• Status of Women in the West (9)

One of the criteria, that ostensibly show the status of women in different countries, is their participation in various occupations. But western governments often misuse the issue of women's employment as a tool to wield pressure on independent countries, especially Islamic countries, which defy the western hegemony and decadent culture.

This comes while what the west is propagating as the indices of women's progress is a mere presence of a number of women at certain political posts. The fact of the matter is that women in the west have been exposed to further injustice as the capitalist system has granted them jobs with lower wages compared to their male colleagues.

Women's outdoors employment has developed in different eras just like other social phenomena. Women have always been active, besides housework, in agriculture, animal husbandry, handicrafts, and so on. At times, they have even been involved in military domains along men. I some eras, women's role of production would be done at home or near it; but naturally they wouldn't receive any salary for the job they did. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the Western Europe, fundamental changes took place in the form of jobs and women left homes for factories for economic activities.

WWII and killing of millions of men in Europe decreased the workforce and increased the salaries of men who were still working in factories. Thus, the European capitalists were persuaded to use cheaper workforce with the same efficiency as men. At that time, women who worked in factories for 12 hours would get 1/3 of the salary of men. This was described as "freedom of women". Even Will Durant, in his book "The Story of Philosophy", says that what he calls as "freedom of women" was an outcome of the Industrial Revolution.

Many researchers have stressed that the increased participation of women in the economic arena was because of the exigent need of industrial communities for cheap workforce rather than promotion of their status in society. Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, women have been active in varied economic fields but the western view of them has never been based on equality of the rights of women and men. This is a clear reality that has even been approved by the official statistics of national and international organizations. Ample evidence shows that women have stood inferior to men in terms of the salary they receive and the quality of the job they are employed in.

The UN Women 2015 report on the status of women in the western countries makes it clear that although women are currently engaged in different jobs in terms of quantity, according to hard and fast figures and evidence, most of them are employed in secondary and less significant jobs; so that the important jobs with high salaries and future progress are exclusively at the disposal of men. Although some women exacerbate this trend their number is not remarkable. According to the statistics of UN Women, the number of women as workforce in North America, Canada and Australia reaches 64%, in Western Europe amounts to 62% and in the Central and Eastern Europe it amounts to 50%; but in sum, 63% of these women work as employees or are engaged in lower jobs.

This was confirmed in a report that was published about some countries a while ago.

According to the report, the top jobs for women in the US include: secretary, cashier, sales specialist, official nurse, assistant nurse, teacher, librarian, accounting employer, waitress, saleswoman, receptionist of hotel, computer operator, cook, inspector, office cleaner, factory employer, hairdresser, spinning machine operator. In Germany, too, more than 70% of the employed women work in low jobs and often service sector. 73% of the half-time servants of universities and academic centers in Germany are women; whereas just 3.2% of the CEOs of big companies and 5.5% of CEOs of medium companies are women. Moreover, only 496 out of 13,153 members of the board of directors of top companies in Germany are women. The name of no woman is seen as the head of these boards, either. Such is the situation in France, too. The number of the French women, who are employed as workers or employees, is 14.6 and 8.4 respectively. Most of the French women are engaged in services and cleaning jobs which are mostly half-time or temporary.

Now let us listen to the remarks of the expert of the program, Ms. Akhundan,

"Different foundations and institutions in the western countries claim that there is no barrier against the progress of women but the fact is that a small number of women are promoted and those who work in expertise and managerial jobs are paid much less than their male colleagues. This can be seen everywhere, in commercial institutes, scientific, legal and medical foundations. In Britain, the average salary of women is less than men. Although for the recent decades this difference has somehow been reduced, women are often employed in the jobs that are paid lower wages. In similar jobs, women still get lower salaries compared with men. For instance, secretaries in Britain earn 60% of their male peers and saleswomen are paid 57% of salesmen. American writer, Madeleine French, has presented valuable information on the harmful effects of women's employment in the west, especially in the US. She says that although 55% of women in the US are paid for their job, all of them face discrimination. The discriminatory state and violent sexual treatments of women in workplaces has increased in the industrialized societies to the extent that the women attending the convention of removal of discrimination were urged to think of solutions to be inserted in the articles of Beijing Global Document (1995) to decrease sexual harassment against employed women."

For the past two decades, the so-called gender equality is considered as an important issue in western countries. The spread of feminist views among women's communities in the west has just yielded the fruit of giving inferior jobs to women with the lowest wages. Furthermore, sexual harassment continues to be rampant in workplaces. The fact of the matter is that decades of preaching about equality of men and women in all aspects which is indeed similarity and sameness of men and women has greatly failed.

Islam stresses an important principle, i.e. it is the man who is duty-bound to secure the family economically. This means that women have economic independence. Therefore, if a woman works and earns money she is the owner of her money and has no duty vis-à-vis the economy of family. She can even get money for what she does at home and the husband is religiously obligated to pay her. But, Islam is the religion of moralities, too. So, it says the couples can decide on the affairs of family to make a happy and sound life.

RM/SS                         

 

Aug 20, 2018 21:05 UTC
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