By Bisma Safdar
I wonder how in today’s world the gender of the baby still concerns people!
Gender discrimination starts from within our own families, by our own parents. Even a mother welcomes the birth of her daughter with guilt which means abandoning her own gender. Back in time, when a female child was born she was buried alive, as she was considered to be a burden.
This discrimination persists and escalates in the house as the female child gets unequal love, education and financial rights. Unequal love can be described via giving a simple example of unequal feedings which would mean a male child getting a good piece of chicken or fruit as compared to the female child. The female child is also made to learn to sacrifice for her brother and do her chores. On the contrary, brothers would not do these chores. Hence, it gives the male child a perception that it is a woman’s duty to do all the household chores. Why is she responsible for that? Why can a man not do his own chores? Like a woman is expected in today’s world to take up her financial responsibility then why can he not do his own chores? In some families, financial rights and responsibilities are on the male member of the family. He is considered to be the bread earner. Seeing the current economic scenario, a man solely can’t fulfill the family’s needs. In these times family demands are hard to be met with rising inflation.
Male child also gets more pocket money and he gets to spend more money on luxury. The female child is considered as a burden to the parents whom they have to marry off eventually. They fear the burden of dowry. She is married off early so that parents do not have to take up more of her responsibility. In rural areas, she is not provided her right of education as women are considered to work in kitchens and do house chores. Also, parents think even if they invest on their education, they would not get the return.
A woman is not even independent to take her decisions. The society has created more male authority and power over women, which has created aggression in the male gender of the society. They feel they are superior to women and however, abuse them. This aggression has also led to domestic violence. Women are beaten up by their husbands, their in-laws and sometimes their parents too. The sad part is that they are expected to live with it and keep on sacrificing. This is usually common in rural areas.
Domestic violence also includes honor killings, marital rapes, acid attacks and burial of women. Honor killings are when the daughter or wife is found to be indulged an activity which would question the honor of her family or husband. If the wife or daughter does not listen or do what they want then they are treated with abuse which includes acid attack and physical abuse, sometimes by burying them as well. However, if we see men of the family are usually engaged in shameful acts such as extra marital affairs. Where is the family honor then? Why aren’t they killed? Women of the family are expected to compromise more and not stand up or speak against their basic rights and problems being faced by them instead they are expected to compromise and continue living their life for the sake of family’s happiness and honor, WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO SURVIVE THIS??
Moreover, cases of marital rapes are common which is women are forced to have sex by their husbands. This has ended up in women facing with vaginal tears. Cases have been reported where women are rushed to hospitals where they are heavily bleeding with vaginal tears and have to undergo major surgeries eventually.
Now looking into the economic side, women are denied of the basic and most important right of education. This is because parents think they would not get any return of investing in their education. Women are ought to work on the kitchen and do household chores. Wasting her energy in the household chores and then getting questioned what she does all day is another story. This biasness in education leads to low literacy rate and lack of awareness which leads to many other problems like hygiene, family planning, pollution and other issues leading to low standards of living.
Working women also face immense discrimination. Firstly, because of low literacy rate and insecurity as men cannot see women progressing and getting more success than him. It is a matter of honor for some males too as the ladies of the family are working with men. However, in some educated families women have started working now but they face the discrimination at workplace. There is no pay scale difference between male and female at same designation, but women face discrimination when being promoted or in decision making. Their opinion or say is not taken into consideration as she is stereotyped as non-logical. There is unfair representation. She is not relied upon as organizational heads think she has household responsibilities and family responsibilities which would result in her inefficiency. This reason also leads to discrimination when hiring for a particular designation, men are preferred more than women. Women also face workplace harassment and bullying.
Women today have to work hard to break the stereotypes and make people believe that their mindset is wrong by working and practicing against the stereotypes, portraying an image of strong women.