in Canada & the
Contemporary Social Issues
By Tonya DJ
What is Gender Inequality?
“Gender inequality refers to unequal
treatment or perceptions of individuals
based on their gender. It arises from
differences in socially
constructed gender roles as well as
biologically through chromosomes, brain
structure, and hormonal differences.
Gender inequality stems from distinctions,
whether empirically grounded or socially
constructed. ” (Wikipedia, 2014).
The feminist perspective says there should be autonomy and rights for all citizens as
everyone has value (the same as race, anti-war, etc..) and triumph over discrimination
(Mooney et al, 2013). They recognize that woman are naturally more expressive and
nurturing then men, and men are naturally more task orientated, but women should be
treated the same as men, and this is a social issue, not a biological issue (Mooney et
“It tries to understand the nature of gender inequality, and examines women's social
roles, experiences, and interests. While generally providing a critique of social relations,
much of feminist theory also focuses on analyzing gender inequality and the promotion
of women's interests.” (Boundless Sociology, 2014).
It’s having social equality, in opposition to sexism and patriarchy (where males
hold primary power). Basically, girls and women should be treated equally as all
members of society. Girls and women of all ages have value and discrimination
should be overcome, the same as race, etc..
Gender inequality is still a
huge issue today, where
males are considered
superior to females (Mooney
et al 2013).
Women had to fight to vote,
for equal pay, and to have
male dominant jobs, but still
have lower incomes, fewer
prestigious jobs, usually
female orientated college
degrees, and are more likely
to live in poverty than men
(Mooney et al, 2013).
Inequality in the Home
According to the article “Cooking up Housewives”, in today’s
society, the media has taken over labeling behaviors; the media
didn’t invent them, but are still reinforcing them.
Even though the photograph on the right is a vintage
advertisement, the gender roles shown still carry on today. Most
ads usually show women cooking or cleaning the house or
The article continues to say that the way women are portrayed in
the media have now become the norms, “culturally defined rules
of conduct, of our society”.
We can also mention the “second shift” where women work all
day, usually with less pay than their fellow male co-worker and
are expected to do everything at home. Still clean the house,
make the meals, do all the laundry, etc.
Domestic abuse is another issue in the home, many women flee
their homes due to this and end up living in poverty, another
consequence of inequality (Mooney et al, 2013).
Inequality in the Workplace
According to the “Gender Wage
Gap” (2014), women make .74
cents to the dollar for every man.
0 0.5 1
Why is there Gender Inequality in the
TAKING CARE OF FAMILY: Wage inequality in Canada is due to women losing seniority
and missing out on wage increases from maternity leave, or working less hours taking
care of their families (Gender Wage Gap, 2014).
STEREOTYPES: More women are hired in the healthcare field (nurses) as they are
considered more nurturing then men, or working in childcare, office work (Mooney et all
2013). There is also less unionization, so less protection (Gender Wage Gap, 2014).
EDUCATION: In the past women had lower levels of education so were unable to get
better jobs, this is changing and more women now are getting post-secondary education
(Gender Wage Gap, 2014).
GLASS CEILING: The invisible barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising
upwards on the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements
(Mooney et al, 2013).
SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Many women are sexually harassed and belittled at work, and
some too afraid to come forward in case it jeopardizes their job.
DISCRIMINATION: Some girls/women are only hired if they look a certain way.
Inequality in School
Schools are another place gender inequality is evident, from the books students
read, the curriculum and how teachers may interact with students (Mooney et
This differs from country to country. In some countries girls have no rights are
not allowed to go to school. Others have to work or are married young, or live
in a rural community where they are unable to get to a school. Poverty usually
playing a huge part in most areas not enabling these girls to get an education.
A friend of mine runs a volunteer outreach program to help students (especially
girls) get the education they need in Honduras. Volunteers come and teach
these kids, and the children are provided a hot meal, for most the only meal
they will get that day. Some of these little girls will walk up to 2 hours back and
forth every day in the dangerous jungle to get an education and a meal! It’s
pretty amazing work they do for these kids, giving them a future they wouldn’t
be able to get otherwise. They also help with healthcare too.
Many churches and organizations also build schools in many countries and
offer education to impoverished children and women.
GENDER INEQUALITY CAUSES
Women are more likely to be living in poverty than men, and can be
due to a lack of education, due to single moms that didn’t finish
school,(Mooney et al, 2013).
Lower pay and gender inequality in comparison to men can also be
linked to poverty amongst women (Mooney et al, 2013).
The elderly, especially divorced or senior single women are at the
highest risk for poverty according to the article “Senior’s living in
poverty on the rise in Canada”; due to lower wages, more part-time
work and career gaps when they were younger, so they simply
couldn’t save enough money.
Solutions to the problem would be adjusting the Canada Pension Plan,
and Old Age Security however the Federal government is not helping
enough with that yet (the Canadian Press, 2013).
NEGATIVE VIEWS OF WOMEN VIA
“women cannot be trusted”
“women shouldn’t vote”
“women should stay in the kitchen.”
A division of the United Nations that deals with gender equality
has revealed a new campaign that used Google's search bar
to show shocking negative attitudes toward women.
The campaign shows 4 pictures of women with the search
results blocking their mouths, giving a powerful statement
about gender inequality.
They found searches were made for “women should”," "women
shouldn't," "women cannot" and "women need to." The eye-opening
results include "women shouldn't have rights" and
"women need to be put in their place.“ (Taylor, V., 2013).
GENDER INEQUALITY IN MOVIES Girls have less roles in Television
Starting from a young age girls
may feel less valuable and
insecure due to this.
Women are usually also
portrayed a certain way, with an
idealized physique, giving girls
insecurity at a very young age.
A Psychology Today survey
showed of 3,452 women
surveyed, 23% said that movie or
television celebrities influenced
their body image when they were
young, and 22% were influenced
by fashion magazine models.
POOR SELF IMAGE &
Girls and women are belittled and de-valued
every day. Girls are victims of
being forced into the sex trade, as well as
being victimized by photographers and
even friends on social media.
Women are not taken seriously, and this
has a lot to do with how our social world
and media portrays women (we see this on
magazine covers and especially with the
sex trade, prostitution, girls turning to
strip clubs for income (or being forced
into it), pornography and how destructive
this is to women (and men distorting their
views on women).
Media’s Portrayal of how girls and women should look in our culture
poses many dangers.
It can cause Mental Health Issues and Eating Disorders.
Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign for girls is a great example of loving
yourself for who you are. Other companies are following suit as well.
More needs to be done in this department with the media, ensuring
our children see all girls as beautiful, mind and body and spirit.
We can see here how girls should be valued, and at a young age
should be taught there are no reasons for girls to feel like they are
inferior or have to try to be someone else or fit a certain standard.
Please take a minute to watch the video below about
Gendercide, what some call, “The Modern Day Holocaust” :
Did you know
Canada has ZERO
Gendercide is happening
in our own country.
Many parents choose to
abort their babies if
female in Canada.
Canada (along with China and North
Korea) are the only countries that have
zero pre-born human rights, and it is legal
to abort up till 9 months (weneedalaw.ca).
Solutions to Gendercide would be Up to
Date Laws like other countries for
Although women’s rights are improving
in other areas, there are no women’s
rights in the womb in Canada .
Much awareness and education needs to
be done on this subject, especially in
schools. If our country currently has no
laws or much awareness about
gendercide abortions, will we eventually
turn out to be like India or China?
Aboriginal Women - Inequality
This year we saw an online campaign for Aboriginal women on Twitter
and Facebook directed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Aboriginal women posted pictures of themselves with a sign saying
“Am I Next?”
This was to raise awareness to the almost 1200 missing and murdered
Aboriginal girls over Canada.
According to “No More Stolen Sisters: Justice for the missing and
murdered Indigenous women of Canada”, “Indigenous women are
going missing and being murdered at a much higher rate than other
women in Canada—a rate so high it constitutes nothing less than a
national human rights crisis.”
GENDER INEQUALITY AROUND THE WORLD
Millions of women around the world are victims of violence, discrimination and abuse. Genital mutilation is a shocking type of violence against women
practiced in different cultures (Mooney et al, 2013).
Religious abuse and inequality is seen in Taliban & Afghan communities where women must be covered, are beaten, and are stripped of all rights (Feminist
Majority Foundation, 2014).
Some countries force little girls into marriage, some die, are not able to go to school, and have premature babies and other health issues (Hedeyat, n.
In Mauritiana, West Africa, young girls are force fed by their parents and given growth hormones to make them more “marriable”, which is not only shocking,
it poses major health risks to these girls (Batha, e. 2014).
In the Youtube video “Female genital cutting”, a village in Africa is circumcising girls as early as age 2, this violates human rights, not to mention risk of
infection, hemorrhage or even death.
Lack of education for girls is another example of inequality, every girl and woman has a right to read and write and be an active member of society.
Gendercide is rampant in other countries, most notably India & China where women are forced to abort their babies if female. In India for example, babies are
slaughtered after birth as well, tossed in the garbage, or in a field, burned, suffocated, choked to death, it’s being called by some, “the modern day holocaust”.
“Why Gender Equality Matters” (Division of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
Limited Access to Resources
Women are responsible for 60-80% of food production, but have limited
access to resources such as land, credit and new technologies.
Lack of Education
Education and poverty reduction go hand in hand. Progress is being
made, but there are still less girls in school or finishing school. This also
has to do with living in rural areas.
Access to Healthcare
Many women die in childbirth in the developing world and is usually
completely avoidable if proper healthcare was available. HIV/AIDS can
also be diminished with education and reduction of child marriages and
In the Workplace
Still more men than women in paid employment, business and politics.
Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours and earn only 10%
of the world’s income.
Gender Based Violence
Gender-based violence is one of the most socially tolerated abuses of
human rights worldwide. It is a contributor to poverty and ill-health and
prevents many women, from reaching their potential.
AROUND THE WORLD
CONCLUSION & SOLUTIONS
Much has to be done with our society and media and the injustice of gender inequality. Girls and women struggling
for equal pay, positions, title, respect, and still fighting certain communities for the rights over their own bodies.
Solutions would be fostering healthy attitudes and ending discrimination for a better social view on
Teaching our children at a young age to value girls and women and treat them with respect.
Abuse in any form for being female is not acceptable and against the moral code and law.
Education – Literacy. Every girl and woman has a right to read and write and be an active member of society.
Equal Pay - Women can do most work equally the same, if not better (depending on the job) as men, so wages
should reflect the job and performance, not if you are male or female.
Basic Healthcare, especially in under developed countries.
Talking about it, ending stereotypes and discrimination that will benefit our children now, and for a better future.
Sponsor a child in another country to ensure they get education, food and a place to live.
Education in the workplace about sexual harassment so women know they can come forward to report safely.
Volunteers! People willing to give their time to help those in need, especially building schools and teaching abroad.
According to Mooney et al (2013) solutions are fostering literacy, leadership skills, social development, better
healthcare, and giving women rights to make decisions.
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