This refers to any form of exclusion, restriction, or distinction that is made on the grounds of sex and that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or weakening the exercise, enjoyment or recognition of women regardless of their human rights, equality, freedom and marital status. Women today unfortunately are still a group that is discriminated against, stereotyped and even prejudiced by the society in general and at the workplace in particular.The concept of discrimination against women
Handhelds of thousands of women around the world have been living under circumstances of utter deprivation, and constant violation of their basic human rights and the reason is only because they are women. Women around the world are battered, raped, traded, and also trafficked to become workers in compelled prostitution. The ability of women to join and remain in employment is barred by employers who exclude them from employment just because of being women.
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The employment law is also discriminatory in some places all to the disadvantage of women. In some countries like Saudi Arabia, the government goes to the extreme by legalizing discrimination that makes women unequal to men in the eyes of the law. In the family, young girls and women normally have their rights taken away and have them placed under the mercies of the family members who are male. Women are also prohibited and restricted from participating in public affairs, Thomson, C. and Rampton, L. (2003).
Discrimination against women is systematic, relentless and widely accommodated and even openly condoned. These issues are a global epidemic in spite of the progress made in the international movements on women’s basic human rights. The movements have been creating awareness on women’s discrimination and also challenging the violation of women’s rights.
In the world that we are living in today, women have no control over their bodies. Millions of girls and women are forced in to marriage and sexual relations with men whom they have no desire for, Sparrow, P. and Hilltop, J. (1994). The government has not been strongly supporting women in the fight against discrimination. Women have faced grave consequences like physical violence and the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in women has been on the higher side.
Women face violence even in jail and in hospitals, the poor women are subjected to mandatory family planning. The access to reproductive health and care of women is subject to discussion by the husband and on his absence, the male family members take over. In situations where there is poverty, women are accorded the least in accessing health, training, food, and employment opportunities among others needs. Discriminating against women is violation of the principle of equality of rights and value of human dignity.
This is a barrier to women’s participation on equal grounds with their counterparts in the economic, social, cultural and political arenas of their respective countries. This consequently interferes with the growth, development and prosperity of the family unit and the society. In addition, the discrimination against women makes it difficult for the complete development of women’s potential in being of service to humanity and the society.
Forms of discrimination against women
Discriminatory employment laws
Some of the employment laws that are put in place out rightly discriminate against women. At some work places, women serve in the lowly paid positions as secretaries, cleaners are even receptionists. This is not due to lack of competence but due to discrimination. The top and powerful positions are then reserved for their male colleagues.
Some of the laws reduce the opportunities for women to join certain jobs. For instance, some employment contracts dictate that a woman can only get pregnant once in five or so years. This bars women from such forms of employment. Employment law discriminates against women where some times women who hold similar positions with men are paid lesser amounts so that they appear lower even if they hold the same position with the men, Sparrow, P. and Hilltop, J. (1994).
There is lack of equal opportunities for both men and women where women are put on the receiving end. The women are denied opportunities which are then taken by men. Women come second to men and are treated as lesser beings. This is realized in the roles and positions that women are given at the work places, in the family, community and the country in general.
Women receive lesser recognition in the society and are even given lesser education opportunities compared to men. Women are normally forced to early marriages and do not get the opportunities to get a good education. They consequently are not able to compete with men in the job market. Culturally, women are highly discriminated by the norms and traditions of the society. For instance, in some societies women are told whom to marry, and when and they are not consulted. They end up marrying people they do not love.
Women are physically assaulted and brutally beaten in their own homes by their husbands for domestic reasons. The society has for a long time considered it as a way of disciplining women for any mistakes. Some of them are even beaten up for no apparent reasons, but their husbands subject them to domestic violence since they are the heads of their homes. Such violent treatment against women is dehumanizing not to mention risky since some women end up dying under such circumstances.
Women are deprived off their basic human rights at the places of work, in the society and even by their families. For instance, women do not have control over their lives; they are controlled by their husbands or senior male family members. Women are not allowed to participate in public affairs a factor that violates their freedom of association. Marchington, M. & Adrian, W. (2005).
Women have been brutally raped and violated at work places. Most of the women have their employers demanding for sexual favors, a factor that has seen many women lose their jobs for failing to conform. At work places, the promotion of women to higher positions depends on their cooperation with the employers in sexual relations. At the family level, women are raped by their own husbands and other male members of the family. The women are also victims of rape in jails, and in the communities where they live and especially in the warring countries.
Women world over are trafficked to various countries where they become slaves and subjected to forced laboring the foreign lands, women are under paid or not paid at all, they are treated like lesser beings. Some of these women are forced to be commercial sex workers and this lowers their dignity.
Probable Solutions to the discrimination against women
Equity at the work places
This is the best way to bring an end to the persistence poverty that makes women vulnerable to discrimination. Women in this regard should be given equal pay at the place of work for equal positions held with the men. This would translate to an elevated economic position of the households that are headed by women. There should be equal employment opportunities for both men and women and the employment law should not favor men.
Rather it should accommodate women with their feminine natural processes like pregnancy and child birth. Some employers often fire women employees when they leave for their maternity leave. Other employers especially in the private sector limit the number of times that a woman can get pregnant while working in that organization. The promotions at work places should be done on merit and based on competence and performance and not on the sex of the individual, Maundy, L. (2001).
The cultural process of men and women socialization is to blame for much of the discrimination we have today. There should be a change in the way the society is socialized. Much of the violence and discrimination today results from the fact that men from their young ages are treated as better and more senior as well as important to women. This is attitude is carried to the places of work and in all other political, economic and social aspects. The women on the other hand have been socialized into being senior to men and have accepted the discrimination as a normal way of life. A change is desirable in the socialization process and this may bring an end to discrimination against women, Hoyer, S. (2001).
There should be pressure on the government to implement and enforce the policy on discrimination that is already in place. The government and relevant authorities should also include the principle of equality in the legal system as well as eradicate all the laws that are discriminatory. In addition, appropriate laws should be adopted to proscribe the discrimination against women.
There should be equality in access of opportunities in education, employment, economic, social, public and political arenas. The government should protect women from discrimination by affirming the human rights. In addition, strict measures should be taken on issues to do with domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and other forms of exploitation and discrimination against women.
Discrimination against women is one way of violating the women’s human rights. Women have been marginalized and dehumanized and deprived off their dignity. International movements have been fighting for the liberalization of women and campaigning to bring to an end any form of discrimination against women. Women’s lives have to be made important at all the places all the time. This can only happen if discrimination against the women of the world is brought to an end.
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