Throughout history, females have been marginalised in the areas of religion, work, and advertising partly due to the reason that most societies in the world are male dominated. Females are considered generally weaker in comparison to their male counterparts. Various religions have reduced the role of females to that of supporting males.
This essay will evaluate how females have been marginalised in the three areas mentioned above, and discuss ways in which the imbalance can be addressed. From the start, it should be clear that a society that segregates women is working hard for its downfall. Countries that have embraced balance between the two genders are recording more growth in all spheres of life.
This is a social process of becoming or being made marginal especially as a group within the larger society. Women have over the years been marginalised from the mainstream spheres like education, employment, and religion. Efforts have been made to emancipate them but as Rollston (2012) observes, it has been one step forward and two steps backwards.
The Augusta National Golf Club, the United States, has allowed its first female member. A careless utterance from a male chauvinist may erode such gains as quickly as they are being made.
Marginalisation in Religion
From the earliest times in history, women have been experiencing marginalization in this area of life. A respected Hebrew man by the name of Ben Sira (as quoted by Rollston, 2012) once equated the birth of a daughter to a loss. Further, he sanitised the wickedness of man and demonised the righteousness of a woman.
In all the four corners of the globe, women were considered man’s property. The Bible has served well to lend credence to this belief. Although some women in the Bible are depicted as successful, for instance, Ruth and Esther, they are still largely viewed as the second class.
In most Biblical texts, women are of the same rank as men. There is a warning to men against covetousness. Women have not been warned against coveting men. It seems that the Ten Commandments were written for men not women. The phrase “my son” is mentioned repeatedly but “my daughter” is not.
Males are continuously warned against the female seducers but the females are not warned of the male seducers. The Bible encourages a male to look for a noble woman but does not offer a noble male option for the woman. The notion that women came second in creation but were first to sin is strengthened (Rollston, 2012). The same applies to the other major religions.
In comparison to male, women are more likely to pray, attend church or affiliate with a religious organization according to the results of a research carried by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and public life in the US. Ironically, they account for less than a quarter of the clergy (Massing, 2011). She also observes that women did not hold leadership position in church until mid 1880, and had grown to only 5.6 % in 1983.
Debates on abortion are centered on religion. A popular advice against abortion is that only God gives life, and only He should take it away. As a result, women who have had an abortion are subjected to mental torture in form of a guilty conscience that they seek to assuage by asking God for forgiveness.
The abolitionists fail to see that sometimes abortion is done out of a necessity to save the life of the mother, which is also God given, or to avert a complication that could be far more dangerous.
Marginalisation in work
Gender imbalance continues to be experienced especially in aspects of the form of employment and remuneration. Several issues have made this condition worse. The division of labour at home has entrenched the perception that men are the breadwinners of the family (Perrons, 2009).
Secondly, women usually give birth, so they have to discontinue their career progression which puts potential employers off. The way work is divided at home is largely unequal, leaving the biggest portion to the women and, therefore, interrupting them from climbing the career ladder.
In the United Kingdom, there has been a change in the composition of the labour force over the last forty years. Women have secured high position jobs, and can now be found in broader spectrum of employment (Perrons, 2009).
However, half of the women are working part-time as per the Office of the National Statistics (BBC, 2008). Men continue to enjoy a higher employment rate exceeding that of the women by 9%. Out of six male in employment, only one is employed on part-time basis in contrast to females, whose number is three in part-time employment.
In other countries, such as the United States, some companies pay women less for equal work their male counterparts perform. Further, women are less likely to be promoted even when they are more deserving than their male counterparts are.
Marginalisation in advertisement
Over time, advertisements have portrayed women in terms of sexual attractiveness or domestic servitude. Further, advertisements have depicted women as trivial, giving the status of “tools” than human beings. The result is that the stereotype of male dominance has been perpetuated to such an extent that it is admitted as truth.
Pawelczyk (2008) observes that in most advertisements in Poland, women are employed based on their sexual attractiveness. The feminine identity is usurped, and any woman without a male affiliation is shown as incomplete.
Addressing the imbalance
To address the gender imbalance, deliberate and concerted efforts should be undertaken by various stakeholders. Legislation for equal pay and equal work should be enacted and enforced. Employers who impose glass ceilings on women professionals should face punitive measures from their respective government, and those that support gender balance should be given incentives. Governments and other employers should develop policies that allow women to balance between work and family (BBC 2008).
In advertising, regulatory bodies should be set up to monitor the content in advertisements and censure it if it is discriminative and offensive (Pawelczyk, 2008). Campaigns should be started to advise consumers to shun products and services from company, carrying adverts demeaning women. In religion, women should be encouraged to take up leadership positions in churches, mosques, and as rabbis.
The world has generally shown a tendency to marginalise women from the earliest days up to now. Everyone, especially women, should rise up for their liberation. Husbands should be supportive of their working wives, females themselves should be more conscious of the different forms of discrimination, and stand up for their rights (Kehily, 1999).
There are all indications that better days are ahead. In the US, president Obama has signed the ‘’equal pay for equal work’’ bill, a milestone in the war against marginalization, now having more women in leadership than ever before.
Kehily, M. J. (1999). More sugar? Teenage magazines, gender displays and sexual learning, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 2(1), pp. 65-89. Web.
Massing, D. (2011). Women’s religious leadership growing, Eriw Times-News, 1(1). Web.
Pawelczyk, J. (2008). Symbolic annihilation or alternative or Feminity? The (Linguistic) Portrayal of Women In selected Polish Advertisements. Lodz Papers in Pragmatics, 4.(2) 311-332. Web.
Perrons, D. (2009). Women and Gender Equity in Employment Patterns, progress and challenges. UK employment researcher, 12(1) 35-45. Web.
Record of Women Unemployed. (2008). British Broadcasting Corporation. Web.
Rollston, C. ( 2012). The Marginalization of Women: A Biblical Value We Don’t Like to Talk. Web.