Upon rising in the morning an orthodox Jewish man recites a benediction, giving thanks to God for not having been born a woman. When confronted that this is sexism, he will argue that this is not negative towards women but allows God to place different obligations of observance on the two sexes. What bull-shit!! No matter the religion, the country, the society and the life-style, in one way or another, women are treated differently and more often than not, the end result is not in their favour . Slowly, world-wide this is changing at different rates in different countries and in different religions. The world has a long way to go.

If one goes back hundreds of centuries, it is easy to see why women were dominated. The rule of law was non-existent and women, in most cases were physically weaker, and in pregnancy and child-rearing needed to be protected by their man from other men. Eventually in western society laws were promulgated which gave women a measure of protection and the very beginnings of the opportunity to attain a modest form of equality but physical strength was the determinant

The convention on “The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” was adopted by the U.N. general assembly in 1979 and is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. The Convention defines discrimination against women”…as any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, social, civil or any other field.”

By accepting the Convention, States committed themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including

  a. to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women  b.  to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women and against discrimination, c. to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or business enterprises.

90% of all the nations in the U.N. have ratified this Convention including Saudi Arabia. This clearly shows that the Convention is of no use to protect the rights of women and is not worth the paper it is written on. Let us look at the East and the Middle East.

In North Africa, 6000 women are genitally mutilated each day. Men are in charge and want it to happen. Thousands of women are sold into sexual slavery in China. 200 women in Bangladesh will be disfigured when their spurned husbands or suitors burn them with acid .Thousands of women in India will be murdered by their families and in-laws in domestic disputes. Violence against women is rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies equal rights with men and which legitimizes  the appropriation of women`s bodies for individual sexual gratification or political ends. Every year, violence in the home and throughout the world devastates the lives of millions of women (AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 2001)

Nonie Darwish, a convert to Christianity from Islam, details some of the rules abided by the leaders of radical Islam and a large percentage of their followers.   ….In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as one year old and be sexually intimate with this child, consummating the marriage by age nine.  ….The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman who becomes his slave.   ….Even though a woman is abused she cannot obtain a divorce.  …..To prove rape, the woman must have four male witnesses.  …..Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry.  The family has the right to execute her (an honour killing) to restore the honour of the family.  A husband can beat his wife “at will” without giving an explanation.  The husband is permitted to have four wives and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.  …..The Sharia Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.   ……According to the Quran, a daughter can receive only half the inheritance of a son, a woman’s testimony in court is worth half of a man’s and the compensation for the murder of a woman is half that of a man.
In Afghanistan the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 raised the hopes that women would rapidly regain their human rights.  Ongoing threats to women’s security make their participation in public life almost impossible.  Afghan women are still among the most vulnerable in the world.  Recently Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, and supposedly in favour of more freedom for women, secretly passed a law dubbed “the rape law” which requires among other things that women submit to sex with their husbands every four days with few exceptions.  The law applies only to the Shia minority who make up ten to twenty percent of the Afghan people.  When the women staged a rally to protest the law they were attacked by groups of men calling them whores.

The “Social Institutions and Gender Index” ranked the ten worst countries for gender inequality:

1.  Sudan

2.  Afghanistan

3.  Sierra Leone

4.  Mali

5.  Yemen

6.  Chan

7.  India (there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan)

8.  Iran

9.  Pakistan

10.  Iraq

The Muslim world represents twenty percent of the world’s population and in general pays lip service to the demands of the United Nations for equality to women.

                                Western World

The  freedom of Western women started with the birth control pill. Women could secretly take these pills and not get pregnant at the whim of their partner.

THE WEST is bringing change, but slowly, and pays more attention to the U.N. Convention on the surface ,but the discrimination against women is hidden in the work place and in areas where the beauty of the woman demands the acceptance of the male boss. Women are and will  always be for the foreseeable future sexual objects. The editor of the British edition of Esquire, Alex Bilmes, in a public statement at a conference stated the obvious–Women are objects in his magazine. They were, are and always will be, in his opinion because it is in the nature of men to look at women in a sexual way, especially in a magazine which objectifies the female body. Magazines for women do not feature men in scanty clothes, because women are different. They are as clever, talented, intellectual and attractive but do not go about their business thinking what it would be like to sleep with that gorgeous hunk of man. Men lie and so do women. Then the scenario plays out of “he said she said:” and who to believe. There is another problem not mentioned in our newspapers. COST. Men and women both in their homes and in the businesses they frequent, are in constant verbal and physical contact, and one touch by a male, can be looked upon by the female as sexual aggression , with the male countering it was just an accident as he walked by, and if the male told an off- colour joke, and the woman was offended?  If the police had to follow through diligently on every such encounter, the cost of policing would skyrocket.  Unless there is physical evidence how to prove guilt,  make no mistake, it is nearly always with the male on trial.  And I leave you with this thought, what is the male police officer to do when he has to arrest a man for what he is guilty of himself?  In Canada, one in five sexual assault cases was abandoned for lack of clear evidence.  Charlie Rose, a great liberal interviewer, interviewed a man recently about this type of abuse and, hard to believe, lost all his journalism jobs for the same problem weeks later.  His jobs were in “Charlie Rose” and “60 Minutes”.  Power is still mostly in hands of men especially in the movie, T.V., arts and in the general field of big business, where they hand out jobs.  Men have abused women for a thousand years or more.  It will take more than a few years to change this state of affairs.

The Harvie Weinstein affair where women were speaking out about abuse by their bosses has become the “modus operendi” of  relationships between the sexes. The laws in the West favour the women if they are strong enough to use it, and at this point some are. A man has to be very certain he has a relationship with a woman employee before making advances, but as usual in relationships, where do you draw the line between innocent flirting and sexual abuse. And what about spousal rape? Can a man legally rape his wife? Why is sexual violence still so prevalent in countries where gender equality has made such gigantic strides? Some experts argue that as society moves to redistribute power between genders, there might be a transitional period where violence rises as the last expression of male domination. Equality between sexes is on the rise but is not moving as quickly in the homes and bedrooms of all nations, including those in the West

I am reading a very important book “The First Political Order” how sex shapes governance and national security worldwide- Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen & Perpetua Lynne Nielsen. In this book the prevalence of murdering female new-born infants is discussed in detail. The authors never mention murdering male infants as a legal practice. If there is any worldwide sign of male dominance, this exemplifies it, and shows how much more women have to achieve for the equality the women`s movement is seeking . By prohibiting polygyny, we reduce social inequities, violence towards women and children, and the proliferation of single men and the violence they perpetuate, as well as increase political rights and civil liberties.

Polygyny should induce males to make greater effort to become rich , so that they can afford a wife, and then even richer so that they can afford many. If this were so, polygynous countries with hard-working male populations should enjoy greater economic growth than monogamous countries. But the opposite is the case. A comparison of tropical developing countries shows that the GDP per capita in monogamous countries is three times higher than in polygamous ones.  Differences between individual countries can be staggering.  Compare Botswana where polygamy is banned, with Burkina Faso, in which more than half of married women are in polygynous families.  Botswan’s GDP per capita is 10 times that of Burkina Faso.




Name of author

Name: Murray Rubin

Short Bio: I was born in Toronto in 1931 to a wonderful mother who divorced shortly before my birth. I owe a great deal of my success to her. I am Jewish but not at all religious, yet my culture plays an important part of my personality. I attended Harbord Collegiate and U. of T. Faculty of Pharmacy. A unique mail-order pharmacy was the first of my endeavours in the profession, followed by many stores throughout Ontario. I have a loving wife, 3 children and grand-children and I am now retired from pharmacy. But what do I write about? Everything! My topics are funny, serious, whimsical, timely, outrageous, inspiring, and inventive. I promise that if you take the time to read any one of these topics – you will not be sorry.


  • Very interesting article about women’s equality. There is still a lot of work to be done in reference to that subject. However we are moving forward not backwards and that gives me some hope that eventually we will get there. As a European women myself I find giving women the same pay as men for the same job. Making it illegal not to do so like in Finland. Starting by economic freedom of women so they don’t have to rely on man for their economic protection.

  • Good stuff Murray – interesting to say the least.


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