Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women

By Eschel M. Rhoodie | Go to book overview

17. General Survey

Perspectives on Equality

Communism claims to have emancipated woman and provided her with an equal place in society, not only with equal rights but also with equal opportunities. At the First International Conference for the Decade of Women, held in Mexico City under the auspices of the United Nations, the East Bloc delegates (some of them wives of heads of state) all claimed that women in their countries were already liberated, therefore, not women's rights but world peace and disarmament ought to be the key topics of discussion. 1

The "achievements" in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries have been noted with admiration in many Western nations, but more so in the Third World, which has accepted Soviet propaganda at face value. The Communist countries have made disinformation into a science, and seeing that the status of women in most Third World countries has been so utterly subordinate and lacking in opportunities (in Ethiopia fewer than I percent of women are literate), the position of women in the Soviet Union, relatively speaking, is indeed close to paradise. The same Soviet propaganda, so readily, and naively, accepted by educational institutions and politicians in the Scandinavian and other western states, has also suggested that women in the Soviet Union were better off than women in the West. The reality, for various reasons, has been slow to dawn, though a decade ago prominent Western researchers already debunked the myth of the "glory of Soviet womanhood." As political scientist and Sovietologist Barbara Jancar pointed out in her comparative, interdisciplinary study of women in the Communist world, Westerners have only had carefully selected impressions and incomplete knowledge upon which to base their opinions.

While Communist regimes may be useful vehicles for the emancipation of women in societies in the initial stages of industrialization, said Jancar, severe and permanent ideological and political strictures inhibit women's further advance. She found that sexual stereotyping and all its consequences exist in Communist nations as well. Women are primarily unskilled or semi-skilled workers. Women do become medical doctors in greater percentages than in the West, she said, but she pointed out that medicine in the Communist world enjoys much less prestige and even within the medical profession in the East Bloc there is male-female stratification. Hungarian women doctors, she discovered, could not aspire to become gynecologists or urologists because these carried more prestige and male entrance quotas are much higher than for women. In other branches of society, she said, few women reach positions of executive

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Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Part One Introduction 1
  • 1. the Evaluation and Presentation of Data 2
  • 2. the Status of Women: A Global View 13
  • 3. the Environment of Discrimination 34
  • Part Two: Legal and International Aspects 61
  • 4. the International World 62
  • 5. Constitutional and Statutory Differentiation 79
  • Part Three: the African World 99
  • 6. General Survey. 100
  • 7. Case Study: Nigeria 115
  • 8. Case Study: Kenya Introduction 125
  • 9. Case Study: South Africa 136
  • Part Four: the European Community 165
  • 10. General Survey 166
  • 11. Case Study: United Kingdom 191
  • 12. Case Study: France 201
  • 13. Case Study: West Germany 214
  • 14. Case Study: Switzerland 227
  • Part Five: North America 239
  • 15. Case Study: Canada 240
  • Conclusion 247
  • 16 Case Study: The United States 248
  • Part Six: the Communist East Bloc 289
  • 17. General Survey 290
  • 18. Case Study: the Soviet Union 304
  • Part Seven: Latin America 321
  • 19. General Survey 322
  • 20. Brief Case Studies of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru 332
  • Part Eight: the Arab-Muslim World 345
  • 21. General Survey 346
  • 22. Case Study: Egypt 363
  • 23. Case Study: Tunisia 369
  • 24. Case Study: Iran 375
  • Part Nine: the Asian World 383
  • 25. General Survey 384
  • 26. Case Study: India 395
  • 27. Case Study: Japan 402
  • 28. Case Study: the People's Republic of China 417
  • Part Ten: Conclusions, Recommendations, Guide to Data, and Research Proposals 431
  • 29. Summary and Conclusions 432
  • 31. Data: Guide to Information Sources 481
  • 32. Research Proposals 505
  • Notes 519
  • Bibliography 587
  • Index 601
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