Academic Master

Education, English

Intolerance Towards Women

Throughout the history of the world, women have been subject to discrimination and intolerance based on their gender. Despite the technological and intellectual advances of the world’s population, the condition may be a little better for women, but it still is not what it should be. Certain high-end jobs in multinational and major companies are still reserved for men although women might have the same qualifications. Women experience high pressure in married lives as the all the responsibility of caring for the children are expected to fall on the women. The condition is especially dire in the Islamic countries, like Pakistan, where the society views the females as inferior to the male gender.

Women are discriminated against in a variety of ways in all the walks of life. Since birth, a girl is told to behave in accordance with the society’s expectations of her gender. It is evident from the fact that the parents of the girls give them toys like dolls and dollhouses that focus on nurturing. She is taught to be compassionate and caring and those girls that do not conform to these societal standards are frowned upon and viewed as deviant. Such stereotyping of the female gender is further perpetuated by the media which portrays women in secondary roles to the men. And incapable of performing intellectual tasks.

With respect to employment, the employers are generally intolerant towards women. There are a variety of ways in which women face intolerance and discrimination at jobs. The foremost form of intolerance is the exclusion of the female gender from certain job descriptions solely based on their gender and the perception that they are incapable of performing important tasks as compared to men. There are numerous cases in which the women that apply for a certain job are not hired although they may have the same qualifications and work experience as the men who have applied for the job. Moreover, this issue of unequal treatment of women further extends to the salary offered to the women. They are paid much less than their male counterparts. On the same note, men have better chances of being promoted as compared to the women.

Furthermore, women are also not preferred for jobs due to them getting pregnant. It is a significant issue that many pregnant women are either not hired or demoted and even fired. Such women are further denied returning to the same job description upon returning from maternity leave. The primary reason cited by the male employers of these women is that they are not able to perform their job efficiently due to their gender and their leave has a negative effect on their performance. Another reason stated by the employers is that upon giving birth to a child, the woman would be no longer interested in the job and would have to care for her child. However, such an assumption is ridiculous. Women have never been found to be less efficient then man and they deserve the right to be treated equally.

The conditions for women are especially outrageous for the women of the Islamic countries. Many Muslims view women in a negative light due to their inadequate interpretation of the Islamic texts and jurisprudence. The case of Iraq, where women are killed or beheaded merely for not covering their heads in public places. The same concept applies in the case of honor killings of women in Islamic nations. Any woman perceived to be engaging in activities deemed immoral are killed without even the requirement of any evidence. In certain instances, the faces of females are disfigured by throwing acid or their hands or feet are cut off as punishment for acting “immorally.” Although the law enforcement officials say that they do not support such brutality, yet, they demonstrate no actions to support their verbal claims.

The majority of the Muslim nations regard women as detrimental to the Islamic society and a cause of chaos or “fitna.” The patriarchal society of Islam thinks of women as sexual objects made for the purpose of serving men. A wrongly strict interpretation of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence has led to imposing severe restriction on the free movement of women in many Islamic countries. Any female questioning the righteousness of compulsory veil are branded as an infidel and a threat to the Islamic way of life.

However, contrary to popular belief of the Muslims of these countries, the holy scripture of Islam, the Holy Quran also instructs to treat the women equally. It views the males and females in the same light and exclusively states that what really matters in the eyes of God is not the gender or the social status, but the character and the good deeds of the humans. In fact, the Quran has mentioned the historical figure, Queen of Sheba, in a very positive light and has commended her intellect and her fair treatment of her subjects. The Quran has also celebrated her leadership skills.

The same intolerant conditions prevail in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The legal and societal system of Pakistan is a dysfunctional one. A report by the International crisis group noted that despite the announcement by the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif to introduce legislation to end intolerance towards women and empower the female gender, the condition has still not improved. One of the main reasons behind this failure is the dysfunctional legal system that is generally unwilling to enforce any legislation regarding the empowerment and progress of women. Although the family law of 1961 can be regarded as a positive step towards equal treatment of women, it is just limited to words.

However, an important step towards mitigating the intolerance towards women was the mandating of the political parties to fill their seats in a proportional manner for women in parliamentary elections of 2004. It was an important step by the government and established a sense of responsibility. They took it as an opportunity to prove themselves and they indeed did. The 2012 report of the Human Rights Commission highlighted the fact that all the legislation on human rights were introduced by the female politicians.

The “Women’s Empowerment Program” by the Embassy of United States, Islamabad, Pakistan is also a very significant step in this regard. It comes with a set of objectives and aims, which it seeks to achieve through providing funds. One of the main objectives is to focus on empowerment of women and girls in order to promote their social and economic development. However, the Women empowerment program would have been pitched better, if it signifies the need for promoting women’s right rather than a means for development.

Another reason which will reduce the likelihood of achieving the objectives is the condition placed on not using the funds for purchasing and renting new building or space for program activities. Restrictions will hinder program effectiveness as organizations having brilliant ideas for women empowerment for underserved geographical locations, but lacking resources, especially an office to conduct the activities would not be able to benefit from it.

In conclusion, women are the marginalized majority throughout the world. However, in the Islamic countries, they face even more intolerance as compared to the non-Muslim nations and especially the West. The society of the world in general views the women as incapable of high performance and handling pressure. This perception is far from the truth, as evident by the women performing in high responsibility positions. Women are equal to men and should be treated so. What is needed is to educate the society and change their perception of women.



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