Gender discrimination has been a thorny issue from time immemorial in many countries in the world. It refers to a situation in a nation that women are treated as an inferior gender hence they are relegated to the periphery on important matters. It is important to highlight that gender discrimination is not only an issue in third world countries, but it is a widespread phenomenon that is prevalent developed countries notably the United States. Gender discrimination outlines the disastrous experiences as well as discrimination that women are subjected to not only at the national level but also in their communities. The issue of gender discrimination has been considered as a human rights issue for a long time. Various nongovernmental organization and countries have therefore been sensitized to streamline their governments to extend equal rights and privileges to the women and the girl child (United States Department of Labor, 1972).
History of Gender Discrimination
Discrimination against women and the girl child, in general, has been so rampant in many countries in the world over. it has raised the concern of activists championing for equal gender rights. As human rights issue, various stakeholders have come up strongly to oppose effects by governments to profile women and deny them the privilege to participate effectively in public life. It is imperative to observe that women should not be treated as second are the citizen where a few individuals can decide when to involve wholesomely them in public affairs. Gender based abuse as well as discrimination at times may be sanctioned by societies that these people live and may at times be made into law or is simply tolerated . It is evident that in a democratic or authoritarian country the rights of women are violated with impunity. Women are denied the basic right to vote or even hold public offices.
Women for a long time have been subjected to atrocities like rape, sexual buses especially from the people they trust most. Women are also not given the chance to choose whom to marry or to decide how many children they should have.As spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all women are born the same and they should unconditionally access equal dignity and rights,. However this is not the case in many countries. The freedom, dignity as well as equality of women of are consistently compromised through the enactment of repressive laws and oppressive customs in our societies (The American Association of University Women, 2015).
Since the year 1945, it is evident that the government of the United States has made immense progress in the promotion of human rights at the international level. However, it has at times failed to comply adequately with these standards abroad. The United States has not uniformly implemented these rights (Lumby 2015). It is, therefore important to highlight that the combination of aspects of leadership, as well as resistance to comply with some principle, is what characterizes the ambivalent behavior of human rights record in the United States. Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, the former presidents of the United States, took a major role that led in the creation of the powerful organ of the United Nations. They were equally responsible for the enactment of the policy of the universal declaration of the human rights way back in the year 1948 (Bobba, 2014).
It is crucial to highlight that since the inception of the cold war, only a handful of countries placed the emphasis of the foreign policy on how to promote human rights. The United States majorly began to place special emphasis on human rights later in the 1970’s through the legislation of laws that would promote this. The state department was equally committed as it annually made an assessment on how successful the various forms of human rights had been adopted by various governments in different parts of the world. This has proven the effort of the government of the United States in safeguarding the basic human rights of all people. The rights of women against discrimination being among those that are protected.
It is interesting to note that the US government has itself paid lip service to the issue of discrimination of women its background. On several location bodies like the convention on the rights of children and the agency that champions the elimination of discrimination against women has had conflict with the way the US government was handling this issue. The American government, therefore, has been accused of being not only insincere but also hypocritical or even arrogant. It is also true that many other nations that are developed could be equally being rightly accused of grave violation of various human rights (Rahi, 2015)
The issue of gender discrimination is not widespread among the western nation as it in the United States. Various human rights groups have been at the fore front in exposing the rot and the inhuman treatment that has been meted on the women since time. Gender equality in the larger region of the United States has been diminishing tremendously for a long time in history. It was only until recently in the 1900’s that considerable progress has been made regarding a move to ensure equality among men and women (Bobba, 2014).
United State as a country continues to practice various forms of gender bias, especially on political representation and occupations. Women in the United States cannot fully access occupational opportunities as their male counterparts. There is also the problem of unequal distribution of household chores. This only reinforces the fact that the girl child is still under threat. Several legislation in far as in the 1920’s have been proposed as away to deal with the gender gap. This legislation even continues to be enacted in an endeavor to realize equality between the male and female gender. It interesting to pinpoint despite the United States boasting as the most powerful and influential country in the world, the world Economic Forum ranks as 22nd best country regarding countries with gender equality.
The US Constitution is a progressive document that is against the discrimination of people in various forms. In the modern contemporary world women deserve an equal opportunity just like their male counterparts to access educational opportunities, work in any office as well as be healthy and effectively participate in various ways in the building of the nation. However, this is not the cases most countries in the world over, especially the United States.
Violation of Human Rights through Gender Discrimination
It is important to acknowledge that for a long period of time, women groups and other activists have dedicated their focus to address the civil and politic rights of the women. Organization that work both at the national and international level have come up with progressive policies to address gender based abuses. The various abuses that women have been subjected to include: inequality to access of educational opportunities, housing, healthcare employment, Reproductive freedom, rape and domestic violence among others. It is important to pinpoint that while human rights standards s may be put into practice the policy to protect the rights and welfare of women. The human rights organizations are usually tasked with the responsibility of taking action on abuses targeting women on individual basis or those that are state sanctioned.
It is important to highlight that women and the girl child have the right to participate in their communities and are at liberty to enjoy their basic rights’ without the fear of being discriminated. In most societies, those norms that have been established for women limit their participation in opportunities. In most cases, the women and the girl child have been relegated to the level of being, mothers, manual laborers, home givers and caregivers. It is crucial to observe in these cases where the women are limited in times of opportunities; they are exposed to greater risks of poverty, illiteracy and marginalization. In the cases where the women are discriminated, they are not equally not allowed to pursue a career, education, as well as they, cannot make binding decisions in their communities (Human Rights and Social Work, 2015).
Gender discrimination is also considered a major human rights abuse especially when it becomes violent. There have been reported cases in most communities in the world over about the atrocities that are meted on women by the males. Such violence has resulted to body harm, incapacitation and even death to the women. It is prudent to observe that gender based violence is rampant among the rural population than in urban centers. Efforts to combat cases of this type of violence have been futile because the victims do not speak out, and neither do they report the cases to relevant authorities due to the stigma associated with domestic violence.
Another issue that is considered an abuse among women is female genital mutilations. Human right activists have vehemently opposed this practice as it is not only a painful experience but also a retrogressive practice. It is undeniable that female genital mutilation causes body harm and other health complication to the girl child. These practices are also considered to be an abuse to the rights of the women. It is crucial to highlight that the entire world, women have the inalienable right to live in their communities without the fear of being subjected to violent experiences. Such women are also at liberty to deliberately on their volition access educational opportunities and quality health care as well as hold any job that they wish in an endeavor to lift their families from abject poverty.
It is clear that it is difficult to deal with the struggle to safeguard the rights of the women in most societies. The United Nations World Conference on human rights that was held in 1993 emphasized the fact that the existing laws and policies on human rights should reiterate that women rights are basically human rights..Gender based violence therefore must be considered as human rights abuses. Efforts have been put in place to recognize the adoption of structures that would prevent discrimination against women..The Convention on elimination of All Firms of Discrimination Against women a step towards achieving this noble goal.
In many countries after so much activism, there is an effort to streamline the issue of gender discrimination. Most countries both in the developed as well as the developing countries have prioritized the enactment of various laws that are tailored to enhance gander equity among other policies. There is an effort to guarantee women equal access to educational and job opportunities. This has gone a long way in enhancing public participation of women. It is equally important to observe that in most countries, women have been empowered. They are at liberty to seek for political office without any form of discrimination. All these efforts are geared towards achieving affirmative action especially on issues that target the girl child and women in general.
It is from this background that (CEDAW) is at the forefront to encourage all stakeholders to extend equal concerns to human rights accorded to women. This body also recognizes the range of human rights that are gender specific and reinforce their adoption by governments in different countries. This body CEDAW has also prioritized initiatives if implemented can cushion women and the girl child in general from extreme gender-based human rights violation like sex slavery, maternal mortality as well as property and inheritance rights. CEDAW is, therefore, a well-intentioned human rights crusader that can be used by women to advocate and champion for their rights. This body is, therefore, a standardized benchmark upon which all the countries should endeavor to subscribe to. As already mentioned on how the United Sates deal with human rights it remains to be the only one of the seven countries that has not yet ratified the treaty (Jackson & Wu, 2015).
Action to Guarantee Protection from Gender Discrimination
I deliberately chose a letter as a medium through which the issue of gender discrimination would be mitigated or even completely eliminated. I strongly believe that addressing the issue of gender discrimination through the letter to the editor will be awake up call to a people to rise up against various forms of gender discrimination.
I chose to write the letter to the editor so as to be published in the dailies and online. This was a deliberate move to enable many people access information about the unfortunate situation that women were being exposed to in the 21st century. The use of the letter is a more effective than methods than what the activists use like demonstration. This is because many people all over the world can read the letter online. The use of the letter also is a personal and passionate appeal to individuals and government to prioritize elimination of various forms of gender discrimination that is meted on the women and the girls child.
However despite my effort to use the letter to address this issue the role of the Nongovernmental organization in the championing of human rights against discrimination of women cannot be underestimated. Nongovernmental agencies, for example, The Agency against Discrimination of Women has reiterated that it is morally wrong and, in fact, abuse of the human rights to discriminate women using any parameters. Research has indicated that countries that practice discrimination against women have the risk of being unequal. In most cases, such countries have lagged behind in development because part of their active population- the women, have been isolated and cannot therefore objectively participate in the development of their countries. The letter is therefore meant not only to create awareness about the difficulties women and the girl child are exposed to. The letter is earmarked to address the inhuman treatment and proposes the various ways which governments can use to eliminate the social vice of gender discrimination
It is important to point out that no one chooses to be borne in a particular gender group. Gender discrimination is therefore a result of misplaced stereotypes in the societies that we live in. It is therefore quite illogical to discriminate or intimidate a person of the female gender because one feels that it is an inferior gender group. It is important to argue that all women regardless of origin and race deserve a life with the crucial opportunities to get educate, work and improve their individual lives. In many countries, this is not the cases. Women have been thrown to the periphery. They are not included and neither are they involved in the social and economic spheres of their lives. Many women and the girls live in rigid circumstances which in most cases results in skewed access to basic and essential services, thus is a violation of their human rights (Agosi??n, 2001).