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Gender Inequality: Discrimination and Violence against Women

Discrimination against women is still common in today’s society. This discrimination comes in two dimensions; harmful practices against women such as child marriages and violence against women, like sexual and physical abuse. One area that has been getting extensive attention is the unfairness women undergo in society and even in workplaces. Women work longer hours and receive less pay compared to men. Women make up two-thirds of the literate population, which is higher than that of the men. Regardless, men still own more property and are in more senior ranking positions compared to women; less than 10% of women are in political positions, which explains the extent of discrimination against women in the society all around the world.

Gender inequality has existed for centuries, and women continue to be maltreated while men are given an upper hand. This imbalance also affects economic growths and development in the workplace. Gender equality in the workplace agitates for women to have the same opportunities and get similar payments as men for the same equal work. Women earn less than men in the very occupation of work (Jewkes, Flood, and Lang). Sex and racial discrimination in the workplace are most common in pay, hiring, and or promotions. Additionally, the gender wage gap across the world tracks by race/ethnicity and by age. The reasons for the gender wage gap include level of qualifications, experience, education, and type of job – typically the jobs traditionally done by women pay less on average than those by men.

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Child marriage is a violation of fundamental human rights, which can cause lifelong harm to the minor. Child marriages deny the victims an education, which reduces the opportunity of being independent and productive citizens. Victims of early marriage have a high risk of being physically abused by their partner, which eventually affects their wellbeing. Child marriage happens across countries, cultures, and religions and efforts to abolish such a practice becomes difficult and almost impossible. Child brides are found in regions in the world, from the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Every year 12 million girls are married before they are even 18 years of age. Over 650 million women that are alive today were married as a child (UNICEF n. pag.). These marriages are fuelled by gender equality, insecurity, and traditions. In many communities where children are forced into early marriages, girls are not valued as much as their male counterparts. Instead, they are seen as a source of income in the form of the dowry offered to the bride’s family at marriage. Child marriage is also valued and practiced to control how a female’s sexual preference should be monitored. For example, the behavior, dressing, and sexual preference are all controlled by other parties. Families are highly protective of the girl's sexuality and virginity in their goal to protect the honor of the family. Girls who have sex outside of marriage are considered immoral and dishonorable. Child marriage is a traditional practice that has been passed down across generations, which complicates the possibility of abolishing the practice in some communities. In some countries, when a girl starts her menstrual cycle, she is seen as a woman in the community where marriage is the next step as she is considered ready to become a mother and wife. In particular, girls from low-income families are the most affected when it comes to early marriages as they find ways to support themselves and their families. When parents give their daughters up for marriage, it allows them to reduce the family and expenses like food, education, and clothing. The parents see investing their male children’s education as more valuable and more secure way to protect the interests of the family. On the other hand, marriage of their daughters is a way to pay debts and allow the family settle social, political, and economical credit. In some cases, parents marry their daughters off for their safety – commonly, where they are at a high risk of sexual harassment and physical assault to extents, the family may not manage to protect them.

Violence against women and girls is now considered a human rights violation, affecting more than 100 billion women and girls. Approximately 35% of women around the world have experienced physical and sexual abuse. Mostly the damage happens from their partners, non-partners, parents, or friends. Child marriage and trafficking are all forms of violence against women, which can result in psychological and physical pain. Women and girls both face violence at home, school, work, and their communities. Some women and girls face the risk of experiencing physical or sexual abuse in those who are getting married young before the age of 18, 'child brides' and also have little education. The global burden of sexually transmitted diseases and diseases in general estimates that over 30% of girls and women aged 15 and older suffer from physical and sexual partner abuse. Since most of the violence against women is from their intimate partner, this captures most incidences of violence and abuse against women. The three stages of managing violence against women and children are monitoring, investigating, and sentencing are the three most important (World Health Organization 12). The monitoring demonstrates confidence in the system; investigation shows real bond by the police and or legal establishment; sentencing shows justice being achieved from the case. The capacity to redress crimes should be measured to determine whether the citizens trust the formal system enough to go to the police or court.

How is gender equality achieved? If women had the same privilege as men, they would not only be successful in their work field but also in their everyday lives. They would be positioned to make more money, which would then make them more financially stable and support the pursuit of proper education and many more important developments. Further, empowered women will be better placed to succeed in their professional lives by getting desired positions, promotions, and even starting their successful organizations (Jewkes, Flood, and Lang). When more women get promotions and higher-income, it allows them the power to take fairly challenge men and also have the opportunity to provide for their children instead of relying on their husbands for financial support. Furthermore, women can be good role models to their daughters by teaching them the impact of independence and self-reliance. Young girls continuing school helps reduce challenges like child marriages allowing them to get the appropriate education like their male counterparts. When the girls are allowed education opportunities, it betters their wellbeing while also uplifting the overall social status. Ending child marriage also reduces child deaths and lowers childbirths as well as other associated harmful behaviors affecting them. Independent women easily find a way out of abusive relationships and are empowered to lead successful lives without relying on men.

Developed countries such as the United States, Canada,, and other European counties have clear rules that protect women's rights and have helped reduce the injustices against women. Women in these countries are also aware of their rights and can fight and defend themselves in instances of probable abuse (WHO n. pag). However, this is not the case with developing and underdeveloped countries, which are ranked rather low in advocating for women's rights. Women in these countries have less or no knowledge of their rights, and the legal options they have in case they encounter such injustices (WHO n. pag.). Governments in developing countries are faced with many problems, including corruption, which hinders the fight for women's rights. Gender inequality exists all over the. Still, it is less common in some countries and common in others depending on factors such as culture, customs, political stability, and the legal system of a nation.

According to the world economic forum, 7% of women are likely to suffer severe injuries in car crashes because safety features are designed for men (Jewkes, Flood, and Lang). Researchers from the University of Virginia conducted research that found women drivers are likely to be injured in car accidents than men. The study was conducted in the year 2011 with a sample of 45,000 crash victims over the past 11 years (Zhu, Zhao and Coben 228). The study found out that the positioning of head restraints, women's shorter heights, different neck, and musculature, as well as preferred sitting position, mean women are more susceptible to injuries. This proves to be injustices against women because car safety features fever men making women at a high risk of getting fatal injuries. This is the case because most of the car manufacturing companies are run by men, and their failure to consider women's safety makes them unjust against women.

According to the World Bank women, business, and law repot, which samples 186 countries all over the world, only six countries give women equal working rights as men. Women in these nations have rights when it comes to operating conditions since women may require different facilities from those of men. Women's careers are also taken into account by giving them equal opportunities as men when it comes to promotions and other career development opportunities. Women's pay is also fair like that of the men. A typical economy, however, gives women only two-thirds of the men's rights in employment. A lot of effort is therefore needed to achieve gender equality in employment and payment of women worldwide.

Research indicates that it will take 108 years to close the gender inequality gap that exists between women and men globally. A report on a study conducted in 106 countries worldwide reveals that some countries will delay the process of bridging this gap because of factors such as economic and political empowerment of women. Some states are ahead of others, while others are lagging in women's rights issues. This makes it difficult to achieve global women's rights and equality effectively. Other factors, such as educational attainment and health and survival, also need to be put into consideration so that the gap can be closed. The government plays an important role when it comes to gender inequality as it is responsible for the formulation and enforcement of laws that can protect the woman.

One out of five women in the United States has experienced sexual and physical abuse from their significant other. Discrimination in workplaces affects women as they are paid less for working more hours compared to men. Child marriages are a significant issue in some communities, especially in developing countries that affect women and prove the existence of gender inequality. Female genital mutilation is a practice in some cities around the world that affects women psychologically and can even lead to death due to over bleeding. Women and girls both face violence at home, school, work, and their communities. There is a need for awareness to reduce the unfairness that women are subjected to. Governments should enact laws that protect the rights of women and punishment for those who go against them. Gender equality can be achieved through the corporation from both genders and the realization that women can do what men can do.

Works Cited

  1. Jewkes, Rachel, Michael Flood and James Lang. 'From work with men and boys to changes of social norms and reduction of inequities in gender relations: a conceptual shift in prevention of violence against women and girls.' Science Direct 385.9977 (2015): 1580-1589. Print.
  2. UNICEF. The State of the World's Children 2016: A Fair Chance for Every Child. New York: UNICEF, 2016. Print.
  3. World Health Organization. Responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women: WHO clinical and policy guidelines. Copenhagen: World Health Organization, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, 2013. Print.
  4. Zhu, Motao, et al. 'Why more male pedestrians die in vehicle-pedestrian collisions than females: a decompositional analysis.' Injury Prevention 19.4 (2013): 227-231. Print.

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