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Gender Discrimination: Jina’s Thoughts

Gender Discrimination

Gender Discrimination: Jina’s Thoughts

This month the CTM team are thinking about gender discrimination, after a recent episode was reported at Google. The report  on Google can be read here.  Here’s what our columnist had to say about gender discrimination.

I worked once for an organization for women with disabilities. From my team mates there was no discrimination, gender or disability wise. My family was supportive of my job, my husband had no problem when I had to travel abroad, and leave our home and son for a couple of weeks. Personally, I haven’t experienced any discriminating issues, even if I’m not only a woman, but also a mother and a person with special needs, three things that is highly discriminated upon.

I believe that every capable individual has the right to make their own choices about their work preferences, without the pressure of other people’s expectations. I am strong advocate for equality in the work place, regardless of race or gender.

However, I live in a country (Palestine) where there’s a gap between the working women and working men, both from a political point of view and religion, culture and tradition. Inequality is an issue frowned upon by less than half the population, where the majority, women included, believe that discrimination against working women is warranted and well deserved. It is highly believed that a woman’s, especially a mother’s, place is at home, tending to household matters. If work is necessary, a position of care giver (i.e. teacher or nurse) is the ideal and preferred job position.

A few years back when my financial life made a quick detour, I was living in Brazil (where I was born and raised), I asked for financial aid provided for people with disabilities, which when translated into English becomes: “benefit for the invalid.” Because obviously there’s no job position for us. I am a Muslim, and went for a doctor’s appointment so they could prove for themselves that I was blind.  The doctor on call was abrupt and mean to me (either because I wear the veil that covers my neck and hair, or because I was a woman and most people in the waiting room were elder men and I surprised him), he sent me home for a document I’d forgotten, a five minute drive away from the facility. He then told me my time was up and that I should make an appointment for next week.

In an article by Lighthouse in California, they state that 70% of blind people are unemployed, and a high percentage of those who are hold a position in an organization for people with disabilities.

My personal experience when job seeking has been being blind and knowing I have the capability to work just like the next person, only to be rejected before an interview because there’s a disability check on the box just isn’t fair.

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Jina was born in a small town in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she had a fulfilling childhood. Soon after she graduated from high school, she was diagnosed with a chronic disease that eventually caused her to go blind. Currently she lives in the middle east with her mother and three kids.

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