Gender bias and Sexism

Male dominance was established into the social system of some ethnic groups and women played a significant role in their society. For some philosophers and scholars, this was due to the complementarity of male and female roles and functions. Complementarity gave women a great deal of autonomy in their own affairs. Discrimination based on both class and gender existed. One example of inequality was the deprivation of education of the less high-born Muslim women in the pre-colonial period. It is likely that most women were given only the most limited of Muslim education.

Indeed, the issue of access to education or of opportunity for continued education probably rarely arose. Thus, historically, gender and class were prime determinants in limiting women’s educational opportunities. Women have historically been excluded from participation in many professions. During the 1800s, women were deprived of rights and freedom. Women could not own property, could not vote, and had no means to earn any degree. Most occupations were closed to women. But then in 1962, President Kennedy created the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt.

It was established to study the status of women in all areas of their lives and recommend changes to help women achieve their basic rights and freedom. So from then on, certain rights and privileges were rendered for women empowerment and equality. Comparing the historical discrimination to today’s generation, it is evident that a big difference exists. Racism seems to be more dominant than a gender-bias form of discrimination. Most of us see racism as a political terminology, something that was derived from the era of slavery.

Though we seem to be more open minded and liberal now compared to the 1960s, racial biases and intolerance still exist. Racism still exists in America today, but there is much dispute over how pervasive and influential it is. High rates of poverty and unemployment among blacks serve as a very strong evidence that racism is still very powerful. Since the inherent abilities of different races are equal, it is argued that large differences in outcome are most plausibly explained by persistent racism.

Others claim that these statistics are not the result of racism against blacks, but are the result of other factors, such as high crime rates in the inner cities, low standards in public schools, the illegal drug trade, and urban cultural decay, all of which disproportionately affect blacks who are concentrated in urban areas for historical reasons. Genetic racists see the same data as evidence of racial inferiority rather than discrimination. On the other hand, some inequalities exist in the workplace. Women are not equally represented in the fields of science, mathematics and technology.

The statistics show that women comprise nearly half of the workforce, but only 16% work in engineering or science. The workforce increasingly requires mathematical, scientific and technological proficiency, but women and minorities have not traditionally been attracted to these areas. Research suggests that girls and women are systematically discouraged from courses of study in higher level mathematics and science, which ultimately prevents them from pursuing careers in science, engineering and mathematics (Jeffrey Weld highlights, p. 104).

Jeffrey Weld highlights that women are outnumbered by their male coworkers nearly 6 to 1 as scientists and engineers (1997). For me, it can be very complicated and nerve cracking for a woman to go to work everyday realizing that there is gender bias going on. This is a very unfair situation and it can lead to a lot of emotional heartache and psychological problems. Many times, I feel that I am on the verge of giving up and quiting my job because of it. There is nothing worse than going to work and not feeling appreciated and my efforts are not recognized or acknowledged.

Some of the culturally sensitive resolutions suggested were the adaptation of attitudes and behaviors that reflect fairness and cooperation, promotion of policies to establish and maintain racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity and development of programs for all designed to promote self-respect and respect to others regardless of their race, capability and gender. I personally agree to the resolutions stated. This could definitely help eradicate discrimination globally.