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Gender inequalities usually impact women's life as compared to their male counterparts. Because of this, there have been various controversies and public outrages seen since the 19th century in New Zealand (New Zealand Government, 2018). New Zealand takes pride that it has been the first country worldwide to give women their right to vote. Also, there have been three women who have run the country by becoming prime ministers. Yet after making so much progress, inequality towards women has not come to an end. Senior-level of management in most of the organization is still occupied by men. Male students have gained most of the distribution in education system whereas women are still struggling to achieve the same (Meinck&Brese, 2019). Therefore, it can be rightly said that gender discrimination has been most prevalent in the past but until now it is existing. Women in the 21st century also have to face many troubles because of it. This problem of inequality is largely due to the narrow mindedness of our society who believes that women are only meant for procreation and doing household chores.
I have experienced similar things around my workplace. Even though women work with the same amount of passion and hard work they are still considered to have less potential in the workplace. For example, the case of the third prime minister of New Zealand, JacindaArdern who was doubted on her abilities after becoming a mother. It was reported that after becoming the prime minister she announced her pregnancy. She took only six weeks off as her maternity leave. She was the first female to take these leaves who work in the office. She also received remarkable support from her male counterparts and members of the family. But questions were raised on her capabilities as a working individual. For that, she stated that she would not be the first women who will multitask. She further said that being in politics, many other women have already caved her path. She admitted that she can both do her job and can be a mother as well. She further talked about that it's a woman decision to have a child and that she's not the first women to have a baby (Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBN), 2018).
Data also suggested that a lot of sexism takes place in work and educational setting (Cormack, Stanley & Harris, 2018). Through a study conducted by Meinck and Brese, it was proved that the gender gap that has existed 20 years before haven't been removed from the present and is still there. It was also noted that more male students are present in the groups of high- achievers and are studying mathematics and science. Whereas the ratio of women studying is much lower. Because of this, women are underrepresented in scientific occupations (Meinck &Brese, 2019). According to the reports of the United Nations (2020), all over the world, 750 million girls and women are married before they turn 18. The rates of female genital mutilation are higher among the girls between the ages of 15-19. And this practice is prevalent among 30 countries. In 18 countries, spouses of women can legally stop their wives to go to work (United Nations, 2020). In 39 countries, both son and daughters are not given equal right for inheritance. With that, 49 countries don’t have any laws against domestic violence which is faced by women. One out of five women has experienced sexual or physical violence and yet there are no rules to protect them in 49 countries (United Nations, 2020).
It was mentioned in the human development report presented by the United Nations that the index of gender inequality in New Zealand in the year 2013 was 0.185. New Zealand was among the top 10 countries in this report. This index was calculated by looking at inequalities among women and men in a total of three dimensions. They were: reproductive health, labour market and empowerment. The ratios also show the forced labour is very much prevalent in females, that is, 64.4% (United Nations Development Programme, 2013). In studies, it has been stated that women living in New Zealand make less amount of money than men even when they are having a similar job or have some characteristics which are observable. There can be various reasons behind it. Some are difference in productivity which is correlated to some commitments of the workforce, decision of fertility and also the prevalence of social norms. The second reason can be dividing workers into various industries, firms and occupation based on the reasons mentioned above and as well as for having dissimilar competition preferences. The third reason can be the ability of bargaining. Last reason could be discrimination coming from preferences or judgements regarding the productivity which is expected from the employees (Sin, Stillman& Fabling, 2017).
Looking down the history of New Zealand it can be found out that when a woman is married then all her belongings and money was considered as his husband's possessions. She does not even have any rights on her earnings and properties. It was very difficult for them to get separated from their husbands even if their partner was violent. Till 1985, marital rape was not considered a crime even. Women were not given permission until 1893 to cast their votes and to stand for parliamentary elections till 1919 (New Zealand Government, 2018). Very few women dared to get into politics before the 1980s. During the 19th century, they were also excluded from various occupations or they were given very low wages especially lower than men’s and with that most of the women leave their work once they were married. However, the 20th century brought more jobs for women but the problem with the wage gap still existed. Even in the 21st century, women are working in low- paid jobs and most of the higher positions are acquired by the men only in an organization (New Zealand Government, 2018).
In the 1980s, most people thought that making their daughters educated is waste of time and money. Their thinking changed slightly in the 19th century but girls were mostly taught non -academic subject which is home science. In this, she has to learn about cooking, housework and sewing. Women started to attend universities when they were initially opened but it was found out it was difficult for them to pursue a career in law and medicine. Women actors, writers and artists have to struggle in order to acquire funding, attention of media and publication for their work. Since many centuries it was thought that women in sports are very unethical. However, their participation in sports grew in the 20th century. The main problem arises when women sports were not given much media attention and they also received very low funding for their game as compared to the men's sport. Inequality was also present in religion. Women were not allowed to become priests or ministers in the majority of churches. Even in the early 21st century, the monopoly remains with the men to become a catholic priest (New Zealand Government, 2018).
In conclusion, it can be said that gender inequality although being a social evil has prevailed in our society since generations. This social evil has affected the lives of women all over the country as well as the world. Since the last two centuries, there have been reports of outrages and controversies against this evil. My experience of gender inequality comes from seeing the situation of women around me. Data has also suggested that a woman in the workplace have to face a lot of sexism. They are paid less than their male counterparts for the same job. Previously they were not even given basic rights like the right of owning their possessions or the right to cast their votes. They were also not given the opportunity of standing in politics and to even study. However, women nowadays are given more opportunities but problems still exist like more men at higher positions of big companies or universities. This is the culture which is being followed everywhere in the New Zealand country and the world also.
Anne Else, New Zealand Government.(2018). Gender inequalities. Available at https://teara.govt.nz/en/gender-inequalities [Accessed on 25 August 2020]
Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBN). (2018). The Prime Minister of New Zealand just gave birth to her first child—here’s why it’s a big deal. Available at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/22/new-zealand-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-gave-birth-to-her-first-child.html [Accessed on 25 August 2020]
Cormack, D., Stanley, J., & Harris, R. (2018). Multiple forms of discrimination and relationships with health and wellbeing: findings from national cross-sectional surveys in Aotearoa/New Zealand. International Journal for Equity in Health, 17(1), 26.https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0735-y
Meinck, S. &Brese, F. (2019) Trends in gender gaps: Using 20 years of evidence from TIMSS.Large-scale Assessments in Education, 7,8. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40536-019-0076-3
Sin, I., Stillman, S. & Fabling, R. (2017) What drives the gender wage gap? Examining the roles of sorting, productivity differences, and discrimination. (August 2017). Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, pp.15-17.http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3032137
United Nations Development Programme.(2013). Gender inequality index. Available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/gender-inequality-index [Accessed on 25 August 2020]
United Nations.(2020). Gender equality. Available at https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/ [Accessed on 25 August 2020]
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