The need to celebrate ‘women’s day’ in itself is one of the biggest failures of the human civilization. In an equal world, there would be no prominent need for a day to celebrate a gender. However, such has been the gender disparity, or gender inequality against women in the world, that to recognize their efforts and bring them at par, we have been forced to dedicate a day for those very ladies without whom we wouldn’t even exist. Today, we won’t even talk about harassment faced by women. Neither about sexual abuse or rapes or the heinous crimes they suffer from. We will just talk about how a woman deals with gender disparity every day, and in every step she takes! Because while every man may not be a rapist, yet many of us are prime witnesses to the bias they face.
When we talk about crime against women, when we talk about gender disparity, about the deadly crimes committed against women – we wish to talk about how common men like you and me are responsible for a large part of issues faced by women in this world every single day, and it could be as low as being a party to bias against them at workplace, or ignoring the plight of uneducated women or even making do with the kind of restrictions imposed on them or even in the things they buy!
Here are some major areas we have picked which show how gender disparity exists even in the simplest of things.
Pretty often, we find that women earn lesser than what a man does for the same job, same profile and in the same workplace, even though they possess the same skills! One may argue that men can devote more hours to work and tend to take lesser leaves, for example, a man would not need a maternal leave, and a man can work even late in the night which most women would refuse to. However, even if we take the above factor into consideration, the pay gap is still too huge to justify the argument.
According to the World Economic Forum, women around the globe earn on an average $12000 year, compared to $21000 pocketed by men. If this has surprised you, we have some more data for you.
Women even in the most developed countries suffer from Pay Gap!
For those think we are talking about third world countries and the under developed nations, you are wrong! In the United States alone, a survey conducted in 2015 stated that women earn 80% of what men earn for the same kind of job. In fact, the number further significantly goes down for a woman with color. The World Economic Forum came up with the following data we’ve inserted below on Women’s day of 2017. The scariest part here is, Iceland – considered to be the most gender neutral country also shows trends of pay gap. To say the least, Gender Disparity has even hit the so called most gender neutral country.
— UNU-WIDER (@UNUWIDER) March 8, 2017
As per the United Nations, it will take 100 years to close in this pay gap at the current rate. Surprised? This isn’t all! As per the World Economic Forum, it would take over 217 years for women to earn as much as men do. This data has been analyzed as per the current trends. Thus, it shows that we are doing very little to make the situation right. What kind of women’s day shall we celebrate while such high degree of gender disparity prevails the society?
The global gender wage gap is 23%, and will take 100 years to close at the current rate of change. We need to value women’s work and reduce their disproportionate burden of unpaid care and domestic work – @ASteiner's statement: https://t.co/MYSq6y12Ur #Timeisnow #IWD2018 pic.twitter.com/djdPIlsPBi— UN Development (@UNDP) March 8, 2018
It is indeed sad that women are not only deprived of participation in running the country, they do not even tend to get opportunities to lead the corporate world. As of August 2018, only 11.8% of all CEOs in Asia and Australia were women. When it comes to ‘The West’, people believe that gender disparity is lower in continents of Europe and America.
However, numbers don’t lie. The 11.8% of Asia and Australia significantly reduces as we travel westwards. Only 7.8% of CEOs in Europe and the United States are women. Wish to know where India ranks in this metric of gender disparity? India leads the way with one of the best scores. About 12.8% of Indian CEOs are women. However, 12.8% being one of the best scores in the world is a shame!
Not only pay gap, but also unequal opportunities have caused a lot of gender disparity. There are reports from across the globe that women are not allowed promotions. In fact, they barely get to serve the top spot!
Even if this wasn’t enough, only a quarter of politicians in the world are women. Somehow, it is unfortunate that the feminine gender doesn’t get enough representation to make decisions in the first place.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia finally became the second last country where women were officially allowed to vote. The Vatican City still, doesn’t allow women to vote for the selection of the Pope of the Vatican. However, does this mean women have equal voting right as men across the globe now? No! Gender disparity exists even in the context of freedom to vote.
As per a data, only 10% of all voters in Saudi Arabia were women in 2015. In the 2013 elections held in Pakistan, turnout of women voters was even worse, with some places recording only a 3% turnout. Leaflets were circulated in the country asking men not to allow women in their homes to vote, since it was believed to be ‘un-Islamic.’ The same kind of response was seen in the 2015 elections as well.
In several countries, it is reported that women have to take the permission of men in the house in order to cast their vote. Even in a country like China, in 2017, out of the 2000 delegates who attended the 19th Congress of the Communist Party in order to plan a five-year-strategy, female representation was a measly 26%, thus proving an unequal representation in policy making.
How are we supposed to eradicate gender disparity if women don’t get to participate in the decision making process?
Women are overcharged for their products!
Yes, you read that right. In a world full of competition, gender disparity exists even in the simplest of products bought by women. There is a phenomena called ‘The Pink Tax.’ It discusses how pink colored products are costlier than the same products of other color. For example, a pink razor would cost much more than a normal men’s razor! According to a survey in the UK, products for women costed 37% more than that of men. To add to their woes, an adult female diaper costs more than an adult male diaper. Such is the level of gender disparity!
A study by the New York Department of consumer affairs had some shocking results. Women are charged about 13% more than men are in case of personal care products. The Pink Tax on adult clothing amounted to 8%. As per marketing experts, women tend to spend more than men do. While it is a different thing to use marketing strategies, the Pink Tax is downright unfair and biased.
Dressing Restrictions are one of the major metrics of gender disparity which is experienced in almost every part of the world. While we spend hours to choose our favorite clothes in a mall, there isn’t much choice for some women in the world. Slut shaming for the choice of clothes is a common trend these days. When it comes to dressings, women are always taught what to wear and how to wear in order to avoid being raped. That is a sad reality in today’s world. For some people, even getting raped or harassed is a woman’s fault. However, this gets worse when the governments of the countries impose dressing restrictions on women.
In North Korea, women are not allowed to adore trousers. A women ‘caught’ wearing trousers shall be punished with forced labor and fines. A similar law exists in Sudan. In 2014, 9 women faced 40 lashes for wearing western clothes! If you think this is the worst, let me tell you this is just the tip of the ice berg!
If you’re a woman in Saudi Arabia, even an inch of flesh shouldn’t be visible – that is as bad as it can be. A woman revealing even an inch of skin shall be liable to criminal punishment. Very recently, a model in Saurdi was jailed for adorning a western attire. In Uganda, a woman who wears shorts or skirts ‘above the knee length’ shall face imprisonment. A new legislation bans ‘indecent dressing’ in the entire country. Further, in France and Belgium, women cannot wear niqabs and burqas.
Image of the woman jailed in Saudi Arabia for not wearing an ‘appropriate dress’
Gender disparity exists in every other household across the globe when it comes to dressing. Things are not easy for women who belong to these homes where gender disparity is an everyday practice.
Also Read: #MeToo. Her Tale.
Gender Disparity in India
Gender disparity exists all over the world and India is no exception. While conditions in India may not be that bad, we cannot be proud of the situation either. India’s image on the world platform as far as on issues like rapes and abuse is concerned is not something we Indians would like to resemble ourselves with. However, sticking to the day to day aspect, not only India’s sex ratio is a matter of concern, women in India are behind men even in pay gap, opportunities, literacy, moral restrictions and a lot more!
As per the census of 2011, only 65.46% of women in India were literate compared to 82.14% men. Gender disparity in women education still exists. In many areas in India, women are not allowed to study and school is a distant dream for them even today. In 2013, it was estimated that women in India earn only about 75% to that earned by men. This gives clear evidence of gender disparity existing at workplace.
Moreover, it is quite shameful that India ranks at 108th place in WEF Gender Gap Index in 2018. What is even worse that India ranks at 130th spot in Gender Inequality Index. This shows that a lot needs to be done to bring women at par with men in India. A large part of this gender disparity is visible even in urban areas and not the villages alone. The problem of dowry, even though a crime, still exists.
Unfortunately, people are still in denial!
We all know at least 1 young girl who isn’t allowed to go out as often as boys do. We all know women who are not allowed to dress as per their wish on several occasions. And yet, a lot of men and women sitting in cities having a cup of coffee at some CCD believe that gender disparity doesn’t exist in India and the world. To them, I wish to say, you’re the fortunate ones who haven’t had to face this, but that doesn’t mean gender disparity doesn’t exist at all!
Hence I said, it is indeed sad and a disgrace to mankind that we have to celebrate a day called Women’s Day. World would be a better place if every day was a women’s as well as men’s day, the day when no man or woman would be mistreated due to their gender and the day when we all would stand as one. I hope there’s a time there’s no need to recognize women and their problems on a single day. I hope there’s a time when women will be treated at par, irrespective of the date. But to make it a reality, we all must do a lot more, than just hope.
A Chartered Accountant , Parth Parikh is a 22 year old aspiring writer and entrepreneur. He loves to express his views on every topic on earth he is aware of! Passion in his veins, love in his heart and work on his mind keep him alive. Born with love for writing in his blood and having an experience of working with multiple websites, he now wishes to start a venture of his own in the form of Just Write Things.