Many faces of Gender Inequalities

From an essay by Amartya Sen, a Nobel Laureate, presented at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University,

Sen writes about the seven faces of inequalities faced by women.
 
(1) Mortality inequality: He identifies the life span of women compared to men as being unequal. Many countries in the world continue to have disproportionate deaths through natural causes of women as against men as a result of poor access to health care.  
(2) Natality inequality: In some countries where the norm is to choose to have male babies to female babies, abortion of female babies is a common practice.    
(3) Basic facility inequality: Sen says, “Even when demographic characteristics do not show much or any anti-female bias, there are other ways in which women can have less than a square deal. Afghanistan may be the only country in the world the government of which is keen on actively excluding girls from schooling (it combines this with other features of massive gender inequality), but there are many countries in Asia and Africa, and also in Latin America, where girls have far less opportunity of schooling than boys do. There are other deficiencies in basic facilities available to women, varying from encouragement to cultivate one's natural talents to fair participation in rewarding social functions of the community.”
(4) Special opportunity inequality: “Even when there is relatively little difference in basic facilities including schooling, the opportunities of higher education may be far fewer for young women than for young men. Indeed, gender bias in higher education and professional training can be observed even in some of the richest countries in the world, in Europe and North America.”  Sen points out that even though in the modern communities exclusion of women from certain types of jobs is rare nevertheless there still exists the biased notion that certain jobs are male jobs. 
(5) Professional inequality: In terms of employment as well as promotion in work and occupation, women often face greater handicap than men.  
(6) Ownership inequality: In many societies the ownership of property can also be very unequal. The absence of claims to property can not only reduce the voice of women, but also make it harder for women to enter and flourish in commercial, economic and even some social activities.
(7) Household inequality: “There are, often enough, basic inequalities in gender relations within the family or the household, which can take many different forms such as sharing the burden of housework and child care. It is, for example, quite common in many societies to take it for granted that while men will naturally work outside the home, women could do it if and only if they could combine it with various inescapable and unequally shared household duties.” 

“A result of this inequality is seen in not only unequal relations within the family, but also in inequalities in employment and recognition in the outside world. Sen goes on to say, “Also, the established fixity of this type of "division" or "accumulation" of labour can also have far-reaching effects on the knowledge and understanding of different types of work in professional circles. When I first started working on gender inequality, in the 1970s, I remember being struck by the fact that the Handbook of Human Nutrition Requirement of the World Health Organisation (WHO), in presenting "calorie requirements" for different categories of people, chose to classify household work as "sedentary activity," requiring very little deployment of energy. I was, however, not able to determine precisely how this remarkable bit of information had been collected by the patrician leaders of society.”

By | 2017-11-09T15:54:41+02:00 May 23rd, 2008|July 2007|