There is no country or society in our world that is devoid of sexism or gender discrimination. Gender discrimination refers to the detrimental handling of an individual or a group solely because of their gender. It involves wide ranging issues including lower wages to women workers, portrayal of women as objects of desire and sex by media and women getting abused physically and verbally by their husbands.
The very fact that a country like the US hasn’t ever had a woman as its president is a classic example of sexism. Women are often judged by their looks and dresses rather than their intellect. This attitude has prevailed worldwide since generations as most societies of our world are male dominated or patriarchal, which do not allow women to achieve their total potential.
Gender discrimination at the workplace: There are many forms of gender discrimination at the workplace. Women are not paid the same salary and perks as their male counterparts despite the two being equally qualified. Sexual harassment of women employees by the male bosses is too well known and is a very common phenomenon in most offices. Women who are yielding and do not pose any threat to male bosses are given preferential treatment whereas stronger and competent women at office often get underpaid and demeaned by jokes designed by the male staff.
The United Nations tells us that there is no country or society that doesn’t discriminate against women or offers them the same opportunities as offered to men. Though women in the west are largely liberated, they experience injustice by way of ‘glass ceiling’ that doesn’t permit promotion of women beyond a predefined certain level. Nearly 95 – 97 percent of senior level posts in the largest corporations in the US are taken by men.
Gender Discrimination and Religion: There is little doubt that all religions are male dominated and discriminate against women, who are considered to be at a far lower level compared to men. She is considered unclean while she menstruates and becomes untouchable subsequent to childbirth till she goes through a ceremonial cleaning. Scriptures describe her as a whore or temptress. Certain religions demand her to keep her body totally covered, lest she should weaken the man’s determination to remain pure in thoughts. She is believed to have been created from Adam’s rib as an afterthought by God, who is considered a male always. In many countries women is expected to undergo fasts to please the gods for the benefit of her husband.
Gender Discrimination in Developing Countries: Developing countries have too many discriminatory practices against women. They get sold for sex-trafficking trade, are vulnerable to child abuse, rape, neglect, sex-determination and consequent abortions, infanticide, honor killings and dowry deaths.
All over the world, women are considered and expected to be submissive and fit for being treated for sexual gratification only. Gender parity is still a distant dream for many women. They continue fighting for equality, justice and respect. In case of developing countries this may be achieved by extensively educating women and making them economically independent. However, women in developed countries need to intensify efforts to break that glass ceiling to be at par with men in all fields while taking measures that would sensitize men regards gender discrimination.