Hearn, Jeff and Husu, Liisa (2016) Gender equality. In: The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies. Wiley, London, UK. ISBN 978-1-4051-9694-9

What is gender equality? The theory, concept and politics of gender equality can be understood as part of the long-term historical struggles for equality and democracy, but with a focus on equality between and democracy among women and men, and genders more generally. The reference to democracy is evident in the politics of equal political representation, though often seen in many societies and historical periods as applying only to adult males. Gender equality entails not only political representation and political leadership, for example, by parliamentary election, but also rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation, decision-making, valuation of behaviours, aspirations and needs of women, men and further genders, and freedom from violence. Thus, the elaboration of gender equality is closely aligned with the development of gendered citizenship, seen as inclusive of political and economic entitlements, access, and belonging and encompassing rights and obligations. In the light of the historical exclusions and marginalizations of women, full inclusion of women citizens requires addressing basic structures of gender inequality throughout societies, for example, questions of care, dependency and interdependency in and across public and private spheres, and their interrelations.

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