Introduction: Gender is in essence a social construct by virtue of the fact that the difference between a man and a woman are primarily biological- an imposition of these biological differences on the social and economic plane have been construed in the society around the world. The concept of gender and the inequality that is precipitated through the concept in society is the theme of feminism and feminist theory. Despite decades of awareness of gender issues and evidence of change in some areas, instances of gender inequality and discrimination on the basis of gender remains widespread the world over.
Contrary to popular perception, gender inequality and discrimination is not a problem that plagues the lesser educated and the less developed countries of the third world. Even in the most advanced industrial nations, women’s share of the labor force is lower and levels of unemployment are higher in case of women than it is for men. AbstractKeeping this basic background in mind, the following paper will look at the various factors that are responsible for the marginalization of women in the workplace and the reasons for this kind of discrimination.
The fact that discrimination is a reality of everyday existence for most women is testified by the fact that there is a need for legislation and guidance in most countries to protect the right of the ‘fairer sex’ not just at the workplace but also at home and in society as a whole. The ILO in its gender equality mandate for example states in no uncertain terms that universal and lasting peace can develop only in the presence of social justice. It sates that “women workers’ rights constitute an integral part of the values, principles and objectives that are at the core of ILO’s mandate to promote social justice”.
In the light of this given background, the essay will try and analyze the social constructs that justify this discrimination and the legal steps that have been taken to protect women against this discrimination. The essay seeks to do this by identifying first the discrimination types that plague society, and then analyse the various parts of the lifecycle where the discrimination can be identified as being most manifest.
The key areas of concern: These include education, employment and wage discrimination. The essay will conclude by identifying the changes that have come about in the situation over the past few decades and the efforts being made the world over to combat the issue. The reasons and the implications of gender discrimination: in most societies and cultures round the world, women are seen as the homemakers. In most cases, the women are regarded as being responsible for the personal space and the men as being charge of the public space.
One of the primary reasons for this is the fact that women have traditionally kept away from the political space and politics has in turn kept women out of the ambit of political power and legislation making and influencing authority. Even when women at actively involved with politics they are responsible for the softer aspects of the administration like tourism, information and health. Hardly has the world seen a woman at the helm where the matters of decision making relate to defense. It might be argued that the world has witnessed people like Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton in one of the most powerful positions in international politics; these however are aberrations and not the norms.
The world’s oldest democracy has not yet date had a woman as the president and the world largest democracy is still fighting to get a reservation bill passed in parliament that would ensure a 33% reservation for female candidates. Despite the fact the noises are made from time to time for the support of women’s rights, there are never concrete steps taken by virtue of the fact that the men in the world do not want to let go of their dominance.