She’s a go-getter, she’s dedicated, she’s independent, there are so many things to describe a woman and what they are capable of. Women are amazing and should be treated as such, though reality may not be as fair. Although unfortunate, it is a fact that whilst we as mankind are working towards the equality we envision for both genders, we are still not quite there yet. Many women still suffer from the effects of inequality throughout their lives, especially when talking about the workplace. So what is really the issue with women pursuing careers?
What does Discrimination Really mean?
Discrimination is defined by a situation when a person or a group of people are unable to enjoy their rights on an equal basis just for the fact that they belong to a group that is not in the position of power or privilege. There are many different types of discrimination, one of them being gender-based discrimination, here we are talking about the ones happening specifically in the workforce. This discrimination describes a situation where someone receives unfair treatment or is at a disadvantage due to personal characteristics that are unchangeable, for instance, a person’s gender. It happens when consideration is made about a person based on not only their capability or performance as an employee, rather also including unalterable traits that have no relation to their achievements.
What Does it Do to Women?
This issue may be rooted in the role for women that society has placed, the belief that women are designed to be stay-at-home housewives and not made for pursuing careers. This decades-old belief has many people convinced with the idea that women are simply not supposed to work. This belief can have a direct negative effect on women’s general wellbeing, health, and security. Some women are denied promotions, a raise in pay, and are sometimes generally treated worse than their male counterparts. This can surely have a damaging impact on their mental state, this alone is already bad, but this situation can also have an effect on their performance at work as productivity may experience a decrease.
In Indonesia alone, there is a 21% wage difference between males and females, this means that men earn 21% more than what women earn. There are also many instances of unfair treatment towards mothers or expecting women, they are still expected to work as if they do not have a child to take care of. In addition, through my personal experience, I have had men say that they blame women for the lack of educated children because nowadays women, “are not at home to educate them, instead, they are out chasing a career”. I have also been told to leave working to the men so that they have something to bring to the table and that it is women who are at fault when men cannot get employed since “women are taking up all the employment opportunities nowadays”. This type of mindset is very damaging to hear as women do not deserve to be blamed for wanting to have a job, they should not be shamed for it.
What Can We Hope For?
Equality exists to make sure that every person is able to make the most out of their skills and talents in life. To help with this situation, a change has to be made, whether it may be to continue reducing the pay gap until it there is no more gap, using a more skill-based assessment to evaluate workers, give support towards women so they can land a senior role, or even offering child-care help to help mothers who are also working. There are many ways to help end this gender inequality and it should be placed as a priority as everyone regardless of gender is entitled to have equal rights and opportunities in life.
Written by: Bianca Isabelle Edward
Picture Credit: Ahra Kwon, Mind Journal
Sources: Databoks, Amnesty.org, Gestiopolis, Medical News Today