Gender Based Violence, Inequality, and The Work Force

By Paramjot Kaur

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Violence Against Women is an epidemic that plagues the international community. The roots of the problem grow from gender inequality, traditions, and culture. During the National and Community Based Prevention Programs Addressing Intimate Partner Violence panel, it was discussed that “little boys aren’t born thinking they need to exercise power over girls,” that “violence is a symptom of a much deeper problem.” Avni Amin from the World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research introduced the entry point for the medical field in bridging the gender gap: bettering maternal and reproductive health services. In areas that have labor markets dominated by physical work, men are giving priority in hospitals. Addressing the importance of maternal and reproductive health care sends a message that women are supported, too.  This adds an additional layer of commitment to gender equality, which will remove the delusional curtain of inferiority between the genders.

In the Violence Against Women in the Workforce panel, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) was identified as a hindrance for working women as well. While in the Enhancing Opportunities for Rural Women’s Employment panel, it was discussed that women who earn an income hold a greater amount of respect in society and are even forms of authority, this does not imply that they do not face obstacles in the working space. Sharman Stone, a Member of the Australian House of Representatives, brought up the issue of women limiting the possibilities of fields to work in due to GBV and gender-segregation. There is a pattern of women choosing to work in “safer areas,” areas that have a high number of women working there already. As a result, women veer away from less women populated working fields since they lack the atmosphere and norms that allow for a comfortable working experience. To cut down on this problem, the government of Australia has invested $13 million in projects aimed to removing inappropriate and sexually degrading images of women in office spaces and created a website called respect.gov.au to educate about the importance of equality.

Another area of the workforce that demands attention is the Restaurant Workers Industry. Millions of women are employed in this market. A particularly eye-raising concern is that many women employees have to face being sexually grabbed, molested, and being discriminated against because of their wages being tip-based. Many report that their managers tell them to “suck it up” and to deal with the misbehavior because it will increase their chances of being tipped. A solid solution proposed is to apply the minimum wage to this industry as well and remove the tip-based earning. This is a small but relative connection to the statistic of women who earn higher wages experiencing less GBV and inequality.

Women need to be seen as the independent, authority wielding figures that they are. The need to transform the workplace along with other spheres like health care services demands proactive measures in the present so we can make Agenda 2030 a reality.

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