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

By Eschel M. Rhoodie | Go to book overview

29. Summary and Conclusions

The consensus of almost all qualified observers is that women, worldwide, have made their greatest gains the past 20 years in the purely legislative field. It is true this was accompanied by a vast increase in the number of women in employment and education, but the social, economic and political status of women, compared to that of men, is still one of subordination. And in the workplace wage discrimination and occupational segregation, often the result of government intervention, is still widespread.

There are islands in the women's world where individual countries have marked up progress towards equality over a broader spectrum. In certain individual countries ( Norway and Sweden, for example), women have made remarkable progress under laws designed specifically to eliminate discrimination on grounds of gender and to give women an equal chance in the field of politics, education, and employment. Not one country in the African, Asian, Latin American or the Communist world can be included in this group, which is mostly European, North American, or Nordic.

On paper, the Communist world has the most comprehensive set of laws to ensure women's equality, but it is an equality only on paper and in terms of ideology. Of this the Soviet Union is a worse culprit than China. In the Third World the gap between what appears on paper and what is happening in practice has increased rather than decreased. United Nations member states which helped launch the Decade for Women (with considerable fanfare) have openly expressed their disappointment with this development, or, rather, lack of development. "All the results point to a highly unsatisfactory situation and a deteriorating trend in the position of women in developing countries," the representative of India at the United Nations pointed out in a letter to the Secretary General of March 30, 1983. He pointed out that this deterioration took place despite the U.N. Conference on the Role of Women in the Developing States, held at Bagdad in May 1979, which specifically called for progress in women's status to become part of the national strategies of developing states. He also referred to the Seventh Conference of Heads of States of Non- aligned Countries, held at New Delhi in 1983, which gave further support to this goal. The problem is that India itself is one of the worst examples of equality that exists only on paper.

In a United Nations Report, The Decade for Women in Latin America and the Caribbean ( Santiago, Chile, 1988), the rapporteur said that there is no doubt that the de juro and de facto treatment of women in this area of the world are also two different matters. "Experience has shown that the laws are inadequate except as a means of expressing an ideal." Significant progress has

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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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