Gender Inequality

Status of Women

Global Impact of Issue

Women in India

India is traditionally a patriarchal society where male domination is immense and women are under social control throughout their life. Only 54 percent of Indian women are literate as compared to 76 percent of men. Women receive little schooling, and suffer from unfair and biased inheritance and divorce laws. These laws prevent women from accumulating substantial financial assets, making it difficult for women to establish their own security and autonomy. A 2012 UNICEF study found more than half of Indian adolescent males think it is justifiable to beat a wife under certain circumstances (Udas, 2013).
India: The most dangerous country in the world to be a girl

India: The most dangerous country in the world to be a girl (0:00 - 2:25)

Women's Rights in Iran

Women's rights are severely restricted in Iran. There are legal restrictions as well as heavily inculcated societal and cultural norms imposed on women. For instance, a married women cannot leave the country without her husband's permission and women are frequently subject to honor killings. Also, in all public places, women must wear a hijab because modesty requirements are enforced by the morality police (Fincher, 2013).

Dorothy Smith and the Authority of the Male Standpoint

Smith determined that our culture is socially constructed from the standpoint of men. Our laws, legal system and language are premised on the male view and this standpoint is so internalized in our society that even women have some difficulty speaking and writing in a voice that includes their gender.

Women's Rights Impact on Canadians

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Power and Representation

The difference in power between men and women is reflected in the federal judges appointed to the bench in Canada. If Canada is to have proportionate representation, then the number of female judges elected should mirror the percentage of the population that are women. There are 1117 men and 356 women appointed to the federal judiciary (Shah, 2010).

Feminist Movements

In Canada the first wave of feminism began in the mid - 1800s when its major focus was on female suffrage, or voting rights. Then, in the early 1990s issues such as child care, affirmative action for women, federal legislation outlawing sex discrimination in education, greater representation of women in government and the right to legal abortions occurred (Burkett, 2015).

Canada's Contribution to the Issue

Canada’s commitment to gender equality

Canada participated in the development of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993, which affirmed that “women’s rights are human rights” and called for action to integrate the equal status and human rights of women in the mainstream of UN system-wide activity. Also, Canada also played a key role at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, which identified 12 critical areas of concern and set out a course of action to ensure comprehensive protection and advancement of women’s rights around the world.
“Serving as a member of the Commission of the UNCSW will allow Canada to play a more vigorous role protecting and promoting the human rights of women and girls around the world. Our participation in the Commission is an important part of our renewed commitment to advance gender equality, both at home and abroad. I look forward to working with other nations to empower women and girls everywhere to reach their full potential.” - Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P. (Minister of Status of Women)

Quality of Life for Women


Quality of life - the general well-being of a person or society, defined in terms of health and happiness, rather than wealth.

Glass Ceiling Effect

The glass ceiling effect is an invisible but real barrier through which the next stage or level of advancement can be seen, but cannot be reached. The Conference Board of Canada's report blames the lack of progress for women on a wide range of factors, such as gendered choices in education, stereotypes ideas about leadership, women's lack of mentoring and organizational harassments. The link between depression and low-income women can be attributed to increased stress caused by living in poverty and minimal social support (Cassidy, 2014).

Afghanistan's Quality of life

The average Afghan girl will live to only 45 – one year less than an Afghan male. After three decades of war and religion-based repression, an overwhelming number of women are illiterate. More than half of all brides are under 16, and one woman dies in childbirth every half hour. Domestic violence is so common that 87 per cent of women admit to experiencing it. Afghanistan is the only country in which the female suicide rate is higher than that of males (Scarborough, 2014).

Marxist Conception of Ideology

Marx determined that the ideas and images of the ruling class become the dominant ones in our culture because theres same people also own the productive devices of society. Ideological notions become organized and embedded into our consciousness. Therefore, it would be easier for women to have authority if the person they are trying to govern inherently accept as legitimate the women's version of the world and if they dismiss their own version of the world as inadequate.

HDI of Affected Nations

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Human development index worldwide as of 2015


HDI - is an average measure of basic human development achievements in a country. It is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development, a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

HDI of India

The human development index (HDI), a measure derived from life expectancy, education levels and incomes, barely grew from 0.700 in 2012 to 0.702 in 2013. About 1.5 billion people are afflicted with 'multi-dimensional poverty', that is, they suffer from overlapping deprivations in education, health and living standards. A further 800 million are at the brink of falling back into poverty. HDR 2014 introduces a gender development index (GDI) for the first time, which measures gender development gaps. While the overall gender gap is an 8% deficit for women, the income gap is shockingly high, per capita income for men is more than double that for women.

Melvin Tumin's Principles of Social Stratification

Melvin Tumin argued that the importance of a position is not always determined by a high salary or level of prestige. He suggested that economic rewards and prestige are not the only means of encouraging people. However, in developing countries this theory does not apply since they have closed system which result in intergenerational mobility. For instance, the caste system in India where they only allow marriages within their own ethnic or social group. Therefore, if a young women is born in a lower caste system her status in society will be viewed a specific way.

Multinational Corporations in Developing Countries

Multinational corporations engage in very useful and morally defensible activities in Third World countries for which they frequently have received little credit. Significant among these activities are their extension of opportunities for earning higher incomes as well as the consumption of improved quality goods and services to people in poorer regions of the world. Instead, these firms have been misrepresented by fearful images by Marxists and “dependency theory” advocates.
  • Multinational firms may help improve infrastructure in the economy. They may improve the skills of their workforce. Foreign investment may stimulate spending in infrastructure such as roads and transport
  • Multinational corporations provide employment. Although wages seem very low to us, people in developing countries often see these new jobs as preferable to working as a subsistence farmer with even lower income
  • The inflows of capital help to finance a current account deficit. (foreign investment enables developing countries to buy imports)

Take Action

Status of Women Canada

Status of Women Canada promotes equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. Status of Women Canada works to advance equality for women by focusing its efforts in three priority areas. For instance, increasing women's economic security and prosperity, encouraging women's leadership and democratic participation, and ending violence against women and girls.

The Women’s Rights Movement (1848 - 1998)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead