Gender inequality has been a practice that has been ongoing for ages. Women have, in most instances, been deemed inferior to men. This practice has not died in some cultures even today. In Candide, Voltaire exposes women mistreatment in the eighteenth century through the roles played by women characters in the novel. We see Paquette, Cunegonde and the old woman abused sexually regardless of their political influence or wealth. Female charismas in the novel are depicted as having less significance in the society. Women had little or no choices when it comes to making important decisions in their lives. With regards to marriage, women could either just marry a wealthy man or become their mistress or both. Power was vested in men and not women. If women wanted to exert their influence on a particular issue, they had to maneuver their way to the men who held powerful positions so that they could pull the strings in their favor. This paper explores the treatment of women, arguing that women are more than just pretty faces and should, therefore, be treated equally as men and nothing less. The material for this essay is derived from works of various authors that touch on the treatment of women.
There has been outpouring outcry against women discrimination in the recent past. Important leadership roles, education opportunities have all been amassed by the male gender even when there are suitable and qualified female candidates for the same role. All this just so that men can assert their superiority over women. Equal treatment for both genders is still a contentious issue though significant progress has been made to lessen the gap.
Equal treatment of women, in essence, means that both men and women should have equal access to the same opportunities, the same set of obligations and equal rights with regards to all aspects of their lives. This can be achieved through women empowerment so as to address the issue of power disparities so that women can have the freedom to make choices regarding all matters of their lives. A number of international treaties have recognized the role women can play in bringing about transformation in the society and ultimately in the world. Code 20 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, adopted in 1992, for instance, highlights the essential role women can play in the achievement of a sustainable environment. The Future We Want, a document by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also addresses the importance of women empowerment through the three main pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental aspects.
According to (Wgea.gov.au), there is a strong correlation between a country's national productivity and the extent it employs its female talents. It states .equal treatment of women means a more effective use of a country's human talent bequest and reducing gender inequality improves productivity and economic development. Therefore, over time, a states competitiveness is influenced by how it educates and exploits its feminine talent. The forum stressed the importance of fostering gender equality. It found that increasing women participation in the workforce by 6% had the potential to add over 10% each year to a country's economy. Women, just like men, have skills and talents that should be tapped to bring about economic and social progression in the society. A comparison of countries where women have equal opportunities just like men vis a vis those countries with huge gender disparities shows that those countries with gender balance record a higher progress regarding economy and social status than those that deny women equal opportunities.
Mueller, in his study titled Gender-based income disparity among self-employed professionals posits that equal treatment of women is problematic especially in management. They state that the feminist style of management uses a feeling approach in decision-making. This means that the women make decisions based on personal values, tolerating emotion, compassion, and the aspiration for harmony to prevail in the equation. On the other hand, he postulates that the masculine management style uses logic, objective values, laws, standards, and principles in making a decision. The feminine style of management has been negatively criticized and has been linked to decreased profits or poor performance. This comparison of management styles had sometimes been unfairly used to deny women employment opportunities. What the feminist management style means is that women are in a better position to empathize with the welfare of employees than the men. If employees feel that someone understands their needs, then they will be motivated to work harder and voice their concerns to be addressed. Discrimination of women with regards to job opportunities does not, therefore, hold water.
Besen in his article titled why men earn more than Women states that there cannot be equality in gender because of the biological stereotypes and the nature of both genders. He states that women are selective of the work environment as well as education. According to Besen, women seek jobs that are safe, and ones with normal working hours. This makes Besen conclude that women cannot be treated equally as long as they are selective of the education courses they pursue and the working environment. On the contrary, Besen believes that the men earn more than the women because of the nature of the jobs they engage in. his argument is however not true as women today are involved in roles that were predominantly dominated by males in the recent past. Nowadays we find women in the military, in scientific fields such as NASA and all other spheres that were deemed male domains. What this proves is that women are just as capable as the males in these areas. It, therefore, beats logic when women are discriminated on such lines.
Dauer and Gomezin their article "Violence Against Women And Economic, Social And Cultural Rights In Africa". argues that women should, in fact, be equally empowered ass their male counterparts since they have the ability to multitask, unlike men who are only capable of handling one task at a time. Therefore, it is unfair to treat them in an unequal manner. The opportunities should be presented to both the men and the women in an equal manner. It is the merits of the individual that should determine his or her competence in a certain field. The women should not be viewed as just dependents on the man, or as just soft and weak individuals who cannot do certain activities meant for the men. Dauer and Gomez indicates that women are equally endowed as the men. He states that a woman can flawlessly undertake similar activities that are undertaken by the men. We have all seen women driving cars and operating heavy machinery, an activity that was initially viewed as a mans. Consequently, the women should be treated equally.
Iyanuolu, in his study titled The challenge of culture for the rights of women in Africa, states that in most societies the women are unequally treated because of the cultural norms and beliefs. Religion, for instance, has been used by some cultures as a mechanism for oppressing women. Some religions forbid women from taking up leadership positions. Some practices that were practiced ages ago should just be discarded as they are no longer valid. Iyanuolu indicates that most people believe that the woman is not important in the society. Mistreating women in the current era, on the grounds of what was happening in the past, is simply primitive.
Discrimination of women as a practice has been going on for ages. Different generations had their own misguided notions and fears as to why women should not be treated equally as the men. In this day and age, however, gender discrimination should not be a topic to be discussed as it is no longer valid. For the progress of society women should be treated equally as their male counterparts, should have equal access to opportunities just as the male and be allowed to explore their potential without any restraint placed on them. In so doing a progressive society will be realized, economically socially, environmentally and politically.
Besen, Y. "Book Review: Why Men Earn More, By W. Farrell. New York: Amacom, 2005". Men and Masculinities 9.4 (2007): 545-547. Web.
Dauer, Sheila, and Mayra Gomez. "Violence Against Women And Economic, Social And Cultural Rights In Africa". Hum Rights Rev 7.2 (2006): 49-58. Web.
Iyanuolu, Atoyebi. "The Challenge Of Culture For The Rights Of Women In Africa: A Critical Analysis Of The Protocol To The African Charter On Human And Peoples' Rights On The Rights Of Women In Africa". Hdl.handle.net. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.
Mueller, Stephen L. "GenderaBased Income Disparity Among SelfaEmployed Professionals". Journal of Enterprising Comm 1.4 (2007): 293-307. Web.
Wgea.gov.au,. "About Workplace Gender Equality | The Workplace Gender Equality Agency". N.p., 2016. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.
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