Women As Second-Class Citizens
Published 30 Jun 2017
History has been the primary witness to gender equality. Even long before, earlier than the times when other more powerful countries colonized nations, men have been more dominant than women. I have observed that in my high school history class, even the primitive people who lived in caves and hunted for food has regarded men as mightier than the females of their tribe. Maybe it is not fully grasped in their indistinct language, but their behaviors show it all. Men wander in uncharted forests to hunt for food. Women stay together to look after the children. This ‘trend’ is still quite being followed today, as many call it a ‘tradition’ for women to stay at home and nurse the children.
This situation considers women as minority groups. More ruthlessly, women are being referred to as second-class citizens in many countries. They are considered inferior and weaker than men. Women are not given heavier roles in society. “Women are constantly conditioned to believe that they do not have a right to an opinion, to be politically active, to speak out” (O’Carroll, 1992). Nowadays though, there are many liberal women’s group who continually fight for equal rights with men. Some corporate institutions hire only male employees for certain positions, with the principle that men do better jobs. This alone may be a simple testimony that women are being judged based on gender, not on capabilities. According to a report by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, women are conspicuously lacking from elected office. In fact, no woman of color has ever held statewide elective office or represented Minnesota in Congress (cited in Westhoff). Here, it is not just gender that represents the cause of unfair criticism but skin color as well.
UNICEF provides alarming facts about violence and discrimination against women. It said that roughly 60 million women are missing today because of gender discrimination, predominantly in South and West Asia, China and North America. In the United States woman is physically abused by her intimate partner every nine seconds. Throwing acid to disfigure a woman’s face is so common in Bangladesh that it warrants its own section of the penal code. More than 1 million children, overwhelmingly female, are forced into prostitution every year, the majority in Asia (Bunch). Bosnian women are underrepresented in government institutions and state companies. The women in Bosnia who were left with disabilities by the war face double-discrimination (Savage). A woman in Russia has a chance to be almost anything, except a woman (cited in Barson, 1992). All of these statistics imply that more and more women are violated, considered sex slaves, and more because men may have presumptions that women are weak, incapable, and are like their properties to be used. Plus, we may never know but there may be so many unreported cases anywhere about violence against women.
Actually, women nowadays are considered luckier than those who lived years before. At some point, there are also many societies who give high regard to women, as respectable and dignified people equal to men in intellect and capabilities. Nonetheless, it is still quite apparent and undeniable that a substantial portion of society manifests the treatment of women as only secondary to men. I personally believe that men and women must not be treated differently or with biases, in a sense that they are both created by God in His image and likeness. They are both capable of doing great and admirable things. People must not pass judgment on others because of gender. Yes, some females may commit mistakes in their lives naturally they are human beings, just like men. But this is not a ground for considering women as substandard. There have been many instances that they have proven their worth and competence. Therefore, there is not enough reason; rather, there is no reason at all to put women under oppression just because of their gender. Men, and women likewise, must be treated and given respect equally just like any other human being would want to be appreciated.
- Barson, M. (1992). Better Red Than Dead: A Nostalgic Look at the Golden Years of Russia Phobia, Red-baiting, and Other Commie Madness. New York: Hyperion.
- Bunch, C. The Intolerable Status Quo: Violence Against Women and Girls. Women Commentary.
- O’Carroll, A. Sex, Class and the Queen of England. Workers’ Solidarity, 36. 1992.
- Savage, B. (2006, May 23). Global Rights.
- Wetshoff, K. (2005, March 23). Second Class Citizens: Minnesota’s Women of Color Are Being Left Behind. Women’s Press.