Gender issues have been raising serious concerns in my community. The Middle East communities living in the United States are faced by serious gender issues that are yet to be addressed. The issues are also fuelled by the gender discrimination that faces the larger American society. The issue of gender discrimination is therefore not a problem with the Middle East communities only but also in the larger American society. Middle East cultures are dominated by the Islamic religion that has a substantial impact on people’s lives (Chatty 250). Most aspects of people’s lives are therefore influenced by religious practices and teachings. The Islamic religion puts the female gender below the male gender where opinions of male members of the society count more than the female voices. Living in a religious diverse American society reveals inequalities in the society that in turn makes it necessary to implement corrective measures aimed at upholding the female gender. However, realization of gender equality cannot be propagated by the Middle East communities alone. There should be cooperation in the larger society to ensure elements of gender discrimination are addressed. However some elements that is specific to the Middle East communities that need to be addressed first to put the Middle East women at the same level with other women to provide a basis for making other improvements. The problems that are specific to the community include lack of women empowerment in decision making and low participation in politics. After addressing these issues, focus should be put on realizing equality in education and work place. Evidence shows that there is massive gender inequality in education institutions and work place that needs to be addressed.
The participation of the Middle East women in politics is minimal. There are some specific factors that reduce their participation in politics. Firstly, Islamic laws reserve the leadership roles to the male gender(Chatty 256). It implies that a Middle East woman who is aggressive in politics is considered to be against the Islamic norms. These practices are applicable in the Middle East where there are autocratic systems of government. A democratic system of government that is common in the United States and other western countries encourages the participation of women in politics. Some of the world’s largest democracies such as Germany, United Kingdom, and Brazil have at one time been led by women heads of government. Currently, the German chancellor and the president of Brazil are women that are a clear indication that women play a crucial role in politics. Although the United States has never had a female president, the participation of women in making political decisions is high that makes it necessary to motivate the Middle East women to actively engage in politics. Most of the Middle East women in the United States are well educated that gives them positions them favorably in making political decisions and vying for political offices. Having many Middle East female politicians would not only improve the position of the Middle East women but also as a motion to young women across the United States.
The ability of women to make decisions needs to be enhanced at the community lever. The Middle East cultures hinder the participation of women in making critical decisions. Their decision making is restricted to the family level where they maintain a substantial control on family matters. The Middle East cultures are characterized by a clear separation of duties between the female and the male gender. This separation of duties where the control of women is only felt at family level is damaging to the development of the Middle East women. Women are confronted with tough decisions in their careers, school, and in the political environment. Failure to grant the middle east women the independence to make key decisions reduces their ability to make informed decision outside the family environment. Granting them sufficient authority in a civilized society enables them to make political, professional, and education impact.
Having empowered the Middle East women in making decisions and increasing their political participation, it is necessary to now focus on the broad gender issues that face the general society. Gender inequality is present in the education sector as well as in work environment. Stakeholders in the government and in the civil society have been pushing for gender equality in different areas. The government has introduced several legislations aimed at promoting the status of women in the society.
Gender inequality in the education sector compromises the economic and professional development of women. Technical causes are male dominated and female students avoid science courses since they are considered too technical. As a result, female students end up pursuing non technical courses that are not as marketable as the technical courses (Cooray, Arusha, and Niklas 268-269). The perception that technical courses are reserved for male student is created by the society. There are stereotypes that make women to be perceived as weak members of the society who cannot accomplish hard tasks. Women have therefore accepted that hard tasks should be accomplished by men. The society’s value system inculcates these beliefs in people at childhood that makes it difficult to alter their beliefs at adulthood. It is therefore necessary to make interventions at family and school level to make girls understand that they have equal capacities with male students. The early grades of learning should be characterized by guidance with an aim of improving the confidence of the female students. High school learning should focus on training female students on making informed course selection. They should be motivated to take technical courses after completing their high school education. Institutions of higher learning and the government give the female students incentives to make them pursue technical courses. Gender balance in the institutions of higher learning would enhance the professional and economic development of women(Cooray, Arusha, and Niklas 270) .
Gender discrimination at workplace is a serious issue around the world. Women are exposed to different forms of discrimination that is compromising their well being. The main dimensions of discrimination include employment, compensation and promotion. Evidence shows that women are discriminated during hiring. The reasons of the discrimination are maternal responsibilities and skills deficit. Employers avoid employing working mothers due to maternal responsibilities. Such a trend is leading to many women at child bearing age being denied a chance to build their professional experience. The law requires employers to grant female employees a twelve months maternity leave after delivery. Employers therefore avoid having many young women at the workplace since organizational work suffers when many women are on maternity leave. Maternity leaves increases operational costs as workers that are on leave are entitled to a full salary despite not offering any services to the employer. Women are also discriminated in employment based on skills. Employers seek to engage applicants with specific skills. Women lack technical skills due to their failure to enroll in technical courses. On the other hand male applicants have technical skills that makes them the most preferred candidates.
Women are discriminated in compensation. A female worker in the United States earns 22% less than a male worker performing similar tasks. In the United Kingdom, female workers earn 81% of the earnings of male counterparts performing similar tasks (Bobbitt-Zeher 765-767). The pay discrimination compromises the economic welfare of female workers. Women are discriminated in promotion leading to creation of top managements that are male dominated. Senior managerial positions are demanding that requires persons occupying such positions to dedicate a lot of time serving the employer. The ability of working mothers to dedicate more hours working to the employer is compromised by the maternal responsibilities. Employers therefore avoid promoting female employees to senior positions due to their inability to dedicate most of their time performing official duties. The government at the state and federal level has been in the forefront in promoting gender equality in the work environment. However, the private sector is unwilling to give women equal opportunities at work place due to financial ramifications.
In conclusion, gender equality issues raise serious concerns in my community and the larger society. Addressing the problem at the community level is not adequate since women are discriminated in the larger society. At community level, women need to be encouraged to participate in politics. They also need to be empowered to enable them make decisions. At the society level, equality is needed in the education sector and work environment.
Bobbitt-Zeher, Donna. “Gender Discrimination at Work.” Gender & Society 25.6 (2011) : 764 -786.
Chatty, Dawn. “Displacement and dispossession in the modern Middle East.” Middle East (2010) : 249-261.
Cooray, Arusha, and Niklas Potrafke. “Gender inequality in education: Political institutions or culture and religion?” European Journal of Political Economy27.2 (2011) : 268-280.