The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Oppression of Women:
The Law and the Reality

Oct 12, 2015

Ninety percent of countries have laws stating that women cannot be discriminated against. Yet in two thirds of the countries surveyed, women are excluded from certain work simply because they are women. There are no laws against sexual harassment on the job in at least a third of the countries. There is no legal protection against domestic violence in 46 countries. Half of the countries looked at don’t have family leave for pregnancy.

These are the facts as reported by the World Bank. This report shows a sad disparity between the laws passed and how they are carried out.

Of course, the worst laws and the most reactionary treatment of women happen more often in underdeveloped countries, like Saudi Arabia or India.

But in rich countries, where such laws exist, there are laws that seem to mean very little. In the U.S. women earn on average only 75 cents on the dollar compared to men doing the same jobs. Women overwhelmingly are hired in the lower paid jobs, the ones with the fewest or no benefits and the highest likelihood of being laid off. Every nine seconds a woman is abused or beaten. One in five women experiences rape in her lifetime–according to official figures. Some advocates for women say it is more like one out of every three, or even two. In at least one of every six emergency room cases, those injured are women attacked by domestic partners. In four out of five U.S. counties, state and local politicians have made it impossible for a woman to get an abortion, even though abortions are legal in this country.

The progress obtained by women in the past came from difficult fights. This fight is still to be continued.