Essay on Gender Equality is a Myth in the World

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        • Introduction
        • If we have a comprehensive look on the global conditions, we come to the conclusion that absolute gender equality is not visible even in the developed countries.
        • Manifestations of Gender Inequality on Socio-economic and Political Fronts
          1. Female infanticide and sex-selective abortions
          2. Ingrained favouritism towards sons
          3. Babies' gender impact on the quality as well as longevity of marriages
          4. Reduced health opportunities for women
          5. Women's low educational attainment
          6. Increased gender-based violence
          7. Decreased mobility opportunities
          8. Unequal participation in the labour market
          9. Discrimination with respect to salaries and remuneration
          10. Women's weaker voice in economic decisions
          11. Unequal share in property
          12. Under-representation in the political field
          13. Denial of voting right
        • Factors Perpetuating Gender Inequality in Pakistan
        • Vicious cycle of poverty
        • Entrenched illiteracy
        • Regressive cultural values
        • Agriculture-based economy
        • Rural incidence of society
        • Deteriorating law and order situation
        • Poor implementation of women-centric laws
        • Conclusion

    If we have a comprehensive look on the global conditions, we come to the conclusion Ithat absolute gender equality is not visible even in the developed countries. Streaks of gender discrimination do exist in some spheres of life over there. It is, however, the developing countries where gender discrimination is a burning issue. Pakistan being a developing country is no exception in this respect. In Pakistan, like other third world countries, all spheres of life are woefully imbued with excessive disparities, making gender equality a dismal myth. All aspects of life, be it family, marriage, children education, health, career development speak volumes for the entrenched gender gaps in the society. Patriarchal ideologies and practices have permeated in the social, economic, religious and political structures to such an alarming extent that they have made gender-based discrimination a stark and naked reality in the society. Women are subordinated to men on all fronts. For instance, on the social horizon, gender discrimination manifests itself right from the birth of a girl. We see that sons are not only preferred to daughters, but they are also provided more opportunities, be it education, health, or career development.

    Besides, women not only share household work more than men, they also bear the brunt of the domestic violence. The picture becomes further grim when we see that women have poor role in the household decision-making machinery, which is considered an exclusive domain of men in the society. Their role is so weaker that even decisions regarding their reproductive abilities are at the mercy of males, that is, their husbands. The economic front presents no better picture. We see women facing skewed employment opportunities, making them more vulnerable to poverty. Men are seen enjoying higher incomes with prestigious jobs, while women are usually assistants and have secondary jobs. Furthermore, women work more and earn less as compared to men. As regards property rights, discrimination does exist there. It is very rare that a woman receives property from her father, mother, brother or husband, which further heightens women's dependence on men. Like social and economic spheres, political aspect has also indelible imprints of male chauvinism. Politics is considered an exclusive field of men. As a result, we see that women not only face reduced opportunities in the political domain, but they also have weaker say in the political decision-making machinery. To be sure, there are a plethora of factors responsible for such entrenched gender-based discrimination in the society.

    Most prominent among them are the patriarchal nature of the society, regressive cultural values, vicious cycle of poverty, constant deterioration of law and order, dominance of religious elements in the society etc. These factors not only accelerate gender-based discrimination, pushing women to the margins, but also lead to treating of women as second-class citizen in the country. If these irritants are eliminated with the help of education and economic opportunities, the situation may improve to a great extent.

    If one has even a brief look at the prevalent conditions, one comes to the conclusion that the whole society is replete with a plethora of manifestations of genderbased discrimination, making gender equality an absolute myth. It is perhaps the social front which exhibits gender gaps of alarming proportions. And family, having prominent place in the social sphere, lays the foundations for gender discrimination. In developing countries like Pakistan, families have entrenched patriarchal practices and preferences. Women face discriminatory behaviour right from the birth. At the time of birth, a large number of female babies are denied their right to life in the form of abortions. No one can deny the rampant nature of sex-selective abortions in the society.

    Adding fuel to the fire, the advent of technologies like ultrasound has further increased the number of sex-selective abortions. Besides, the elimination of feinale babies through abortions is a common norm in the areas rife with poverty. It has been seen that in such areas, the immense pressure of poverty usually forces the parents to get rid of female babies in a cruel way, using ultrasounds and sonograms, because of which parents and in-laws awaiting the arrival of sons are able to know whether the child is a boy or girl, thus resulting in increased chances of sex-selective abortions. Besides, lack of accountability for the termination of pregnancy or what happened to a new-born child also increases the chances of abortions. Thus, denial of life in the form of abortions gives a huge blow to gender equality in the society.

    Coupled with sex-selective abortions, another fact that shatters the idea of gender parity is parents' biased attitude towards daughters. No one can deny the fact that sons are invariably favoured over daughters. Such attitude of favouritism is so ingrained in the society that it lays foundation for unfair treatment of daughters who are provided skewed opportunities, be it education, health or career development. Besides, it also increases their dependence on men. Briefly speaking, it would not be irrelevant if Pakistan is termed as the country of men or the nation of sons. Hence, it cannot be negated that favouritism towards sons is the main force behind women's treatment as second class citizens in the country.

    In addition to it, the fact that gender-based inequality is an undeniable reality in the society is further reinforced when one takes into consideration the impacts of sons or daughters over the couples' marriages. For instance, we see that women who have only bcys experience greater marital happiness than mothers who have only girls. Needless to say, when the gender make-up of siblings is all girls, it leaves a huge negative impact not only on the quality of marriage but also on mothers' sense of contentment. Mothers with more sons than daughters enjoy an advantage in marital happiness not shared by those with more daughters than sons. Additionally, having boys as opposed to girls also reduces the likelihood of divorce to great extent. Indeed, the rate of divorce is higher in the families, which have more daughters. Parents' strong desire for sons is the reason that most people keep giving birth to female babies until a son is born. Due to this phenomenon, most families have unequal ratio of girls and boys.

    The picture of gender inequality becomes more dismal and stark when one observes provision of reduced health opportunities to girls and women. There is no arguing about the fact that majority of girls and women are deprived of even the most basic health services, which not only heightens the female vulnerability to diseases but also decreases their usefulness in the society. It is perhaps the scarcity of reproductive and material health services where women suffer most. Maternal mortality in Pakistan is one of the highest in the region. Scarcity of physical infrastructure coupled with poverty and lack of education has further exacerbated the female health services. It is also pertinent to mention that inequality regarding health services is more prominent among the women living in rural areas, where illiteracy and early marriage of girls further contribute towards dismal maternal and reproductive health indicators. Thus, it can be safely said that such unfair provision of health services to women is one of the major hurdles in the way of women empowerment in the society.

    Apart from the health sector, the educational sphere also presents a dismal picture as far as gender equality is concerned. In Pakistan like other third world countries, people have tendency to prefer boys' education to girls. This is why we see majority of girls facing the deprivation of basic education. In schools, the number of girls is lower as compared to boys. There is no escaping the fact that in Pakistan, investment in girls education is one of the lowest in the region. That is why a child without education is much more likely to be a girl than a boy in the society. Denial of basic education to girls has, on one hand, resulted in low female literacy rate; while on the other, it has also undermined women empowerment in the economic and political spheres. In addition to denial of basic education, inequality is also reflected in the enrolment ratio, which is abysmally skewed. In fact, this ratio further becomes dismal and depressing when one observes the conditions in the secondary and higher education levels. The number of girls starts decreasing as the ladder of education moves higher. This is why the number of girls is shockingly lower as opposed to boys in colleges and universities. Thus, abysmal disparities in the educational sphere are testament to the fact that the country has miserably failed to bring women at par with men.

    Unsurprisingly, women's low educational attainment has given rise to other inequalities on the societal level. The most prominent among them is women's increased susceptibility to violence and harassment. The fact that women bear the brunt of genderbased violence has shattered the very concept of equality between men and women. Violence against women has not only added to the already dismal record of human rights of the country, but has also dealt a serious blow to health, dignity, security and autonomy of women, triggering physical as well as emotional effects. There is no denying that the physical and emotional fallout of violence leaves permanent damaging imprints on their personality. As regards the forms of violence, they vary from spousal beating, sexual violence, marital rape, dowry-related violence, honour crimes, early marriage, forced marriage, verbal and sexual abuse, harassment at work, trafficking of girls and women, to abuse and trauma related to not giving birth to a son. Besides, women are much more likely than men to be sexually assaulted as children, as adolescents or adults. There is no arguing the fact that violence is the result of inequality as it emanates from unequal power relationships between men and women.

    Among the most pervasive forms of violence is honour killing, which has absolutely battered the concept of equality between men and women in the society. Killing women in the name of honour is one of the most horrible evils which are deeply entrenched in the society. It not only gives credence to the dominant nature of male chauvinism, but it also proves women's treatment by the male members as disposable commodities. As far as factors behind honour killing are concerned, they are numerous. But most prominent among them is women's resorting to free will which usually appears in the form of refusing an arranged marriage or entering a relationship with someone disapproved of. One is quite shuddered while considering the fact that killing women in the name of honour is considered a way of restoring the reputation and honour of the family in the society. Prevalence of such inhuman cultural norm is not only indicative of the society's refusal to treat women on human level, but is also testament to the fact that the fate of women helplessly remains at the mercy of men. Undoubtedly, such grim scenario takes the gender bias to next level, considering the fact that the country's social history is replete with honour killings. It transpires that it will take centuries to bring women at par with men.

    Coupled with gender-based violence, women's reduced mobility further blackens the picture of equality between males and females. Like many other developing countries, in Pakistan, women as compared to men are also provided limited chances of movement outside home. Keeping women within the four walls is considered a tool of protection of family's honour. Apart from that, there are also other factors responsible for restrictions on women's mobility. Most remarkable among them is the constant prevalence of insecurity and fear in the society coupled with regressive cultural norms and poor transport infrastructure in the country. Needless to say, constrained mobility has many socio-economic implications. On one hand, it deprives women of access to information and awareness of rights; while on the other, it increases lack of skills among women. Apart from that, it not only weakens women empowerment on different fronts but also perpetuates women's dependence on men.

    As far as the manifestations of gender imbalance on the economic front are concerned, they are wide-ranging, making the picture quite bleak and unpromising. There is no denying the fact that women face more harsh and discriminatory conditions in the economic sphere as compared to men. They are not only faced with higher rates of unemployment but they also have fewer possibilities of career development. What is more troubling is the fact that most important and prestigious jobs are occupied by men while women have secondary jobs. Needless to say, economic inequality has multidimensional implications. It not only increases the chances of discrimination and exploitation of women by men, making their own home a dangerous place for them, but it also leads to women's increased vulnerability to poverty.

    Aside from skewed economic opportunities, gender inequality is also accentuated by the prevailing discrimination with respect to wages and salaries. There is no denying that women are highly under-paid as compared to men. Even in the same jobs, they are less paid than men. Women's less earning, on one hand, perpetuates the incidence of poverty in their families; while on the other, it reduces their spending on health side. Besides, it also has damaging implications on female education.

    For instance, due to low female wages and salaries in the economic sphere, most of parents are reluctant to invest in female education. Furthermore, the fact that gender inequality is an undeniable reality in the society is also manifested in the household's decision-making machinery which has alarming imprints of masculine hegemony. It is a common norm in the society that women have weaker say in the decision making. Almost all the decisions especially ones related to family's economy and finance are taken by the male members of the family. Needless to say, if women are given greater voice in the decision-making set-up, it can go a long way in boosting women empowerment in all spheres of life. Denial of such voice not only results in their decreased autonomy leading to female marginalization, but it also deals a severe blow to their self-respect and self-confidence. Thus, women's poor role in the decision making corroborates the fact that gender equality is a pipe dream in the society.

    Along with marginal say in the decision-making mechanism, denial of property rights to women equally contributes to the increasing gap between men and women in the society. It is an unfortunate fact that women are at most disadvantaged end as far as ownership of property and assets are concerned. A woman seldom receives property from her father, mother, brother or husband. Absence of ownership of assets is, in fact, one of major factors contributing to the increased domestic violence in the society since it gives rise to decreased female autonomy, leaving them at the merely of men. In fact, the phenomenon of denial of property rights to women has assumed such alarming proportions in the society that a woman's very demanding of her property rights is considered a taboo. Briefly speaking, weaker ownership of property not only poses grave threats to female security but also decreases female role in the decision-making structure at household level.

    Coupled with social and economic fronts, the political sphere also presents an abysmal picture of gender gap. Like other developing countries, Pakistan too has male-dominated political system in which women are abysmally under-represented. No one can deny the fact that in order to further women empowerment on the social and economic fronts, women's equal representation in the political domain is extremely crucial as women at the helm of political affairs are in better position to understand and solve gender sensitive issues. Although women constitute half of the population but they lack access to politica─▒l decision-making machinery. Women's equal participation is not only central to strengthening democracy but also necessary to further women's interests at all levels.

    Along with unequal representation in the political domain, inequality also manifesits itself in the form of limited voting opportunities for women. It has been seen that almost in all elections, women's participation is abysmally lower as compared to men. In fact, there are some areas in the country where women's participation in the electoral process is entirely absent. Aside from voting, their participation in other political processes like speaking out in political matters, assembly and association is also hampered by many barriers, making women much weaker than men on the political front. Among the formidable obstacles to women's active participation in the politics are ingrained maale chauvinism, rising societal insecurity and women's poor role in the economic mainstream. Due to these barriers, politics continues to remain an exclusive domain of men, quite unwelcoming and hostile for women. Furthermore, in addition to unfavourable cultural predilections, women are also faced with practical issues like paucity of financial resources, lower levels of education, less access to information, greater family responsibilities and deprivation of rights, leaving them with fewer opportunities to acquire political experience. With the exceptions of the close relatives of male politicians, women generally lack the political networks necessary for electoral success. These barriers are further magnified by volatile security situation, the political dominance of a · small group of elites, and the absence of well-established political parties of national level in the country. It is a hard truth that when political parties are based on prominent male personalities, it is harder for women to emerge as political leaders.

    After analyzing the manifestations of gender inequality on socio-economic and political fronts, it would be quite pertinent to shed light on the factors contributing to gender bias in the country. Among the profound contributors towards gender gaps are the dominant cultural practices and norms.

    These practices and norms are so ingrained and overwhelming that they have made gender equality a far-fetched dream. There is no denying the fact that Pakistani society is replete with a plethora of cultural factors which exacerbate gender bias to critical levels. Norms such as patrilocality, old age support from sons, dowry system, patrilineality, role of sons in religious rituals, desire to protect female safety and 'purity' etc. strengthen patriarchy in such a way that gender gaps assume alarming, proportions. There is no doubt that it is the cultural norms which exacerbate favouritism towards males, making gender bias a stark reality in the society. Needless to say, these regressive norms leave no stone unturned in posing overwhelming obstacles in the path of women empowerment, resulting in increased violations of women's rights.

    Adding fuel to the fire, these cultural forces are further accentuated by the vicious cycle of poverty. The nexus between gender bias and poverty cannot be negated. The fact that gender discrimination is more pronounced in developing countries than developed ones is dismal indication of correlation between gender gap and poverty. It is an undeniable fact that in developing countries, poverty leads to low household income, poor physical infrastructure, absence of advanced technology, agriculture-based economy and higher fertility rate which go a long way in constricting opportunities for women on socio-political and economic fronts, hence widening gender gaps to dismal extent. Obviously, the eradication of poverty is a must for boosting women empowerment in different walks of life.

    Aside from exacerbating the cultural forces, poverty also promotes people's subsistence on agriculture, especially in the developing countries. And in Pakistan, being a developing country, the roots of gender inequality can also be traced to agriculturebased economy. It also offers one explanation for the worse outcomes for women seen in the developing countries as major share of the economy comes from agriculture rather than services. As agriculture and manufacturing generally require more physical strength, hence men have comparative advantage in tasks involving physical strength. Whereas in the developed countries, women's performance on social, political and economic fronts is better because developed countries' economies involve services which have mentally intensive tasks rather than physical. And, women have comparative advantage in mentally intensive tasks. Besides, the agriculture-based economy also results in lower female wages which do not help women in the eradication of poverty.

    Coupled with poverty, illiteracy also plays key role in fuelling gender discrimination in the society. No one can deny the nexus between education and women empowerment. Lack of education not only leads to lack of awareness regarding women's rights, but also gives rise to constricted economic opportunities for women. The fact that gender gaps favouring males are larger in poor countries than in rich countries also owes its strength from the prevalence of illiteracy in poor countries. Illiteracy, on one hand, increases the underrepresentation of women in the labour force; while on the other, it results in decreased role of women in the household decision-making power, making them dependent on the males in different aspects of life. Briefly speaking, illiteracy is one of the leading contributors towards gender discrimination in the society.

    The rural incidence of society also contributes to worsening gender inequality in the country. The fact that most of the population lives in rural areas further increases women's vulnerability to gender-based discrimination. Rural areas harbour all the factors which exacerbate unfavourable conditions for women empowerment. For instance, in the rural society, poor physical infrastructure relating to health and education, absence of economic opportunities, strong role of clergy in the lives of population, and low household income are more striking and dominant as compared to cities.

    Besides, the worsening law and order situation is also responsible for increasing gaps between men and women in the country. Due to constant deterioration of security situation, women not only are confronted with meagre economic opportunities but their access to education is also restricted. Aside from constraining economic and educational opportunities for women, volatile security conditions, on one hand, are responsible for exacerbating gender-based violence; while on the other, they also lead to restricted mobility of women, thus leading to shrinking space for women's rights.

    Above all, the role of the government cannot be ignored as far as gender bias is concerned. Owing to government's apathy towards women empowerment, feminist legislation has always remained an area of great concern. The dearth of such legislation has not only reinforced patriarchal norms and values in the society, but it has also exacerbated the abuse of women's rights. It is an open secret that women's rights never register on political parties' radar as important issues. Political parties only pay lipservice to women's rights. If some feminist laws see daylight, their enforcement is the true challenge.

    All the above discussion drives us to the conclusion that in Pakistan, there is a high degree of gender inequality. Gender gaps are reflected in all aspects of the society, be it health, education, employment, decision-making power within household, property rights, physical mobility, personal autonomy, safety at work, political arena, remuneration. There is no denying that women's marginalization is one of the appalling truths in the country. However, the manifestations of gender discrimination can be curtailed if multipronged policies are initiated. Most important among them is education. Enormous investment in girls' education will not only create boom in the awareness of women's rights in the society, but it will also increase economic space for women, hence reducing their dependence on men. Apart from education, availability of safe public transport, extra-ordinary emphasis on feminist legislation, childcare provision at work place, safe working environment, increasing women's representation in the political field, equal remuneration in the labour market are the measures which can work wonders in narrowing the gap between men and women in the country.
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    Honey Notes: Essay on Gender Equality is a Myth in the World
    Essay on Gender Equality is a Myth in the World
    gender equality essay gender inequality essay conclusion for gender equality essay gender equality in britain today importance of gender equality gender equality in the uk essay on gender equality for class 7 uk gender equality laws gender uk gender equality laws in the united states gender inequality in america statistics gender inequality in america 2017 gender inequality in america facts gender inequality today's society history of gender inequality in america gender inequality in education in america gender equality 2019 gender inequality pay gap uk gender equality articles gender equality policy uk sexism in the uk gender equality today gender equality articles 2018
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