The Sustainable Development Goals – our shared vision to end poverty, rescue the planet and build a peaceful world – are gaining global momentum. With just 10 years to go, an ambitious global effort is underway to deliver the 2030 promise – by mobilizing more governments, civil society, businesses and calling on all people to make the Global Goals their own.,and%20closing%20the%20finance%20gap.

I myself have been fortunate enough to not have experienced discrimination because of my gender. I am not loved less than my brothers by family members and I like to think that I am being taken seriously. Sadly, being a girl or a woman makes life way more difficult for some.

The work place gives a surprising amount of opportunities for gender inequality to see light. For one there is the difference in the salary when it comes to men and women and in some places a man is more likely to be hired than a woman, not because he is more qualified, but because it is in the interest of a company. There is logic behind that, but it most definitely does not justify it. If a company hires a woman and after some time this woman gives birth to a child, the company would have to grant her maternity leave. This means that it would have one worker less for a period of time.

Because of the paternity leave however, other problems come up as well. In the United States, for example, new dads do not receive paid time off after the birth of a new child. This would mean that it would be more beneficial for a family to have the mother take care of the children while the father works. This is a massive step in the wrong direction. It stimulates for the roles of both parents to remain in a sick cliché. Not only that, but it restricts or at least makes it harder for a father to be a part of his child’s life, besides earning money.

That is why there should be the option for women, but also for men to be granted a paid paternity leave.

Staying on the topic of jobs it is surprising how mothers are viewed in a working environment. Women with children are considered to not be able to be successful when it comes to their job. People with such a mindset could not be more wrong. Ursula von der Leyen can serve as an example. She has been the president of the European Commission since December 1st 2019 and has seven children. While women like that are a minority and she probably had to make some compromises it just goes to show that it is not impossible to be a successful working mother.

As depressing as it is, gender inequalities are far from being limited to just on the working place. Driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys, child marriage is a practice that one can come across in Bulgaria and unfortunately in quite a few other countries. Additional reasons for child marriage in Bulgaria are poverty, harmful traditional practices and traditional attitudes. 

Poverty expressed mostly in poor living conditions and a lack of stability in the family finances stimulate child marriage. The girls’ education also often suffers because of a marriage. In a lot of cases they do not continue school beyond a primary level. This way the girls can do household work and marry.

Some parents from Horahane Roma groups in Eastern Bulgaria reportedly marry off their daughters because they are scared they might be stolen. According to UNICEF, decisions around marriage are often made by a girl’s grandmother or mother. Additionally on harmful traditional practices, there are the so-called “bride markets” taking placed in the city of Stara Zagora, where Kalaidzhi Roma clans “sell off” their daughters to male suitors.

As far as the traditional attitudes go, a lot of people view the issue of child marriage among Roma communities as unsolvable. People just giving up on issues like that make their solving a lot more difficult. And the problem is not a minor one, as the number of approximately 664 illegally married girls in 2018, has barely been changing in recent years.

Family centers are running programs to prevent child marriages and promote access to secondary education for Roma adolescent girls. They are looking to transform attitudes towards gender roles and are working in order to provide health advice and support. Therefore, programs like these should be financially supported. Even though there has been made significant progress towards gender equality there still remains room for improvement, as “[g]ender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world”

Nadezhda Daskalova, 10th grade

Aleksandra Krasteva, 9th grade