Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace

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The accused and his supporters in turn filed several false charges against, and published pamphlets attacking, the members of the women's organization. They charged that the organization was destroying the institution of the family and attacking Indian culture. The experiences of women all over the world point to the impossibility of their enjoying their ESC rights as a result of situations where their freedom and autonomy are constrained. The handpump mechanics project in Banda in the State of Uttar Pradesh in India is an example of empowering women through ensuring access to ESC entitlements.

It is one of the most backward districts in the State, known for its high degree of violence, including violence against women. The project was responding to the problem of water scarcity in the region.


It began with teaching non-literate rural women to learn the skills of repairing handpumps. Acquiring a technical skill in a traditionally male domain was both a psychological and social breakthrough. In becoming handpump mechanics, they had built confidence in their ability to learn, broken stereotypes, and entered into a spiral of learning. Of the 45 women mechanics, Sumitra 35 and Chamela 36 were probably the most technically competent.

The derisive laughter, scepticism and even hostility they had first encountered from the community as they performed their new role, had grudgingly turned into respect. They had gradually become trainers as well. Travelling to different parts of the country as trainers had given them a wider exposure than most women in their villages. These experiences were testimonies of changes in their lives.

Change for them was not just a distant possibility, but a concrete reality. The women mechanics' engagement with the issue of water necessitated a move from literacy towards education. They had many questions for which they wanted answers. For instance, while dealing with acute water shortage in summer, they wanted to understand why the depth of underground water varies in different areas or during different seasons in the year. Also, they became increasingly aware of quality of drinking water and health. They wanted more information on these inter-linkages.

The following is a summary from the Preliminary Report by the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women , which provides a useful perspective on the subject. Violence against women, in particular, has inhibited women as a group from enjoying the full benefits of human rights. Women have been vulnerable to acts of violence in the family, in the community and by States. Among the historical power relations responsible for violence against women are the economic and social forces which exploit female labour and the female body. As migrant workers, they often face innumerable hardships in foreign countries.

Economic exploitation is an important aspect of modern female labour. Unless economic relations in a society are more equitable towards women, the problem of violence against women will continue. In the context of the historical power relations between men and women, women must also confront the problem that men control the knowledge systems of the world.

Women have been excluded from the enterprise of creating symbolic systems or interpreting historical experience. It is this lack of control over knowledge systems which allows them not only to be victims of violence, but to be part of a discourse which often legitimizes or trivializes violence against women. Women are also denied access to knowledge because they are refused education in many parts of the world.

The right to female education must therefore be the first step towards articulating a more sensitive history of violence against women. In addition to historical power relations, the causes of violence against women are also closely linked to the question of female sexuality. Violence is often used as an instrument to control female sexual behaviour.

It is for this reason that violence against women often finds sexual expression. In many ideologies a traditional legitimacy is given to using violence against women in certain instances. In both the developed and the developing world, there have been cultural sanctions in the past for husbands chastising or beating their wives in certain circumstances. These sanctions have been included in law codes in different cultural heritages. Fear of violence prevents many women from living independent lives. Fear curtails their movements, so that women in many parts of the world do not venture out alone.

Fear of violence requires that they seek out male protection to prevent violence being directed at them. This denial of female sexuality through the mutilation of the body has to be seen as a violation of a fundamental human right. Women who are at the receiving end of violence have serious health problems. Other forms of abuse also result in physical injury to the body of the victim. In addition there are psychological effects. Abused women are subjected to depression and personality disorders.

1. History and Scope

They manifest high levels of anxiety and somatic disorders. These psychological effects have a negative effect on the women as they paralyse them and inhibit their self-determination.

Violence in the family, in particular, has serious consequences for both women and children. Children often show signs of post-trauma stress and have behavioural and emotional disorders. In terms of development, violence prevents women from participating fully in the life of the family and the community and in society. Energies which might be directed towards social good and development are curtailed. The cost to society in terms of violence against women is phenomenal. Much of the cost is hidden since statistics on this issue are rare.

The principle of nondiscrimination is a cornerstone of human rights principles. The year was extended to a decade, with conferences in Copenhagen and in Nairobi The NGO Forum for the Beijing conference was attended by tens of thousands of women from all over the world.

3. Grounds of discrimination: definitions and scope of protection

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is best described as an international bill of rights for women as it sets out in detail both what is to be regarded as discrimination against women and the measures that have to be taken in order to eliminate this discrimination. Among the most critical have been: GR 12 and 19 on violence and ; GR 13 on equal remuneration for work of equal value ; GR 14 on female circumcision ; GR 15 on unpaid women workers in rural and urban family enterprises ; GR 21 on equality in marriage and family relations ; and a new GR on health See the pages that follow this module for excerpts of certain GRs.

The Convention promotes a model of substantive equality. Problems arise, however, if women must be treated exactly like men if they are to gain equality with men. The substantive model of equality that the Convention promotes adopts a corrective approach, one which recognizes difference. In particular, the Convention recognizes that the function of child bearing is one exclusive to women and argues that that function cannot be used as a basis for discrimination against women. Furthermore, the corrective approach requires that socially constructed differences, such as the traditional roles ascribed to women and men, as well as cultural practices that see women as inferior, must be changed.

The substantive model of equality is concerned with equal opportunity, but even more so, with equality of results. It stresses equal treatment as well as equal access and equal benefits.

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It recognizes that women and men may have to be treated differently in order for them to benefit equally. Such violence may violate specific provisions of the Convention regardless of whether violence is mentioned in those specific provisions. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. The Rapporteur submits annual reports to the Commission.

Most communities have their own rituals, which are practiced to respond to or achieve certain social needs and goals, such as protection or purification. Some of these rituals and rites are linked to specific age phases. Female genital mutilation is a widespread ritual, which is also known as a "rite of passage. It is a way of restructuring women's bodies, as a symbol, to adapt to the prevailing social norms, values and traditions with regard to women's sexuality.

Such rituals usually interact with other elements of the specific culture, such as religion, which confers sanctity and sacredness on the ritual, so that, in the long term, the boundary between what is religious and what is ritual becomes vague. The ritual becomes transformed into an essential component of the cultural identity of the communities practicing it.

The primary reason given for the practice is: "It is our tradition. Struggles to stop the practice have gone on through the past few decades, for the most part with no tangible success. However, in the s efforts have made increasing inroads in many countries. Thus health workers were increasingly doing the cutting in private and public health facilities using sterile instruments and anesthetics; these changes in many cases entrenched the practice and led to its medicalization.

The human rights framework, on the other hand, presented the practice as a violation of many of women's human rights, regardless of who does it, where it is practiced, and whether or not complications arise from it.

- The Washington Post

In prior decades many UN bodies refrained from open condemnation of the practice, because of the "cultural specificity" argument, focusing on the health consequences of the practice. Promoting and protecting the ESC rights of women provides a unique opportunity to link with strategies for defense of civil and political rights. Author: This module is based on a paper prepared by Sunila Abeyesekera following the Phi Phi Island workshop, which was modified to incorporate comments made by the participants at the Yogyakarta workshop.

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  4. Taken from T. Narrated by Huma Khan, member of Vanangana, February Employees must be counted by sex and race, and ethnicity, for each of the ten occupational categories. See Appendix for detailed explanation of job categories and race and ethnicity identification.

    Every employee must be accounted for in only one of the categories in Columns A through N. We are concerned that many of your employees could be confused by the terminology without a definitions key. Confusion is important to avoid at a time like the present when so many companies are reporting decreasing percentages of employees and Applicants willing to Self-Identify. As the lead federal agency concerning equal employment opportunity, the EEOC takes the lead role to staff an office of Compliance Officers to hire a third-party data processor to receive, sort and report employer data inbound to the JRC through its reporting portal and which staff also administers the EEO-1 reporting cycle for the EEOC and the OFCCP, including the staffing of a Help Desk and publication of information notices to employers explaining their reporting obligations.

    The EEOC reporting Rule would also miss this employer since it employs fewer than employees in the company in this example]. And, you thought everything new started in California! Rather, the nine states and the District of Columbia thus far have simply permitted a non-binary choice on certain state documents, but do not impose or restrict the reporting of the sex of corporate employees.

    Gender role

    Nonetheless, the action of these states to recognize non-binary reporting for certain state law purposes, now only lays the foundation to question whether federal binary reporting of employees still makes sense in light of advances in medical knowledge and reporting, and given our evolution in cultural acceptance. Oregon led the way not California or New Jersey. In , Oregon became the first state to legally recognize a United States citizen as neither male nor female for identification purposes.

    Additionally, New York City allows an individual to identify as non-binary on birth certificates as of January 1, , but this is a municipal law that does not extend to the rest of New York state. The states permit a non-binary designation as follows:.

    Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace
    Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace
    Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace
    Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace
    Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace
    Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace
    Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace Changing Female Identities: Decisions and Dilemmas in the Workplace

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