Free Essay on Gender Inequality:
The problem of women discrimination still remains one of the most calling problems in today’s society. Although the boom in publicity around the feminist movement has a little calmed down and the female stratification gets significantly less attention than one or two decades ago, this problem still exists. Another trap concerning the female gender stratification is that it is often associated with the countries of the third world and the countries with non-democratic society. It is clearly a prejudice to think that there is no female discrimination in the developed regions such as US and Europe. Although the conceptions about the gender and the degree of discrimination vary from one country to another, everywhere in the world we find an absolute predominance of patriarchy, a form of social organization, in which males dominate females.
This concept of domination is proved not only by observations of individuals, but is also assessed and analyzed by different kinds of research. Likewise, the recent United Nations research study1 has analyzed the different factors of social prevalence (prosperity, health, decision making power, political activity, etc.) and has synthesized the data into a special index: a scale ranging from 0 to 1, describing the situation when women have no power and when women have as much power as men, respectively. According to the research, US, Canada, Australia, China, Germany, Finland, Sweden, and Norway have the highest scores of 0.6 to 0.75. However, this fact brings us to a sad conclusion: even in the most developed countries of the world women have no more than ¾ power of the men. Women of Spain, Italy, Hungary, and other European countries have 0.45 to 0.59 – about a half of men’s power. The most of South America, as well as in France and Poland, women enjoy only little more than a third (0.35 – 0.45). Greece, Japan and South Korea are described with figures of 0.25 – 0.35, and most of African and South-West Asian region shows the number of 0.10 – 0.25.
When separate factors as wages, health, political rights are taken into consideration, the picture of female discrimination becomes very apparent. Women’s employment is the case: While in the most of the world (US, Russia, China, Middle and Northern Europe) women are 40% or more of the workforce, in Latin America, it is only 15%, and in Islamic countries of Africa and Middle East the figures are much lower. This kind of situation is much due to the widely accepted prejudice that woman’s main functions in the society are childbearing and household work. Even when employed, women meet a lot of discrimination. For, example, it is displayed in the wages they receive, if compared to men. The recent research of the earnings of men and women on the full time position shows that being employed on the same position as men, women receive a significantly lower compensation. As an illustration, on the Sales position women get the 62% percent of the salary of a man on the same position; being employed as executives, administrators and managers women receive 68%; female service workers receive 69%; in the case of professional specialties, it is 70%; the situation looks a little better in farming and clerical spheres, where female workers get 84% and 77%, respectively, of a typical man’s compensation.2 On average, women are paid 30% less than men. This situation is complicated by the phenomenon known as “glass ceiling” – a fact that female employees usually do not get to the higher and middle levels of an organizational hierarchy. A social trend connected to the two previous issues is the “feminization of poverty”, a trend by which women represent an increasing percentage of poor3. As an illustration, in 1960, there were 25% of poor households headed by women. By 1998, this figure increased to 53%. As one can see, the households headed by women, the number of which in our society increases, are at much risk of becoming poor.
The situation of women in the society becomes even worse, if one takes into consideration such a sharp problem as Sexual Harassment, which often goes in couple with the employment discrimination. Although most of people think of sexual harassment only in terms of its most aggressive forms (rape, touching, forced sexual favors, etc.), harassment includes any kind of unwanted sexual attention. In this case, the victims of sexual harassment reported the complaints on the following: sexual remarks (77%), suggestive looks (73%), pressure for dates (55%), deliberate touching (62%), actual or attempted rape assault (20%).4 The survey conducted among federal employees has shown that more than a half(up to 55%) of women were harassed in the groups consisting of all men or predominately men. Female members of groups consisting of equal proportions of men and women and those having female majority report harassment in 43% and 37% of cases, respectively. Even in “all women” groups 22% of members suffer from sexual harassment5.
Despite the numerous cases of discrimination, American and European women are much better off than women living in muslin fundamentalist societies of Africa and Middle East (Nigeria, Togo, Somalia, Egypt, and others). One of the most stunning cases of violence over women is the wide spread tradition of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, whereby a part or the whole external genital area is removed, and the surfaces are stitched together leaving only a small hole for urination. The operation is typically performed by mid-wife, tribal practitioner, or a doctor without anesthesia. Worldwide estimated, about 100 million6 women have undergone the process of mutilation. Even in US hundreds or even thousands of operations are performed each year, usually by immigrants fearing the fact that the sexual norms in US are more lax than in Muslim countries.
As it can be seen from this brief report, female oppression is still a problem worldwide, and it needs more attention from the side of national governments and the world’s publicity.
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