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Women - Second-Class People?

Not long ago a man appeared in court in an Asian country that has legal equality between men and women. He was accused of killing his adulterous wife and found guilty. The punishment? A suspended sentence. Almost immediately afterward, a housewife appeared in the same court before the same judge. She was accused of killing her husband because he had been chasing after other women. She was found guilty and sentenced-to 15 years in prison!

Many women complain that often they are viewed as second-class citizens, without the same rights, protections or considerations that men receive. The sad truth is that in many lands women are not valued or appreciated as much as men are. The above was one example of this. There are many others.

Among some Bedouins, when a new baby is born someone has the job of telling the father. If the baby is a boy, the father will be hailed with a word meaning "good tidings." He will usually give a small gift to the news bearer and sacrifice a sheep or give a feast if he can afford it. But if it is a girl, there will be no "good tidings," no reward and no feast. At mealtimes, in this tribe, the older men eat first, then the younger men and boys, and last of all the women and the girls.

There are countries where women may not drive automobiles. They may not travel without the consent of their husbands or guardians and then only in the company of relatives. Neither can they appear in mixed company on social occasions or hold a job that brings them in contact with men. And although they have the task of caring for young children, they have no opportunities to get an education.

Consider, too, this sad report. In India, the second-most populous country in the world, "it is not uncommon today to hear of abandoned babies in city drains, in a jungle or outside a temple or foundling home. For every baby boy abandoned, there are five baby girls. Experienced nurses in public hospitals report that the desire to get rid of girl babies is so strong that some mothers have to be forced to feed them. Sometimes it even drives parents to commit infanticide on female babies.

Reportedly, in that country girls are viewed as an economic liability, hence the dismay when they are born. Marrying them off costs a lot of money, and once married, they are at the mercy of their in-laws.

Of course, women are not oppressed everywhere. There are countries where they have a lot of influence and seem close to equality with men. And even where not equal, their rights are often protected. However, millions of women live under great disadvantages. Sometimes they are weighed down by sheer hard work.

Who Does More Work?

For one thing, in many of the world's poorer countries, most of the work involved in food production is performed by women. A United Nations study of one African region found that the men there worked an average of 1,800 hours a year in agriculture, and then their work was more or less finished. The women, on the other hand, worked an average of 2,600 hours a year in the fields, and then their work had only begun. In addition they had to do their regular chores at home.

Thus, the women there work an average of eight hours a day, almost every day, 52 weeks a year, before they can start their cooking, washing, cleaning and other household chores-for which, of course, they usually have no modern conveniences. In Africa women do 60 to 80 percent of all agricultural work, plus 50 percent of animal husbandry, and 100 percent of the needed food processing.

A study of an Asian village revealed an average working day of 16 hours for women. In the case of younger women, this work load was combined with frequent pregnancy, childbirth and breast feeding-jobs that are tiring enough by themselves.

Seemingly, much of the outside help directed to poor countries only adds to this problem, since it is often directed to the jobs traditionally done by men. A certain African country, for example, imported 100 tractors but only one mechanical weeder. The result? The plowing time-a man's job-was drastically reduced, while the sowing and weeding time-the woman's job-was correspondingly increased. It seems that many women need all that built-in endurance just to survive!

Of course, in poorer countries everyone's life is hard. There is much abject poverty, malnutrition, horrible sickness and deep ignorance. Often, both men and women are trapped by oppressive traditions that keep them from acting in a more humane and reasonable way toward one another. But it must be admitted that in many cases women have the greater burdens to bear. Just to keep going under such hardships is an achievement in itself.

About Author
Frankie Goh is a family counselor and researcher.
He manage a website : Earn Money Online
He is also the Internet Marketing Co-ordinator of Ultra-Herbal Products and MoneyList Profits Program.
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