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There is an increasing concern in the last decade that gender plays role in racial discrimination wherein males and females of a different ethnicity are treated in different ways. In particular instance, females of a specific ethnic group experience at least two forms of discrimination based of her race, gender, religious belief, age and social status. The term racism is strongly associated with hatred and prejudice of an individual’s identity including any aspects of his identity and sexual orientation hence females experience a different manner of discrimination. International groups such as the United Nations have regarded racial and gender discrimination as two independent issues resulting in females continuing to suffer from numerous types of injustices. It is thus essential that the gender component of racial discrimination be well understood in order to draw actions towards racial discrimination that are helpful to both males and females.
There are several instances when the issues of gender and racial discrimination interconnect (Crenshaw KW, 2000). The interplay of these two concepts may take different modes and arise in different circumstances. One situation wherein gender is interconnected with racial discrimination can be observed among impoverished women. It has been estimated that approximately 1.3 billion individuals who are living in extreme need are women (UNDP, 2000).
Such condition is strongly related to their inability to receive any form of education as well as training courses hence rendering them under-qualified for most of the available employment. Simultaneously, the trends of globalization and alteration in governmental laws have resulted in more problems for women because gender inequalities were exposed. One example can be observed among governments that do not provide unemployment insurance of single mothers or female heads of households. The merged effect of gender and racial discrimination may also hinder the retrieval of women to economic resources, including loans, credit and real estate property and can also affect the treatment they receive when they request for social services from the government. Such hardship thus endangers women to poverty and financial hardship.
Gender is also intertwined with the issue of racial discrimination in terms of education (GRDRD, 2000). It has been discovered that the global literacy rate for women is significantly lower than that among men. The discrepancy in literacy rate between men and women is even greater in developing countries. More than half of out-of-school children are girls and that among illiterate adults, two-thirds are comprised by women. These gender-based illiteracy reports show that females have less access to educational resources which in turn results in a lower rate of participation in training programs. Such decrease in education restrains females in their full understanding and awareness of their legal rights, including the right to be employed and to own real estate properties (CHR, 2000).
The access of females to education through attendance in school is also affected by circumstances of early pregnancy, childrearing and domestic family responsibilities. The lack or insufficiency of knowledge on reproductive health among women due to poor access to educational resources further hampers the living conditions of women. It is well-known that education is strongly correlated with employment options and financial stability, hence women are at a disadvantage with regards to availing such opportunities.
Another situation wherein gender discrimination impacts world health is in the labor market (CEDW, 2001). There is prejudice in particular labor practices wherein women in poorly developed areas or countries are restricted from equal chances of gaining employment. The situation becomes more complicated when these women come from a specific racial or indigenous group that is constantly being treated with prejudice. Now in order for these women to gain a living, they then opt to work in informal sectors which are not so strict with regards to race and gender. Unfortunately, these informal sectors are generally characterized by destitute working conditions, as well as provide minimum to no social protection and very small wages.
This situation thus results in minority women being categorized as the lowest of the labor group. In addition, informal labor sectors do not have strict laws with regards to employment hence the rates of abuse and violence is high. Women working in the informal labor sectors thus usually have poor physical conditions and are generally sick, either physically or mentally. In other situations, women migrate to another country to work as a domestic helper and are assigned to a specific employer. A domestic helper is expected to live in the residence of her employer but once the contract expires and the employer did not plan on renewing her contract, or when the employer was not satisfied with the performance of the domestic helper, she is immediately asked to leave the residence and the individual ends up homeless. This condition of living on the streets has a great chance of making a woman sick from exposure to the cold and from insufficient food and water. It has been reported that cases of firing or termination of contract of female domestic helpers has influenced world health. There are also cases wherein the female migrant domestic helper attempts to return to her home country but once she returns home, she is either very sick or already dead.
These examples of gender-based situations, alongside racial discrimination is a serious issue among women because it ultimately affects their way of living as well as options with regards to how they could live their lives. It is therefore imperative that efforts towards banishing gender-based situations so that women can receive fair treatment and choices in their lives.
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