tolerate physical and sexual abuse. Conversely, it can mean that boys are expected to be more aggressive, violent, mobile, unruly and responsible for and capable of making money, having a job, etc.
It is the role of our families, schools and communities to ensure boys and girls grow up with more gender equitable roles and practices, and achieve gender equitable outcomes in protection, safety and life opportunities.