The unceasing debate about women’s right crisis goes way back, farther than any one of us might know. Even today, there are certain social stigmas about women that are broadly accepted in many cultures across the globe. These ‘unjust notions’ are an inevitable result of negligence stemming from backward and unprogressive countries. Despite all odds, many problems regarding women’s rights are unanswered and widely prevalent in 2018.
I initially learned about glass escalator from one of my coursework books ‘Sociology’ by Anthony Giddens, and the terms itself was quite thought provoking. Despite awareness, women are held back in female-dominated careers as men tend to outclass them in their professions. Take for example, nursing and designing careers. These are instances of female driven professions; however, men have no limitations in view of choosing their career paths as women do. We do not get to see women working in construction now, do we? Hence, there is an imbalanced equation in place here.
Women, who feel the need to outshine men in male-dominated careers, often end up in a muddle. This contributes to gender discrimination and inequality. Similarly, glass escalator is an invisible barrier that consciously or subconsciously affects women and their self-esteem. The society might not be aware of this issue but it indirectly favors men over women.
Gender Inequality at Work
“This is a woman’s job!” We hardly get to hear such brazen phrases in the public. Many individuals condemn feminism and socially label women as their ‘property’, especially in workplaces. According to a 2014 report by ‘Inter-Parliamentary Union’, women across the globe make up 22% of parliamentarians whereas the rest of them are males. Sexual favors, harassment and low paid salaries for women are contributing factors that fall under gender inequality at work. A male CEO of a business company might be earning ten times more than a female CEO in another organization. Those in power predominately formulate rules and regulations of an organization and majority of them are men who define them.
Reproductive Freedom at Stake
Women should reserve the right to protect their bodies whichever way they feel most comfortable. Reproductive freedom alone is not bound to birth control or abortion only, but also includes healthcare for women. They should be able to decide whether to abort or give birth to a child freely, without any imposition. Unfortunately, in conservative societies, abortion can result in some serious repercussions. This is yet another factor that limits women’s freedom. It leads them on a path they did not choose for themselves.
Probably the most commonly talked about issue regarding women’s rights crisis is violence. Although men and children are subject to cruelty, a majority of victims are females as evidenced in the World Health Organization (WHO) report updated in November 2014.
Domestic violence, forced prostitution, honor killings, stoning, sexual harassment and other outrageous practices contribute to inequality.
Battle of Sex Trade and Trafficking
A large number of teenage boys including children are trafficked for sex trade by means of generating money. Women and children make up 98% of trafficking victims as quoted by ‘Equality Now’ and ‘Freedom for Innocence.’ On the pretext of better job opportunities, young girls are lured into misleading gimmicks, mostly unemployed, underprivileged and homeless. Sex trade and trafficking has led many young girls to transform themselves into prostitutes and sex workers including young boys and children.
Unless these core concerns are not addressed through institutional action, no one can assure enriched human rights for women. It is high time that we go beyond conducting impractical seminars and workshops and commit to an anthropological approach, which includes extensive fieldwork and creating policies that affect women of all races.