Equality is not the key in building a better human society

Why is gender equality important for sustainable development

In our conversations with women around the world, we hear about their struggles, but also their ideas, many of which, if applied, could facilitate change. Women are among those most vulnerable to the impacts of unsustainable practices and climate change, because they often have no independent income or land rights. Unfair discrimination means differentiation which impairs the dignity of the individual or individuals involved. Focussing on key developments in defining human dignity in German and South African constitutional law, this article argues that the concept of dignity is rooted in a rich tradition which is capable of underpinning an approach to equality which avoids excessive individualism and fully recognises the interplay between individual and community needs. A physical assault is clearly an infringement of dignity. The South African Constitutional Court has, in numerous cases, emphasised the importance of the history of apartheid in the conception and formulation of the Constitution and its role in creating a new society. Hence, whether subjects are sensitive to fairness or to equality, they will be inclined to distribute the goods equally. This is borne out by looking at statistics from all over the world — as well as by surveying long stretches of human history with the benefit of hindsight. More than countries have taken action to track budget allocations for gender equality. Scarcity requires them to make difficult choices like pulling children out of school or deciding which family member can afford to skip a meal. Greater equality is often won only after great insult has been recognized. Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. Consequences of an unequal society While concerns about fairness may motivate a preference for inequality, there are various countervailing psychological forces that may lead people to endorse equality. There are many similarities between the South African and German Constitutions that are important for an understanding of human dignity.

In this sense, the demand is for recognition of a common humanity and entitlement of each person to basic respect. The three of us — each from different continents — support these international processes.

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While in Makwanyane this is specifically linked to the eradication of the legacy of racial discrimination, the Court has demonstrated its application in other contexts. It was this quality that distinguished man from animals.

Now even the perpetrators of growing inequality claim they are against it, but they do not admit to their own complicity in creating, maintaining and even increasing it.

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The discrimination enquiry focuses on the categorisation used in order to differentiate between individuals or groups.

Believing that we all deserve such parity is very far from suggesting that we would all behave in the same way if we had more equal opportunities. When subjects in laboratory studies are asked to divide resources among unrelated individuals, they tend to divide them equally.

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In interpreting the meaning of dignity, national courts draw on a range of sources, including the history of the concept, comparative approaches, the facts of the case and the local context.

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Why gender equality is key to sustainable development