The world is facing many problems that are demolishing its unity, forcing the process of making a better world harder to achieve. One of the most devastating problems yet to be solved is the women’s rights against discrimination. Discrimination, according to Cambridge University’s dictionary is the act of treating a person or particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people, because of their skin colour, religion, sex. Discrimination against women is a type of gender discrimination. According to the Australian Office of Anti-Discrimination Commissioner (OADC) gender discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of his or her gender (Justice, 2009). Women’s discrimination is a series problem, it is just not a discrimination against a minority (with all do respect to all minorities). “It is impossible to realize our goals while discriminating against half the human race” Kofi Annan. Annan described discriminating against women discriminating against half of the human race which rely on how important the role of women in the progressing of the human race. The problem of discrimination against women was officially addressed to the world through the first couple of years of the establishing of the United Nations (UN). “Women inscribed their identity as holders of rights in the founding documents of the UN-the UN Charter (1945) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)… the Convention of Civil Rights to Women (1948) and the Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952)” (Jain & Sen, 2005, pp. 12-13). Many countries and nations have issued legislations against discrimination, and specifically against gender or sex discrimination. One of the most notified acts against discrimination is the “Sex Discrimination Act 1975” by the British Parliament. Many countries and nations have acts against discriminating women; however, women are still being discriminated before the law (Franciscans). Discriminating against women is not just discriminating against a person it is discriminating against families as well; who would want the mother, the sister or the wife to be discriminated at work, at school or at club under no reason but solely because of the gender. The purpose of this essay is to examine the act of discrimination against women and demonstrate on how women suffer in the social life, the political arena and the workplace, and the education. Moreover this essay will adjudge the previous solutions to overcome the problem of discriminating women due to their gender held previously decades ago by countries or nations, and why they did not reap what they have sown. Ultimately, it will propose a solution on how to surmount the problem of discriminating women, because women should not be discriminated due to the prejudice against their gender. Women play the part of half the human race if they were less competent or reliable than men and do not deserve equality God would not let them share every role with men.
Women’s discrimination is much far from being a local issue in a certain part of the world. Women suffer from discrimination, violence and sexual harassment because women most of the times are thought to be less competent than men because of their physical structure. Women are not only discriminated in the developing countries because of the lack of “sophistication”, women are also being discriminated in the developed countries. “Discrimination against women in the UK is “deeply ingrained”, a government report concludes” as cited in (Barriers still in women’s way, 2005). The UK, one of the most important and developed countries that plays a major role in the world issues, has a discrimination problem against women which is described by a governmental report to be “deeply ingrained” or firmly held that it is not likely to be changed. Thus it is a problem that needs more that attention to be solved. According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Data shows that discriminatory practices against women exists and dominates in almost all parts of the world (2008). Therefore, we do not need each developed country telling a one that is not that the developed country is free from discrimination or it is in very small ratio that discrimination hardly can be found. Statistically according to figure 1, the ratio between the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the developing countries does not gap critically; life expectancy is more in MENA than in the developing countries while it decreases in the other areas. The world needs all countries and nations help because it is not a one nation problem it is a problem that we all command.
Women social life is covered by many kinds of discrimination. Women in social life suffer from many daily-life appellations, especially in the Middle-East other than the West. In the Middle-East women are classified by their relationship status other than by her contribution to the community. While searching for life partner men get “repelled” from divorced women. In the process of searching, most of the men search for virgin girls whether those men have previous relation or not. Divorced women are treated different than married women. Whereas single-mothers most of the time do not marry after their first marriage because men do not want extra burden or responsibility. On the other hand single-fathers easily can get married most of the time as there is no social norm against them to re-marry. Single mothers do not refuse to marry, however, they are refuted by the men how are seeking marriage. “Divorce is more costly for women than men. The most common impact of divorce on women is the financial insecurity it creates, increasing the possibility of poverty for them and their children. Data show that after divorce, women experience a 73 percent loss in their former standard of living and men experience a 42 percent rise” (Headlee & Elfin, 1996, p. p.52). Not only divorce leave women socially “downgraded” it also leaves her in economical insecurity, and if a women is supporting a child the disaster will be doubled. According to Clarke-Stewart & Brentano, divorced women make only five new friends in the first year of divorce due to the emotional damage of divorce (2006, p. 70). Women are more likely to have blighted social life than men after divorce. Nevertheless, society does not welcome divorcees leaving women in a dark corner of the society.
Politically, women suffer from a great impact from discrimination. Women have been discriminated in the political arena, as the society gives the women politicians less creditability than men due to some ideas stuck in the minds that women are more likely to be secretaries other than being the boss. The media has a huge impact on such negative ideas, giving the women always as the soft secretary that has a model body shape and a voice that rhymes with music. According to Abdel-Wahab’s film, he sketched a wife being a CEO in a governmental institution, while the employees of that institution do not believe that a woman can hold such a sophisticated position (1966). In that film the female CEO proves to her husband and to her employees at the end of the film that she is as competent as any male CEO that has ever held this position. This is the kind of media that needed to be seen today, not the ones that weaken the image of women and strengthens the stereotyping of them in politics and in workplace. According to Constance B. Morella a US Republican Congresswoman, who represents the Seventh District in Maryland, ”in politics (once elected) there is equity in terms of salary, but not in terms of leadership. Women are excluded from many issue areas and commissions where they might serve” as cited in (Headlee & Elfin, 1996). In the US congress the government cannot give smaller salary to women, “of course” or it would be contradicting its own policies out in the public, nonetheless, they do not give women the right of leadership as they might provide help to their country, the US- her country- deny the women’s help in leadership. Unlike men, women pursue politics for the sake of issues and morals not for career advancement. The rejection of women being in the political arena gave them the opportunity to be more active volunteers than men, which gave them more than enough experience to successfully enter the political arena (Headlee & Elfin, 1996, p. 26). Men do not have an extra brain that makes them excel in politics and likely women do not, hence, they are equal and should have equal political opportunities. Women went to work thus, affecting the men’s jobs and the economy mainly because of money. Women worked because they did not have husbands as unmarried or divorced, or they had husbands who were in low-pay jobs. In 1994, 59 percent of married women were working for pay which increased by 19 percent from 1970 (Headlee & Elfin, 1996, p. 3). As of discrimination in the work place, statistically, “pregnant women suffer widespread discrimination at work, figures show, with almost one in 14 mums-to-be denied opportunities for promotion and one in 50 demoted” (Pregnant Women; Discrimination at work, 2006). Pregnant women takes the largest piece in the pie chart according to discrimination, some of the pregnant women do not even get paid for maternity leave, while, some of them do not get promoted and some get demoted.
- Abdel-Wahab, F. (Director). (1966). My Wife is CEO [Motion Picture].
- Barriers still in women’s way. (2005). Evening Post (South Wales) , p. 5.
- Clarke-Stewart, A., & Brentano, C. (2006). Divorce : Causes and Consequences. New Haven: Yale University Press .
- Franciscans, I. (n.d.). Discrimination Against Women. Retrieved December 21, 2009, from Franciscans International: http://www.franciscansinternational.org/issues/women/discrimination
- Headlee, S., & Elfin, M. (1996). Cost of Being Female. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated.
- Jain, D., & Sen, A. K. (2005). Women, Development, and the UN : A Sixty-Year Quest for Equality and Justice. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
- Justice, T. D. (2009, September 4). Anti-Discrimination Commissioner: Gender Discrimination. Retrieved December 21, 2009, from Tasmania Online – Your gateway to Tasmania: http://www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au/publications/gender_discrimination
- Pregnant Women; Discrimination at work. (2006). Advertiser, The (Adelaide) , 15.
- UNIFEM. (2008). Justice / Field Stories / Discrimination Against Women : UNIFEM : Progress Of The World’s Women 2008/2009. Retrieved December 21, 2009, from United Nations Development Fund for Women: http://www.unifem.org/progress/2008/media/POWW08_Report_Full_Text.pdf