Gender Bias Still Plagues Women in Developing Countries

Manila Bulletin, March 31, 2002 | Go to article overview

Gender Bias Still Plagues Women in Developing Countries


TAMIRA Jagosina, 24, a newly registered nurse, was told by a Tananarive, Madagascar, hospital that her application for employment was turned down. The reason - a male nurse was hired instead of her.

Yet, she and the male nurse were of the same age and had basically the same qualifications.

Promptly, women's rights organizations in the region took the cudgels for the young Madagascar native. They cited a clear case of gender discrimination simply because Tamira was a woman.

In many developing regions - so-called Third World countries there are countless "Tamiras." These are women who are never given equal opportunities for employment, travel, promotion and other related endeavors.

Women of Our World 2002, a regular statistical report on the global status of women, said the feminine gender openly suffers inequality or disparity.

The sensitive fields that women blatantly experience discrimination or bias are health, education and (human) rights.

The prejudice limits their schooling, hinders their ability to plan their pregnancies, and affords them few economic opportunities.

In industrialized countries, however, women have gained greater progress and achieved some measure of equality.

The Population Reference Bureau has come up with this latest document. It is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC.

The PRB data analysis was released in time for the celebration of the International Women's Day last March 8. It catalogs the status of women in 168 countries.

Incidentally, the survey shows the Philippines, among Third World countries, has the highest number of females enrolled in secondary schools per 100 males.

Among other significant findings:

1) Women tend to equal or out-number men in the population for biological reasons. However, some countries, mainly in Asia, have markedly fewer women than men because discrimination against girls and women can result in inferior nutrition and health care and, in some places, sexselective abortions or infanticide.

2) Globally, women account for just under half of adults living with HIV/AIDS. But in sub-Saharan Africa (countries below the Sahara Desert), where the virus is spread mostly through heterosexual activity, 55 percent of infected adults are women. …

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