Gender Inequality and Physical Health Problems

All people are born to be equal as a person, and his or her feelings and freedoms are of the highest value. Mutual respect, access to all possible services, free choice are the basic principals of human existence in the modern world. People were suffering from different kinds of inequality for centuries. In the XXI century, there are formal instruments of struggle against discrimination. The most significant step in overcoming the problems of inequality is a profound analysis of human nature. Regardless of skin color, origin, race, and gender, all people have something in common. All people can feel, they can be happy or miserable, and it does not depend on their gender or nationality.

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For decades, people all over the world try to solve discrimination problems. There is a multitude of international organizations and committees that joined for the efficient and rapid solution to this issue. Discrimination concerns all spheres of human life. Discriminated people are almost defenseless. They have no effective methods of overcoming these challenges. There are a lot of written documents devoted to this issue, but they show their ineffectiveness because people are still facing the problem of racial, gender, or other kinds of discrimination. Thus, people all over the world have the same problems. It is one more additional evidence of human equality. All religions also claim the equality of all people in the sight of God. Christianity states that all people are brothers and sisters, Adam and Eve children. According to Buddhism, all people are equal in their suffering. Islamic tenets maintain that people are equal in their obedience to Allah. Thus, the equality of all persons all over the world was the primary value since ancient times.

Gender discrimination is one of the vital issues of modern society. It demands urgent measures as everyday women suffer domestic violence and social injustice. This problem may have different nature and character depending on the country, on religious beliefs and traditions. However, the consequences of this issue are equally tragic for all, regardless of the location of the challenge. Gender inequality is based on prejudice, mostly. It seems strange that people in the XXI century still believe in the superiority of one gender over another. This kind of discrimination is based on stereotypes about gender roles in society. There are different ways to express gender discrimination; it may take place in hiring, in the decision on membership in some organizations, insurance, or credit. It is clear that sexism is condemned in society; people all over the world treat it as a negative phenomenon.

However, this problem remains unsolved. Today, women try to prove that they can compete with men equally. Every day they assure men that they can manage any man’s work. All these efforts have the only aim: women want to prove that they deserve to be independent and respected by men. People should learn to respect nature. It is perfect. It made us equal, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or race. Women tend to be heard, and they want to enjoy international human rights equally with men. Very often, women are treated as stupid, careless, and incompetent. Thus, it demands some additional efforts to get fixed up for a job, to show that they are full-fledged members of the society.

This universal issue has different nature in various locations, among different people, and in different situations. However, it breaks the destinies, destroys a woman’s self-esteem, and creates an enormous gap between modern people and progress. We do some investigations, explore the unknown, produce goods, but we still do not understand the real predestination of man and woman in this world. Women are strong and independent, and they can do everything by themselves, but men should be more respectful of women’s natural peculiarities.

Sometimes gender discrimination can have even more severe consequences than one can imagine. Today, women account for nearly half of all HIV infections in the world, and the majority of HIV cases take place in Africa South of the Sahara (Kenschaft, Clark, and Ciambrone 79). The reason is the subordinate position of women in political, social, economic, and sexual spheres, enshrined in law and deeply rooted in culture and practice. Sigma and violence are the daily conditions of life for many women living with HIV. In many countries, national laws restrict the right of women to own, inherit, and dispose of the property. Women suffer from inequalities in access to education, credit, employment, and the possibility of obtaining a divorce.

Legal and social inequality makes women economically dependent on men. It deprives them of the ability to break a relationship in which they cannot refuse sex or insist on condom use. There are cases when women are forced to provide sexual services, or they find themselves in a situation where the conditions of residence or work put women at risk of sexual or physical abuse. All these factors increase the risk of HIV transmission to women. Violence against women is a global epidemic and contributes to the high rates of HIV among women. Sexual relations by force increase the likelihood of HIV transmission more than consensual sex. Because of the violence or fear of violence, women hesitate to be screened for HIV, to insist on condom use and disclose their HIV status to a sexual partner (Blair, Paxton and Kamb 505).

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There are countries where marital rape is not a crime. Even if violence against women is prohibited by law, very often, such laws are violated, and there is no responsibility for these violations. Thus, sometimes legislation shows its ineffectiveness and formal character. In many countries, women that suffered rape or sexual abuse have almost no hope of a fair trial and the recovery of damages due to the inadequacy of the investigation of such crimes and also because of the bias and corruption of the judiciary. Survivors of sexual violence, in most cases, have no access to the post-exposure prevention of HIV transmission. For many women living with HIV and vulnerable to this disease, the healthcare system is not the place where they receive treatment and care. Many women face prejudice and discrimination there. There is a lack of full reproductive health services, although they are primarily in the prevention of HIV infection among women and girls (Blair, Paxton, and Kamb 512). Access to them is restricted by laws in almost all regions of the world.

Thus, in practice, HIV-infected women have no real opportunities to receive the treatment of an eminently qualified specialist. Women are subjected to harassment and violence when it becomes known that they are living with HIV; therefore, women prefer not to be tested for HIV and consulted by a doctor. The pregnant woman with HIV is often faced with the fact that healthcare workers condemn and blame her instead of suggesting treatment, effectively preventing the transmission of the virus from mother to child. It should be noted that conditions of ensuring the hygiene needs and medical support of women in the places of confinement are unsatisfactory. Hence, it is a violation of several international human rights. It means that women are highly restricted in their freedom and rights (Grodin et al. 347).

Women are half of the people living on Earth. The double standard against girls and women causes damage to society and negatively affects economic development. Countries where women enjoy equal rights are more developed and wealthy. In comparison with conservative countries, such countries prosper faster; their economic situation is better, they have a more efficient system of public administration (Kiriti-Ng’ang’a 48). Respect for human rights is a significant factor in the progress and development of the country. The combating of gender discrimination can be difficult because it goes against the deeply-rooted local traditions of some countries and regions. Today, laws are revised in many countries. However, people still live following deeply rooted cultural beliefs (Prah 225).

Nowadays, there are a lot of institutions aimed at overcoming the issue of gender discrimination. There are a lot of international organizations that evaluate progress on gender equality in the world. Gender equality and respect for women’s rights is one of the primary activities of the United Nations Organization. Gender equality In itself is not its only goal, but it is considered as the most important mean of achieving all the other goals of development, including the Millennium Development Goals. The eradication of hunger and poverty, the access to primary education and health services, and the fight against HIV/AIDS – all of these activities require systematic attention to the needs, priorities, and broad participation of both women and men. The UN actively supports the powers of women and respect for their human rights. It is working to eliminate all forms of violence against women, including violence in armed conflicts and trafficking. The UN also accepts global norms and standards, carrying out their subsequent monitoring at the national level, often linking their activity with the help in the development of this or that country.

It is necessary to develop institutions for gender equality to establish a more progressive policy on this issue:

  1. legislation (the adoption of the law on gender equality, the examination of all laws on the contradiction to the principles of gender equality);
  2. structure and organization (implementation of the national mechanism for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, including the creation and execution of the national plan of action for the advancement of women or on gender equality, the formation of committees and commissions on gender equality in the executive and legislative branches with a high provision of power and resources);
  3. social norms (gender education, the rejection of gender stereotypes).

The gap between stereotypes and real circumstances, the contradiction between social standards, and the requirements of real social systems are always a barrier to development (Murthy and Smith 438). It is necessary to introduce new formal rules for overcoming the adverse effects of informal norms and rules of behavior, generally intractable rules underlying sex stereotypes. Often we are faced with a situation of a vicious circle of stereotyping; discriminatory practices cannot be stopped because of the presence of stereotypes. Innovative development of society is closely linked to the development of human rights of the third generation (in particular, women’s rights).

Gender equality as a component of democratic development (accessibility, transparency, and accountability of institutions, the existence of a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness), has a positive impact on economic development (Murthy and Smith 438). The development of gender equality is a source of social modernization and innovation. On the contrary, the patriarchal gender order hinders social and economic development, resulting in financial losses. Social norms (the rejection of gender stereotypes) can influence awareness campaigns and gender education. Also, state examination of the content of educational courses and textbooks for the absence of gender stereotypes is required. The gender education course should be implemented in the curriculum. There is also a need for the creation of teachers’ code containing the restrictions on the distribution of sex stereotypes in the classroom.

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All these measures are aimed at the struggle with the problem of racial discrimination and the consequences connected with it. HIV-infected women need to be understood by society, but not to be judged by it. Females are more liable to become infected by reason of gender inequality. On this account, this problem demands urgent measures connected with the reforming of the educational, healthcare, and legislative system. All world community should be engaged in the solution of this issue to avoid the tragedies. Women all over the world should be protected and provided with high-quality medical care. Every single sphere of everyday life should be examined carefully to avoid the propaganda of stereotyping and gender discrimination.

Works Cited

Blair, Janet M., Lynn A. Paxton and Mary L. Kamb. “HIV And AIDS in Women.” Women and Health. Marlene B. Goldman, Rebecca Troisi and Kathryn M. Rexrode. 2nd ed. New York: Academic Press, 2012. 505-522. Print.

Grodin, Michael, Daniel Tarantola, George Annas and Sofia Gruskin. Health and Human Rights in a Changing World. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Kenschaft, Lori, Roger Clark, and Desiree Ciambrone. Gender Inequality in Our Changing World, London: Routledge, 2015. Print.

Kiriti-Ng’ang’a, Tabitha W. Institutions and Gender Inequality. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), 2011. Print.

Murthy, Padmini, and Clyde Lanford Smith. Women’s Global Health and Human Rights. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2010. Print.

Prah, Mansah. Insights into Gender Equity, Equality and Power Relations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kampala: Fountain Publishers, 2013. Print.

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