Friday, August 22, 2008

Second Class Citizens

Why and when women are second-class citizens - By Jumana Al Tamimi, Associate Editor (Gulf News)

"In patriarchal societies, as well as liberal ones, millions of women are forced to deal with different forms of discrimination and abuses at their work places and in their homes.

Sometimes, men install glass ceilings to separate women, which prevent them from moving up in their careers. Sometimes, it is manifested through salaries with women being paid less than men. At other times, it takes the form of physical or psychological abuse. Discriminatory laws and social norms, which give preference to men in different fields, also reduce women to the status of a "second class citizen".

Amazingly, many studies have shown that women who are subjected to violence and abuse are from all segments of society, including those from well-educated and well-off social classes. Yet, they don't speak about it because of shame, fear or out of concern that it would negatively affect their social status.

Societies and women alike share the blame for the situation by accepting the abuse and, in some cases, justifying it.

On the other hand, women activists say that many females, regardless of their education, feel "insulted" when activists speak to them about the need to end the abuse they are being subjected to.

Today, over 185 countries, over 90 per cent of the members of the UN, are party to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The Convention, which was established in 1979 by the the UN General Assembly, is considered as the "international bill of rights for women".

It consists of a preamble and 30 articles, and defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree.