June 18 2013
The Fight Against Sexism
Sexism, in the form of gender discrimination and gender-based violence, too often results in female children being aborted before birth or raped and sexually tortured at some point in their lives. Furthermore, gender discrimination limits the economic opportunities for many women around the world, as they cannot work or are not seen as needed. Sexism is dangerous to society, especially in low-income countries. Where preferences is given to male babies over female babies, which contributes to limitation of women’s economic choices and creates a culture of violence against women and girls. Sexism is dangerous to society, because it is causing a population decrease in women. Sheryl WuDunn, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for her book Half the Sky stated in her 2010 Ted Talk lecture that there are approximately 60-100 million missing females in the population, due to women being discriminated to death, or aborted before they are even get a chance at life (Wudunn). Furthermore, this is a very big issue in society and in low-income countries. The fact that women are disrespected in low-income countries shows a lack of knowledge and cultural differences between more modernized countries and in these low-income countries. In many poor countries, women abort a child just because the fetus is female. India is an example where sex selection is common. Most of the abortions in India are done privately; therefore there is no good statistics available about the frequency of abortion of female fetuses. However, anecdotally, there is substantial evidence that female fetuses are now being aborted in hugely disproportionate numbers after the parents visit a sex-determination clinic. It has been legal in India to have an abortion through 20 weeks of pregnancy since 1971. The reason given most often for India's preference for males is that farming fathers need male children to work the fields, and about 70 percent of all Indians still live off the land. In addition, there is no social security system in India, and male children are expected to support their parents in their old age; female children traditionally move in with the family of the husband at marriage and all their earnings stay with that family. It costs 500 rupees ($42) for the amniocentesis test, and 50,000 rupees ($4,200) is the cost of a modest dowry today for a marriageable daughter. If a couple has a son, they not only avoid paying a dowry, but they can instead look forward to being on the receiving end when marriage time comes (Kaufman). This shows that a girl is a burden in India, consequently there is more beneficial to have a boy then a girl. This is the reason for the huge amounts of abortion in India. Furthermore, girls are often raped and tortured in some low-income countries because of their gender. Sexism is very dangerous in poor countries such as India, because of the deeply rooted stereotypes regarding the worth of women and girls. Sunitha Krishnan, the co-founder of a group in Hyderabad that rescues women from brothels and educates their children to prevent second-generation prostitution, in her 2009 Ted talk lecture notes that a little girl from an unknown background was found in a truck. She had been raped by many men. Shaheen had to get 32 stitches in order to get her intestines back inside her body after being raped by hundreds of men. Still today no one knows who her parents are; all we know is that hundred of men had used her (Krishnan). Of course, boys are also raped and tortured; however, the majority of victims of gender-based violence are girls and women. This is a gender issue that is very dominant in poor countries. The reason for this issue is because men feel it is their right. If raping little girls is not seen as a harmful thing, then what is? Men have the power in these low-income countries, and women are seen as nothing. This means that women...