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Bias against women assailed

ISLAMABAD, Nov 1: One of the basic rights of women is not to be discriminated against in the workplace and in the workforce, representatives of various social organizations insisted during a seminar on ‘Female discrimination in compensation status and job responsibilities,” organized by the Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering (Case).

However, reality does not match with the equal employment opportunity laws as in our country women continue to be discriminated against in many ways, both as employees and in the office.

Discussing problems faced by women at the office, Syed Toqueer Hussain Shah said, “the first problem encountered by females is the wage gap, Women are often paid less than men for the work of equal value.”

He said some professions were still no go areas for women, restricting them from developing their true potential.

The participants insisted that the government should make a serious attempt to overcome this discrimination and organize seminars to raise awareness.

Senior positions and high titles were usually offered to men and women were generally not preferred for executive posts. The situation was similar in both public and private sectors.

“Women are usually passed over when it comes to promotions. The higher the post, the less likely (that it will be) a woman. There was (an) immense need of providing good opportunities to women,” he maintained.

Even those women who manage to climb up through the so-called “glass-ceiling” into decision-making positions were still exceptions not the rule as even in female-dominated sectors, where there were more women managers, an uneven number of men rose to more senior positions.

The main reason for the wage gap was discrimination; women were mainly discriminated against because of stereotyping and misguided preconceptions of their roles, abilities, commitment and leadership style.

Some suffered from an unfriendly corporate culture and could become victims of moral or sexual harassment. They could be restricted by family responsibilities, housework, child care or the need to look after elderly relatives.

These chores were not equally shared between men and women, leading to additional burden on women creating barriers for them to enter and stay in the workforce to chart a career for themselves.
Source: Dawn
Date:11/2/2007

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