Discrimination is the word that we come across very often, whether from newspapers, TV news or even from everyday conversations. Nevertheless, the word
itself does not appear as often as the actual events that happen in our societies. Because we see and hear this word so often, it is very important that we understand
precisely what it means. Every time we hear the word, most of us will think of it in terms of prejudice even though they are not the same. Prejudice is a negative feeling
towards members of certain groups. The idea of prejudice is based on the feelings people have. On the other hand, when we talk about discrimination, we should think of it in
terms of actions. Discrimination is any situation in which a group or individual is treated in negative ways just because they belong to certain groups.
There are many types of discrimination that vary between countries and social contexts. Most nations practice discrimination against foreigners and
disfavor minorities within their countries. It may be religious discrimination such as Protestants against Roman Catholics or Muslims against Jews, or vice versa. Sometimes
it is racial, as in the apartheid policy in South Africa; sometimes sexual, as in many Asian countries where women have few rights.
The type of all times is women discrimination. It is the first discrimination of mankind, before people are divided up due to their ethnic groups and
races. Women discrimination is more serious in Asian countries for a large section of the population still has traditional ways of thinking and this has created problems for
women in both marriage and work lives. This type of discrimination resulted from the ancient point of view that women were regard as weaker sex due to their physical
strength. They had less opportunity to be exposed outside their homes due to their responsibilities as mothers. Starting from giving birth to children to nurturing them in
their homes, thus, restricted them the chances to go out, so they become more skillful in their housekeeping, which in time became a social norm.
But after the world has changed and technology became more advanced, people started to have better quality of life and enough money for both men and women
to get education, not just men. However, the men’s attitude hasn’t changed and still think that women have to follow the traditional way of life though they are more
capable of doing things that were regarded as men’s job.
In the past, this type of discrimination was very strong all over the world even in the most developed countries. Now, the problem is more considerate in
Asian countries where education is not as widespread as in Europe and America. Therefore, most people still hold on to their traditional beliefs and are against any changes
in the society. Most Asian men are terrified with the fact that women are having equal or more power than them, even though some don’t express it. The result of this
traditional school of thought is women’s limitations in opportunity in most aspects of their lives, including marriage and career.
After marriage, the society expects women to be responsible for doing housework and taking care of the children even though most women today also work
outside their homes. Women who don’t follow this social pattern are usually criticized by others. The husbands, even about their own children make most family decisions.
This corresponds to the Thai saying that “Women are the elephant’s hind legs”, thus they have to do whatever their husbands decide.
In Asia, it is almost impossible for women with same education as a man to get the same job and with the same amount of salaries. Most of the important
jobs are given to men even if the women are capable of handling them. Also, they are less likely to get promotions. Moreover, women are not usually selected to be leaders.
For example, in the case of Sonia Ghandi, people were resisting her to run for India’s prime minister just because she is not an Indian, even though she has spent most of
her lifetime there. I doubt if that was the real reason for criticizing her. Even when women have their chance to play leader roles, they are less likely to get respect from
others, especially from men.
Even though the world has changed, and we have accomplished many things that were said to be impossible in the past, there is still little hope to wash
away from people’s minds all Asians’ traditional beliefs that discriminate women. This means the women’s way of life will still remain like this forever, unless people
will turn around and accept just one more change in the society.