Status of Women in the West (7)
In the name of God. Violence against women is rampant across the world. The western countries, in spite of claims of human rights and defence of freedom for women, are the main violators of women's right and invaders of legitimate freedoms in different countries.
Western countries have totally failed to protect women against social ills. Physical, sexual and psychological harassments are so widespread in public and private places that the international organizations like the UN and Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) have been urged to study the dimensions of these violent acts and their consequences. In the previous episode, we discussed violence against women in family and society. Today, we are going to touch specifically upon violence at workplaces. Stay tuned.
The industrialized societies in the west, under the guise of giving equal opportunities to women and men, have ignored the biological and psychological differences of women and men. Thus, women in the west are employed at tough and harsh jobs like mining, masonry, military and so on. however, this ostentatious gesture has tilted the equation of differences towards men. The physical strength and intensive sexual inclinations in men on one hand and physical beauty and weakness of women on the other hand have caused women to suffer several types of abuse and harassment at work. American radical feminist, Marilyn French, in her book, "The War against Women", has mentioned shocking realities on the position of women at workplaces in the US. She writes, "All men in any working class, even those who are not engaged actively and just watch, are complicit in enforcing sexual abuse of their female colleagues. According to the testimony of the women, who work at the American fire stations, they are sexually harassed so much so that it is a risk against their life."
According to Marilyn French, a California-based commission has recently tried to know the reason why very few women work at construction jobs. An interview with the women working on buildings, revealed that their job environment is the place of constant war and skirmish. Men embark on abominable behaviors against women; they put obscene pictures in toilets, sprinkled water to the woman who was working with wires and would touch the woman who was carrying bricks and heavy loads upstairs.
New York Times conducted an opinion poll in 1989 in the US with the title of "the most important issue that women face today". Nearly 95% of the questioned women were discontent with job discrimination and wage inequality. According to the latest polls, 70% of women have complained against harassment and abuse by their male colleagues.
Such a big problem has caused women in Europe to be harassed at workplaces.
Hans Ingvar Janus, in an article titled, "Swedish Women and Equal Opportunities", after claiming that Sweden is "the world champion of equality between men and women", speaks of occupying 41% of the parliament chairs by women. Then he goes on to point to the sexual abuse and harassment, writing, "Different types of inequality and sexual abuse against women in Sweden have caused the Swedish law of equality of women before men to demand employers to protect their employees against any kind of sexual abuse."
French feminist writer, Simone de Beauvoir, had also studied sexual abuses against women in France. She announced that women are abused at professions like spinning and weaving. The employers often prefer them to men. They do better job with less salary and the foremen abuse young female workers. This heinous formula discloses the sad story of woman in the west. According to an opinion poll, out of every five French women, one is sexually harassed at workplace.
Now let us listen to the comments of Ms. Akhundan on the issue,
"Violence against women at workplace is a bitter reality which is on the rise due to the increase of their employment. In addition to the physical and psychological consequences on the victims, it has inflicted negative impacts on work conditions and decreased efficiency at workplaces. Sexual abuse and rape at workplace is a threat against women in the west. As per the reports of International Labour Organization, some 40%-50% of women in the EU countries have experienced unwanted sexual abuse, rape and other forms of sexual violence. The figures pertaining to violence and raping of women in the west indicates the dire situation of security in those countries. Many female workers, especially migrants in Europe and America, are increasingly subjected to different forms of violence including numerous rapes. Many of these women do not contact the police for the crimes committed on them because of fear of losing their job or residence. The important thing about violence against women at workplaces in the western developed countries is that, basically, institutionalization of the issue of 'Equality' of men and women in all spheres including the righto work, has practically failed to materialize women's rights. Undoubtedly, one of the serious vacuums in today's secular-liberal societies is distancing from ethical principles. When the International Community puts its focus merely on "equation and equality", without ethical values, one of its evil consequences will be violence and committing various forms of sexual harassments against women."
British sociologist, Antony Giddens, says that sexual harassment against women at workplaces is "very common" in the west. He argues that sexual harassment affects a major part of salaried women directly. He refers to forms of sexual harassment at workplace, saying, "Sexual harassment at workplace can be defined as abusing job power or authority to impose sexual desires. This may take violent forms; such as when a female employee is said to either be content with sexual relation or be expelled. Most of the sexual harassments are roughly cunning. For instance, this includes explaining this subject that giving in to sexual desires will have other rewards or else it will cause punishments such as lack of promotion."
This is prevalent in the western armies, too. For example, at least 1 out of three women in the US army is raped. Statistics show that 90% of the women working in the American army were raped during the Persian Gulf war.
The women in the British army experienced similar fates. In the past 5 years, 240 files have been prosecuted in Britain on rape and sexual harassment of female military personnel. Nevertheless, the fact is that most of the victims of such nefarious behaviors usually prefer not to speak about their past. Annika Flensburg, Swedish expert of International Media, pointed to this fact in an interview, saying, "Violence against women is usually covert and many women in these societies are ashamed of saying what has happened to them. Very few are ready to speak of what is being enforced on them."
Sexual harassment at workplace is not limited to slight abuses and in some cases it ends in beating and murder. In the United States, workplace for women is in a way that the main cause of death of female workers is killing by their partners.
Catherine Bell, specialist of contagious diseases in the US, believes that, "If a woman dies as a result of injuries sustained at work, she has surely been killed. The number of black women who are killed at workplace is twice more than the white ones. The number of black women who are killed every year is four times more than the white women; but white women are more likely to be killed in the army."