Cherry - various sources
Gender discrimination has been around since the beginning of human existence. However, it seems that women have just become aware of the problem not so long ago. For many years, women didnít play an important role in the material of the world. The world was dominated by men .
A recently as the late 19th century, in the USA, women didnít play important public roles. Though some of them were educated, they could not break the authority of patriarchal culture. Then they revolted. They demanded their rights as citizens. One of the rights they asked for was the right to vote.
Since then, the womenís movement has become more obvious. Itís happening everywhere, icluding in Indonesia. We can say that the womenís movement in Indonesia started in late 19th century. However, unlike in America, in Indonesia the movement happened sporadically. Most pioneers of this movement, such as RA Kartini, Dewi Sartika and Rohana Koedoes, were more concerned about educating rights as citizens. This can be understood because at the time Indonesia was still occupied by the Dutch.
Now the condition for women is much better than it was in the 19th century. Women can vote and be elected for a particular position. Legally, they have the same rights as men. Does it mean that thereís no gender discrimination anymore? Iím afraid say that gender discrimination still happens
Gender equality is something easy to talk about but difficult to apply perhaps itís true to say that now days girls are given ďmore spaceĒ to develop themselves. However, peopleís perspectives of gender equality vary from person to person. Some men are very open-minded with a new paradigm of women being equal to men. They have no problem with gender equality and donít feel threatened by it. So, they donít mind competing with women to be the best in a particular field. Other menís attitudes are average moderate. These men can accept equality, but they set down limits, though sometimes the limits are still arguable. A very strict male attitude is not tolerating what so ever with equality. Supporters of this view think that each gender has its own duties and the duties are clear. They cannot be changed
Perhaps one of the things that cannot be changed for certain people is having a women leader. Itís true that we have Megawati Soekarno Putri as our ex president. During the last presidential election some voters in MPR clearly stated their objection to having a women as president. Their objection varied, but mostly they opposed the idea because their principle was that women cannot be an effective leader. On a smaller scale such things still happen. Is just example when a women comes up to an election, sometimes people tend to wonder whether she could do the job well or not. Even if the candidate herself has clearly stated that sheís capable, people still doubt her. The doubts usually are not based on competence but more on gender
Ironically, the doubts are sometimes also stated by women. Some women would prefer to have a male leader rather than a female leader. The reasons? Varied, I guess.
Peopleís opinions womenís roles are diverse. In some cultures, women are valued by their capability to perform domestic chores, such as cooking, taking care of the house and caring for the children. They are not encouraged to work outside of home. And when they are not good at domestic chores (although good at some other things), people tend to look down on them.
What about working women?
Now days, more and more women are joining the workforce. In big cities like Jakarta, people are getting use to this phenomenon. However, those women are expected to perform their double roles as career women and housewives. They might have a carrier outside the house, but they should not ignore their domestic chores.
Perhaps the most moderate school of thought is best illustrated by the following view on women. Women may have a career but at the same time they should not forget domestic duties. However, they may share the responsibility of doing the domestic chores with their spouses. But of course, this can only happen if thereís an understanding between the two parties
It seems that many girls prefer to be appreciated based on their physical appearance rather than their intellectual skills. This statement may sound exaggerated, but if we take a look at the commercial in the media, we may see some truth in it. Another proof is the beauty contest. It is true that participants of beauty contest should b intelligent and smart. But a smart-intelligent-but-not-so-pretty girl wonít stand a chance in such competitions. This means that beauty come first.
Girls preference to be valued for their outer beauty might be the reason who we tend not to trust females to be leaders. Perhaps we think that when a girl prefers to be valued for her outer beauty, she will care more about her appearance and doesnít really care about other things. Is that true? I guess it would be stereotyping if we judge every girl that way. But like it or not, thisís what some of us think.
In theory, women and men have the same rights and responsibilities according to law. In practice, however, the discrimination still occurs. Why does it still happen and how does it happen?