Different Forms Of Gender Inequality
Different Forms Of Gender Inequality

Different Forms Of Gender Inequality

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  • Pages: 2 (935 words)
  • Published: November 9, 2021
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Why is a womens right to make decision about her body central to the global debate about gender equality? One striking aspect of the gender-based violence and associated inequality that face women is its universality. The dynamics surrounding extent and perception of women’s and girls’ maltreatment is influenced by several factors including the prevailing religious beliefs, culture, history, region, economic system, and even political systems. In this regard, the factors influence the extent and manner in which the society responds to maltreatment scenarios. Burn (2005) correlates the women’s status around the world with gender inequality alluding that women are particularly disadvantaged in several spheres relative to men in the same region. As a result, this is reflected in social relations, in the legal systems as well as political systems (Burn 2005). In light of this, this paper discusses the debate on gender inequality with special attention to the link it has to the women’s right to make decisions pertaining to their bodies.

Gender inequality takes different forms. Some regions also happen to be more impacted by certain forms compared to others. In this regard, Africa, and South East Asia are such areas where gender inequalities are quite pronounced. A common feature of the regions is that poverty levels are quite high. Similarly, most of such regions have had a history of political or civil violence. Notably, women are more vulnerable to the prevailing dire economic situation as they occasionally have to take care of the children as sole breadwinners. For instance countries like Sierra Leone and Kenya have experienced heightened cas

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es of gender-based violence perpetrated against women. Gender-based violence has been meted on women in various forms including sexual abuse including rape. In other reported cases, victims have suffered domestic violence including battery. Female genital mutilation is also common in these African countries. In developed countries like the US, emphasis to tackle inequality is being placed on equality at the workplace and reproductive rights (Burn 2005). Women also fall victims to such as female infanticide and human trafficking (Burn 2005).

It is, however, a very striking phenomenon just how the abuse faced by women and girls relate to the limitations often placed on them regarding the control they have over their bodies. A lot of activism by feminist activists has been around the creation of an environment where women are able to have control over their bodies. This campaign certainly takes different forms in different countries and localities depending on the most prevalent forms of inequality. Empowerment of women, especially financially, as has been demonstrated by microfinance initiatives in Kenya, is integral to making women take charge of their lives. The Western world has been one zone where women, often unknown to them, get manipulated by societal expectations. The women keep trying to conform to the shape and weight norms propagated by media (Burn 2005). As such, some undergo surgeries while others alter feeding habits resulting to attain a certain supposedly ideal shape and weight.

The issue of women’s right to decide on various aspects of her body has been on matters affecting reproduction. Women ought to be able to place a limit,

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by own choice, on the number and spacing of children they have (Katzive 2015). This, as a right, entails availability of viable contraceptive methods. The impact of having women who can take charge of their reproductive health is a boost to their health. When contraceptive options are unavailable unplanned pregnancies increase. Maternal deaths as well as abortions also increase. Around the world, availability of contraceptives remains a challenge (Katzive 2015). This is tied to factors like inadequate knowledge, unaffordability of the contraceptives and men’s influence on when and if contraceptives will be used.

Other culturally imposed activities like female genital cutting (FGC), which is common in many African and Asian countries curtail women’s ability to make choices over their own bodies. FGC is not only a painful experience but may also lead to excessive bleeding and death. In the long term, childbirth complications may also result. A lot of resources, usually provided by Western countries and organizations, have been spent in trying to eradicate the practice in many of these communities often with mixed results. A major hindrance to the attainment of success in tackling FGC has been the misconception, by the western organizations that the tradition is perpetuated with the aim of hurting women. This view of superiority over the practicing communities has been a setback to the fight against FGC. Women, in many of these communities, face discrimination when they opt not to undergo the process. They may fail to get husbands while their peers who have undergone the practice view them as a disgrace.

In essence, these and other practices around the world weaken a woman’s ability to make decisions about her body and instead she is forced to live to society’s expectation. Economic marginalization exacerbates the woman’s problems. It is evident that a major limiting factor contributing to women’s victimization results from the limited ability to decide on matters that directly affect them. It is, therefore, critical that governments, the United Nations, and other collaborating organizations place emphasis on projects that empower women to be in charge of their circumstances including economically and in terms of reproductive choices. It is then that they can enjoy the right to decide on matters affecting their bodies and consequently enhance their position in the society.

References

  1. Burn, S. M. (2005). Women across cultures: A global perspective. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Katzive, C. E. (2015). Margaret Sanger: Demonstrating Leadership and Legacy Through Her Crusade For Women’s Reproductive
  3. Rights. History Teacher, 49(1), 127-138.
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