Women had been oppressed and sexualised since centuries ago. They are treated as weaker than men. Even though we are slowly progressing and advancing with technologies, women are still oppressed and receive tons of struggles in their life. Some of the oppression even came from their own religion and culture. Women cannot live peacefully as they are judged for literally everything! From the clothes they wear, the way they talk, the way their body is, and everything else. They received countless unwanted comments and stares everyday. Even while working, they are no longer safe nor free from these oppressions and struggles. There are a lot of struggles that women received while working.
1. Prone to sexual harassment
First, women are prone to sexual harassment. They are sexually harassed almost everyday because others think it is normal and just a joke. Women will not be treated seriously when they report and express themselves about the sexual harassments they received. YouGov Omnibus conducted a research and found that 36% of Malaysian women have experienced sexual harassment. This is almost a third of the total number of Malaysian women. Malaysian men however, only 17% of the received sexual harassment throughout their life.
It is said that only 53% of the women told someone else or reported the incidents. Surprisingly, only 15% out of the total of women who reported the harassment actually reported to the police. This is possibly because most people do not trust the police since the patriarchy is strong in the system. Most of the women told their family and friends instead because they trust them more. Most of the harassments that women received are actual sexual assault and verbal harassments, where most people think it as a “joke”.
2. Being looked down upon by others
Women also have always been looked down upon by the opposite gender, and even by their own! They are seen as someone weak and worthless. A family needs a son since the son will inherit the family’s name while a daughter will become a part of someone else’s family. Our ancestors prefer to have sons because they can help them in working and also would not attract the attention of the colonisers. A pretty woman will only be looked for her look and will not be treated seriously. An “ugly” woman will be treated as a leftover. A vocal woman will be treated as a nuisance. An obedient woman will be treated as a slave. A woman cannot live as who she is, as the society will judge her for everything.
3. Received different salary
Surprisingly, women actually received different salaries than men! And this happens in Malaysia too. According to the Statistics Department (DOSM)’s Salaries & Wages Survey Report Malaysia 2018, it is said that in 2018, women employees received a median salary of RM2,227 a month, while men received RM2,342. It looks small but the difference is actually there! Which is surprising, because why? Is it because the population of men are more than women? Or is it because women are forced to become housewives instead?
It is very concerning since the amount of women enrolled in universities are HIGHER than men. Women are found to be better in academics, especially mathematics and sciences, than men. Then, why do they receive a smaller amount of salaries than men? A news article in The Star explained more about this form of oppression that working women received in terms of salary.
4. Treated only for looks
Pretty privilege is real and we can see it everywhere in our daily life right now. By just being pretty, you can get almost anything that you want. But how do you define a “pretty” woman? Beauty is subjective. However, society has its own beauty standard. Being pretty means that you have to be fair and slim. You must have the fairest skin and the “healthiest” body. If your body is “sexy”, then your pretty privilege will be increased.
“Pretty” women will get everything, from jobs to free items in their daily life. It might sound “scary” when someone actually goes all the way to send you free items, but this action really speaks a lot about the society. “Ugly” women, especially women of colour and Muslims, are treated as trash and less worthy. This is only because of their skin colour and the way they dressed. Using this privilege against men might sound good but it is definitely sad for other girls. They felt that they do not deserve any act of kindness and too ugly for the world, where they are actually not.
No matter how many years, or even centuries, mankind has passed, we are still treating women lesser than men. Both genders should be treated equally and most importantly, be treated as humans. Although, awareness on these issues have been expanding and we can only hope for the best, for every woman in this world.
Written by: Muhammad Mustaqim Abdul Rahman