Can you please ensure that the referencing conforms with the OSCOLA standard (available at http://www.legalcitation.ie/page5/files/OSCOLA%20Ireland%202011.pdf
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What I need that those points has to be solved within 18 hours. Please as my submission day is Thursday. also I do not want you to change anything in the piece of the paper just make sure from what I ask for, also I would like you to add Hyperlinks in the footnotes and the reference
The preparation of this thesis would not have been success without the input of several people. I would like to acknowledge the input of my father and mother for their love and support during the entire process. My sincerest gratitude goes to you because you always offered encouragement even when I was ready to give up. I also want to acknowledge the efforts of my friends. Their support and patience has enabled me to prepare this thesis. Finally, I would like to convey my gratitude to my supervisor for his guidance throughout the process. I do not imagine a better mentor and advisor throughout the process. I have learned so much from you throughout the preparation of this thesis. Thank you for your unending support.
I hereby declare that the work presented in this thesis is my original work. Whenever there are contributions of other individuals, I have made every effort to clearly indicate this through the reference of borrowed literature and the acknowledgement of research and discussions from other scholars. The work in this thesis has not been derived from other sources, apart from the sources cited within the literature. I declare that this work has not been presented in any other academic institution for the award of any degree by me or any other individual. The work in this thesis was done under the supervision of in accordance with the regulations of the institution.
there are some general issues to be addressed
Can you please ensure that the referencing conforms with the OSCOLA standard (available athttp://www.legalcitation.ie/page5/files/OSCOLA%20Ireland%202011.pdf)
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Can you please use English Ireland or English UK as the default language (as distinct from English US)
This thesis explores the gender equality under the labour laws in Saudi Arabia and those in the European Union. The thesis reviews literature from various scholars in order to build the perspective for the Saudi case. The thesis shows that the prevailing gender imbalances in the Saudi labour markets are not because of lack of skills. On the contrary, the thesis finds that more than ninety percent of women in Saudi Arabia boast secondary qualifications in the least. The thesis found that the gender disparities in the labour market are the result of the influence of the patriarchal system in Saudi Arabia. The patriarchal system denies the women opportunities outside the home. Despite the provisions of gender equality in the Sharia laws, Saudi labour laws do not follow these provisions because they challenge the long standing practices that are socially installed and sustained. The government does not implement these provisions because they would challenge the position of the woman by taking her away from the household where most of her responsibilities are based. This is very different compared to the European Union where significant efforts have been made towards enhancing gender equality. This is seen through the numerous treaties and directives towards establishing legal frameworks through which national governments implement the provisions of gender equality. Unlike Saudi Arabia where the provisions of gender equality are not enforced, national labour courts and the European Court of justice have presided over cases that involve gender-based discrimination on employees. Gender equality affords both individuals and the economy some advantages. Some of the examples highlighted in the thesis include better utilization of skills, positive reputation on businesses and the principle of fairness. The disadvantages of gender equality in the labour market identified in the thesis include increase in the cost of labour and unfavourable completion from labour markets where gender equality has not been implemented. This notwithstanding, the advantages outweigh the potential demerits of the concepts. Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia trails the European Union in enhancing gender equality, Saudi labour laws can be fixed in order to follow the provisions of gender equality enshrined in the Sharia law.
Chapter One: What Kind of Equality Does Sharia Law Provide? 4
Gender Imbalances in the Saudi Arabian Workforce 4
Problem of Saudi Arabian Women on Transforming Educational Attainment to Jobs 6
Legal-Religious Grounds Affecting Employment of Women 9
The Impetus for Change 11
Social Inclusion 12
The Process of Change 13
Chapter Two: Issues in Saudi Labour Laws 16
Issues in Saudi Labour Laws 16
Chapter Three: Equality Provisions in European Labour Laws 21
The Equality Provision in the Treaty of Rome (1957) 22
Statistics on Gender Equality in Europe 23
Approaches to Gender Equality in the European Union 25
Treaty of Maastricht (1992) 26
Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) 26
Treaty of Lisbon (2007/2009) 27
Women’s Charter (2010) 27
Concerted Efforts towards Gender Parity 28
Elements of Equality 30
Equality in Working Conditions and Employment 31
Equality in Social Protection 31
Parental leave 31
Directives and Landmark Rulings in Gender Equality in the European Union 32
Chapter Four: Advantages and Disadvantages of Equality between Genders 36
Advantages of Equal Pay between the Genders 37
Disadvantages of Equal Pay between the Genders 40
There is abounding literature regarding gender inequality in Saudi Arabia. Gender imbalances in Saudi Arabia are witnessed in different sectors of the Saudi economy. Nonetheless, there is a need to focus on the gender inequalities in the labour market since it offers a reflection of the gender equality in the country. According to a Human Development Index report published in 2011 where one hundred and eighty seven countries were considered Saudi Arabia was ranked 56th. The gender inequality index prepared in 2011 considered one hundred and forty six countries. Saudi Arabia was ranked 135th among the many countries that were considered. The Global Index Gap that was published in 2011 ranked Saudi Arabia 131st. These statistics show the gender imbalance in Saudi Arabia. Many countries have laws that govern the operations in different sectors of the economy. The laws in Saudi Arabia are heavily based on the Sharia law.
It is important to understand the provisions of Sharia law, especially with regard to gender equality in the labour market. Doumato argues that the basic laws applied in Saudi Arabia do not guarantee equality between the genders. This scholar argues that gender inequality is common in the country because it is built into social and governmental structures. This is because of the literal reading and interpretation of the Sunna and Koran. The author argues that the state funded religious scholars disregard judicial precedents when offering religious opinions. The author also argues that there is a total failure to consider the evolving social contexts. In this way, there is little change, especially on the gender inequality in the labour markets.
One of the provisions of the Sharia law is the equal treatment of men and women in the labour markets. Given that the statistics reported above show widespread gender inequality in the market, it is important to understand the kind of equality for which Sharia law provides. This is in an attempt to understand the raging disparity despite the presence of laws discourage unequal treatment of either gender in the labour market. In this regard, the first chapter of the thesis will examine the provisions of gender equality as outlined in the Sharia law. The chapter will explore the gender imbalances inherent in the Saudi labour market in order to contrast the findings with the fact that laws encouraging gender equality in the labour markets exist.
This chapter hopes to dispel any conceptions that the dismal participation of women in the labour market is because they are largely unskilled. In fact, Almunajjed reported that I excess of ninety percent of women in the labour market in Saudi Arabia have at least achieved secondary education qualifications. This shows that the gender disparities in the labour market are not the result of a largely unskilled female population. In order to explore this issue further, the first chapter will delve into the problems of converting high education qualification into job attainment. The chapter also explores some of the would-be causes of the prevalent disparities in the labour market. In this regard, chapter one will explore the legal-religious connection into the enduring gender imbalance in the Saudi workplace. Finally, the chapter will explore the impetus for change and some of the approaches that could be fruitful.
Despite the fact that Sharia laws provide for gender equality in the labour markets, it has been established that disparities still remain in the Saudi labour market. Why is this the case, bearing in mind that laws should provide a blue print upon which the activities in the labour market should operate? The fourth chapter of the thesis explores this in detail. The chapter will focus on the issues in Saudi labour laws that result to the enduring issue of gender imbalance. The chapter will explore the connection between religion and law. This is important in order to qualify or disprove arguments that religious interpretations of the Koran affect the application of labour laws. The chapter will also highlight the influence of the patriarchal system and the position of women in the society as factors influence the enduring gender imbalance in the Saudi labour market.
The third chapter of the thesis will explore the equality provisions in the European Union. The chapter underscores equality as one of the most significant principles that govern operations in the European labour market. This offers a stark contrast between the concepts of gender equality in the European Union and Saudi Arabia. In order to advance this stance further, the second chapter will offer a discussion on various statistics on gender equality in the labour markets. These statistics are important because in addition to offering a contrast between the situation in the European Union and Saudi Arabia, it also offers a glimpse of the advances made by the European Union towards ensuring gender equality in the labour markets.
The fourth chapter of the thesis will discuss the advantages and disadvantages on ensuring equality between genders in the labour market. One of the issues that the previous chapter will discuss is the increased cost of labour in Europe after the enactment of the treaties providing for gender equality in the labour market. This chapter looks at this possibility in the context of Saudi Arabia labour markets. This chapter explores other arguments for and against gender equality in the market in order to determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of ensuring gender equality in the labour markets. This is important in order to form an opinion as to whether the failure to enforce gender equality laws in Saudi Arabia is because such a move has more demerits than merits. Additionally, by understanding the advantages and disadvantages of ensuring an equal pay between the genders, the chapter will be better placed to make recommendations on what can be done in the Saudi case.
The thesis argues that the differences between the gender equality under European Union and Saudi labour laws denote what remains to be done. Nonetheless, Saudi labour laws can be fixed following the provisions of Sharia law in order to enjoy the advantages seen in the European labour markets.
Chapter One: What Kind of Equality Does Sharia Law Provide?
Gender Imbalances in the Saudi Arabian Workforce
The Saudi labour market currently presents a series of impressive economic prospects for Saudi Arabia. Moves to improve the Saudi economy through diversification have since earmarked the necessity to raise the value of the Saudi labour market mainly through the improvement of their skills. Mainly possessing a petroleum-based economy bearing the ubiquitous label of being among the largest producers of oil in the world, Saudi Arabia recognizes the need to sustain its economic growth and development through means apart from a highly valuable yet depleting resource. The fact that diversification necessitates the departure from the usual skills involved in currently active industries presently challenges Saudi Arabia to educate and train its labour market into performing different undertakings required to learn more about, and excel in other industries. In the case of the Saudi oil industry, literatures suggest that economic gains through significant returns on investment that can be gained via appropriate job segregation strategies could prove to be useful in bolstering the county’s economy. Yet, more importantly is the significance of attracting greater involvement on the part of citizens eligible to render labour in Saudi Arabia, most notably women.
Figure 1: Male and Female Unemployment Rates in Saudi Arabia
Gender comprises an inevitable issue in discussions involving the Saudi labour market, as it understandably covers women amidst the heavily patriarchal society Saudi Arabia has. Findings marked by the Ideation Centre of Booz & Company pointed out that “fewer than half” of the 8.2 million people forming the Saudi labour market in 2007 consisted of Saudi citizens, with further 85.6% of such a figure consisting of males . Such provides that with the remaining 14.4% constituting females, one may empirically identify that there are not that many women within the working Saudi citizenry. Furthermore supporting data from the Ideation Centre of Booz & Company, shown in Figure 1, provided that the unemployment rate for female citizens in Saudi Arabia is at 26.9%, an alarming rate considering that around one-fourth of said figure constitute the equivalent unemployment rate for male Saudi citizens3. Such provides insights on the relatively marginalized state of female Saudi citizens engaged in the labour market of Saudi Arabia, which may severely affect the need of the nation to provide highly competitive candidates for new jobs arising out of the diversification process, nominally known as the Saudization policy.
The importance of taking gender equality into context proved pivotal to the study conducted by Jawad Syed. In that particular study, he suggested and proved that Equal employment opportunity (EEO) in Islamic societies may lead to improved economic outcomes by improving the current employment conditions in the country, which would almost always lead to higher levels of consumer spending and higher earnings for businesses, ultimately giving a boost to the country’s economy. Clearly, differences in gender ideology under Sharia law prevail, given its highly patriarchal setup involving men as the breadwinners and women as homemakers. An institutional examination highlighting the attendant discourses to EEO may shed further light to the rationale of Sharia law with regard to employment equality for female Saudi citizens. As it stands clear that Sharia law has failed to recognize the consequences of its protectiveness in the employment of female Saudi citizens, namely limits to professional opportunities in Saudi Arabia, it is crucial to identify solutions to achieving genuine EEO in said nation. The Sharia law advocates for the protection of female Saudi citizens against harassment at work. This can indeed be viewed as a positive thing because more and more female professionals would be encouraged to take job positions, especially when they know that their rights and security as an employee would be honoured and protected. Consequently, it is therefore important to pose reconsiderations on the feasibility of Sharia law in light of the reforms necessary for benefiting female Saudi citizens in terms of equal employment opportunities, specifically on pay.
Problem of Saudi Arabian Women on Transforming Educational Attainment to Jobs
Despite the daunting figures shown in the foregoing, notable reforms enabling greater participation of female Saudi citizens in the labour market of Saudi Arabia have since started to emerge in recent history6. The Ideation Centre of Booz & Company further emphasized that the participation rate of the foregoing for female Saudi citizens tripled in figures from 5.4% to 14.4% in 1992.Standing as an indication of strong opportunities for entry into the labour market of Saudi Arabia, female Saudi citizens have since grown greater inclination towards looking for vacant employment positions and engrossing themselves in work under their respective employers. Female Saudi citizens have since involved themselves in jobs within the field of education – both under teaching and administrative divisions. Nevertheless, despite improvements shown in the foregoing, there remains the fact that the participation rate for all female citizens in the labour market of Saudi Arabia still stands lower compared to other nations in the Middle East, which includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoying a 59% participation rate for its female citizens and Kuwait at 42.49%. Even Malaysia, a predominantly Islamic nation outside the Middle East, enjoys a participation rate of 46.1% for the female portion of its labour market.
One may express that the relatively low participation rate of female Saudi citizens in the labour market of Saudi Arabia may meet further countenances to the growing trend of higher educational attainment. The Ideation Centre of Booz & Company noted that above 90% of female Saudi citizens in the labour market of Saudi Arabia are holders of university degrees and/or secondary qualifications7. Around 57% of university graduates within Saudi Arabia in 2006 were females. Such trends impose the remarkable premise that female Saudi citizens have since gained greater ground in terms of educational attainment, which in turn contributes constructively to the diversification agenda of Saudi Arabia for its economy. After all, skills formation emanates directly from education and greater educational attainment provides wider opportunities for more skills to form. However, it is notable to point out early on the reality that a university degree does not provide women in Saudi Arabia a guarantee for instant access to available positions in the Saudi labour market. Unemployment among female Saudi citizens, as explained by Deputy Minister for Labour Abdul Wahid Al-Humaid, does not directly translate to their lack of educational attainment. In fact, the reverse is very much true – around 78.3% of unemployed female Saudi citizens have university degrees, while 76% of unemployed male Saudi citizens barely finished their secondary education.
The foregoing statistics clearly show that gender is a major factor to reckon when analysing the problem of female Saudi citizens in their involvement in the labour force of Saudi Arabia. It is therefore certain that there are substantial failures on the part of the Saudi government in terms of moulding the national educational system towards transforming female Saudi citizens as competitive participants in the labour force of Saudi Arabia, given current efforts to diversification. Such lack of initiatives have since curtailed the potential of female Saudi citizens to expand beyond traditional forms of employment such as teaching and other service-oriented industries, notwithstanding the fact that more than 1,000 of their unemployed counterparts hold doctorate degrees. The traditionally held view that women must stay at home to tend to domestic needs have since influenced the Saudi government against increasing their employment competitiveness of female Saudi citizens. A shortage of available jobs for particular degrees has greatly affected the employment prospects of female Saudi citizens in Saudi Arabia. For instance, 93% of female Saudi graduates who graduated in 2007 received degrees in the fields of humanities and education, yet their lack of opportunities on home soil sent many of them abroad. Although pastures new may engage female Saudi citizens to learn more skills relevant to their fields that may prove instrumental for the diversification agenda of Saudi Arabia, it also prevents many of them from ever returning to the nation to pursue their respective careers simply because there are not too many available jobs for them. In effect, Middle Eastern neighbours such as Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar have since benefited from the influx of skilled, knowledgeable and educated female Saudi citizens, most notably in the field of education.
Clearly, the lack of employment opportunities suitable for the educational attainment of several educated female Saudi citizens underlines the graver situation suffered by their uneducated counterparts. Estimates from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2007 shows that over one million illiterate and uneducated female Saudi citizens have no access to the labour market of Saudi Arabia at all. With around 20.6% of female Saudi citizens above 15 years touted as illiterate and with only 3% of them involved in the labour market of Saudi Arabia, insufficient skills and educational attainment clearly stands as an aggravating factor9. Furthermore, given the lack of family support suffered by illiterate and uneducated female Saudi citizens, there is an understanding that many of them suffer from social and economic exclusion. Another concern involves female Saudi citizens living in rural parts of Saudi Arabia, wherein greater social restrictions institutionalized by patriarchy prevail. The relatively greater suffering of female Saudi citizens in rural Saudi Arabia involves a compounding of severe lack of employment opportunities, insufficient access to education and gender-based social restrictions. Hael and the eastern regions of Saudi Arabia have since featured unemployment rates above 30% in 2009. Conservatism, particularly through strict adherence to Sharia law stating that females have the right to work but only in appropriate settings – those that do not involve having to interact with men to avoid harassment, further contributes to the difficulties of female Saudi citizens, educated or not, in securing proper employment opportunities.
The prevailing principle of Sharia law authorizing females to gain employment subject to the proper surroundings thus legitimizes the need for gender segregation, which in turn affects the available kinds of employment available. Simply put, female Saudi citizens virtually have no access to jobs where their male counterparts thrive freely. Such has resulted to lesser opportunities for career development among female Saudi citizens, given that almost all of them gained employment in fields where there are no males involved. Both the public and private sectors, involving 95% and 5% of the total population of employed female Saudi citizens in 2007 respectively, featured limited forms of employment for women. Overall, the overarching patriarchal system operationalized through religion and laws and permeating in relevant aspects of employment entail many female Saudi citizens to suffer from inequality in terms of employment.
Legal-Religious Grounds Affecting Employment of Women
Jaime Kucinskas endeavoured on research involving the correlation between religiosity towards Islam and gender equality in Saudi Arabia, with the recognition that young people have a significant impact on the advancement of the rights of women in the chiefly patriarchal Middle East. One of the reasons why this is so is because of the current trend in this generation where girls are being sent to school and higher level of educational institutions to obtain a degree and to ultimately land on a job in the future14. This may also be due to the fact that there are a lot more informed and educated women in this generation compared to the previous ones. Kucinskas identified in his research that key aspects of religiosity towards Islam affects views on gender equality, subject to the trends of society. Moreover, the finding of Kucinskas underlining the fact that there is no positive effect to gender equality in Saudi Arabia coming from the religiosity of female Saudi citizens means to say that indeed, consistent orthodoxy towards Islamic adherence stand to provide no substantial benefits to the cause of gender equality in the nation. Such inspires a return to the argument supporting the overt protectiveness of Sharia law towards women, which reaches the extent of sheer restrictiveness. The Quran, particularly the Surah An-Nisa (Chapter 4, on women) and Surah Al-Hujurat (Chapter 49, on the proper code of conduct of Muslims) and the Hadith both justify the protective but relatively oppressive stand of Sharia law towards women, thus:
Ya ayyuha annasuinna khalaqnakum min thakarin waonthawajaAAalnakum shuAAooban waqaba-ila litaAAarafooinna akramakum AAinda Allahi atqakum inna AllahaAAaleemun khabeer (For men is a share of what they have earned and for women is a share of what they have earned, and ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, knowing) - Quran 4:32
Wala tatamannaw ma faddala Allahu bihi baAAdakum AAala baAAdin lilrrijali naseebun mimma iktasaboo walilnnisa-i naseebun mimma iktasabna wais-aloo Allaha min fadlihi inna Allaha kana bikulli shay-in AAaleeman (Oh mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female) - Quran 49:13
No woman must travel for three days unless a mahram (kin or individual forbidden to have sexual intercourse with her) is accompanying her – Sahih Al-Bukhari 1063 (for all journeys) and Sahih Muslim 3096, Sahih Al-Bukhari 1763 (for the hajj)
The foregoing grounds provided by two authoritative sources for the Sharia law – the Quran and Hadith, may appear to protect women, but at the same time provides them with numerous prohibitions that prevent them from gaining employment opportunities ideal for their skills and knowledge. Therefore, one could say that requiring female Saudi citizens to practice their right to work based on proper moral grounds leading them against harassment from their male counterparts is constitutive of denying them of proper employment opportunities that would maximize their expertise and, in turn, benefit the diversification agenda of Saudi Arabia. Aside from the Sharia Law, the Quran and the Hadith may also be considered to be detrimental forces in supporting gender equality movements in Saudi Arabia as it also contains principles and teachings about gender equality, as mentioned in the discussion about them in the earlier section.
The Impetus for Change
A. Mobaraki and B. Soderfeldt expressly admitted the premise that gender inequality in Saudi Arabia poses risks to the well-being of female Saudi citizens. Such assertion proceeds with another daunting admission involving the lack of statistical data on inequality experienced by female Saudi citizens, yet it nevertheless touches on said issue on its perceived effects on economic development of Saudi Arabia. The goal of Saudi Arabia to expand towards diversification away from reliance to petroleum production and exportation is an aspect that requires further investigation on the status of the labour market in Saudi Arabia. Such therefore necessitates further determination of disparities on the grounds of gender, which findings suggest is highly apparent in Saudi Arabia given its patriarchal system operating through Islam and its legal system. Mobaraki and Soderfeldt, having specified their analysis on the aspect of public health, emphasized that gender disparity in Saudi Arabia causes harmful effects to the health of female Saudi citizens. The need for able-bodied participants on the labour market of Saudi Arabia is crucial to making diversification a success for the nation, given that it is never easy to become successful in economic undertakings from scratch. Declining health among female Saudi citizens, mainly caused by domestic abuse, dependence of contraceptive use on the decision of husbands, and social restrictions preventing them from learning more about public health, further deprives them of opportunities to become useful members of the labour market of Saudi Arabia. Thus, reforms to gender disparity on the grounds of public health stands as a valid standpoint in cultivating better opportunities for female Saudi citizens to gain equal pay to that of their male counterparts.
Sean Foley has taken on the case of women in the Gulf nations, as they sought to revolutionize their political and socioeconomic inclinations on gender equality. Such provides interesting perspectives when applied against Sharia law in Saudi Arabia, given that the Gulf nations are predominantly Islamic. The emancipation of women in the Gulf nations, as noted by Foley, went on because of heavy government investments in education, costliness of employing expatriates, the war on terrorism waged by the United States (US) and the inadequacy of men in fulfilling key positions. In the case of Saudi Arabia, it is apparent that female Saudi citizens have gained the ability to become more enlightened through education with regard to the growing value of their place in society.
Gender disparities over pay emerges from the fact that female Saudi citizens have severely limited choices for their careers given the limitations set by Sharia law, which prohibits them from engaging in employment with men. Thus, the vision set in the research conducted by Foley – that of the integration of women within Islamic societies due to their increasing ascendancy in education and professional endeavours, may certainly take place in Saudi Arabia with the aid of instrumental modernist reforms to the protectiveness of the Sharia law in place therein.
Equality. Pelin Sahin explored the legacy of the Arab Spring that first started in Tunisia with emphasis on the legacy of the women who fought and joined the struggle. Sahin cites the success of the Arab Spring in Tunisia as one that partly involves the empowerment of women – a considerable feat considering the fact that the nation is predominantly Islamic. The recognition that women have rights and freedoms duly affords Tunisia of promising reforms, despite its strong Islamic background that luckily did not find its way into Sharia law in the nation. In the case of the Arab Spring, it is important to consider the fact that it affords many people within Islamic milieus the opportunity to realize their rights and freedoms, particularly with the surmounting challenges raised against the traditionally authoritarian hold of the leaders in the Arab World. At this point, it may seem implausible to see Saudi Arabia breaking down into rebellion in the same vein as nations like Tunisia did during the Arab Spring, given that its petroleum-controlled economy continues to stabilize the entire nation. Yet, increasing calls for stronger reforms towards diversification has inevitably touched on the role of female Saudi citizens in the labour market of Saudi Arabia. Calls for diversification, which requires the participation of skilled members of the labour market subject to the fields in demand, has since touched on matters questioning the wisdom of the Sharia law with regard to constraining female Saudi citizens, with many of them having gained impressive educational credentials crucial to the skills demanded by diversification. Thus, should the urgency for alternatives to the petroleum industry heighten drastically, it is possible for Saudi Arabia to succumb to revolutionary calls for gender equality, which in turn has notable political and socioeconomic considerations.
The Process of Change
Mustafa Ozbilgin, Jawad Syed, Faiza Ali and Dilek Torunoglu all contended in their research that it is important to consider the role of contextual distinctions first in planning to transpose approaches to EEO coming from Western nations such as those in Europe to Muslim majority countries (MMCs), given the prevalent role of Islam within the latter. MMCs require distinct attention as those involve various cultural differences provided by Islam, which is a predominantly patriarchal religion. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the Sharia law is the undisputed point of contention requiring special attention in cases where gender disparity is prevalent. The need to analyse the reasons behind the gender disparity in employment in Saudi Arabia within the context of Islam arises from the fact that the Sharia law is predominantly Islamic, such that sensitive implications might follow should approaches from Western nations incompatible to it find further application. In such a case, it is crucial to consider the fact that despite the relatively marginalized status of female Saudi citizens participating in the labour market of Saudi Arabia, it is nevertheless beginning to emancipate given that many of them have received university and graduate-level degrees in the face of growing concerns of the nation towards diversification. Such may ultimately end up as a trade-off between fulfilling diversification by forgoing the protectiveness of Sharia law and upholding said legal provision at the expense of brain drain and continued reliance on petroleum production and exportation. Considering the foregoing distinctions in the context of Saudi Arabia would therefore lead to robust solutions, compared to the instantaneous application of Western approaches. In considering context, developing EEO may proceed first through a consideration of successful cases in other predominantly Islamic nations.
A proposal presented by Syed is the transition towards an Islamic modernist model, which proposes the application of policies implemented in Islamic nations where income equality is stronger, particularly in Turkey and Indonesia. Such, according to Syed, provides a compromise to the need to preserve Islamic virtues amidst the perceived alienating effects of non-Islamic influences. In that way, a major revamp of Sharia law in Saudi Arabia would not stand as a necessary measure, instead gaining additional influences from Islamic nations wherein income equality is stronger.
Fatima Rahman discussed further the prospective links between gender equality in MMCs and the family in Sharia law. Given the centrality of women in the family as the traditional homemaker under Sharia law, such imposes a fine consideration in improving the status of women in MMCs with regard to equal opportunity to employment and compensation, as in the case of Saudi Arabia. The multifaceted aspect of the employment of women in Saudi Arabia involves the clash of patriarchal tradition with their growing consciousness over their abilities as obtained through education and professional training. Rahman boldly asserted in her research that Sharia law greatly impedes the progress of women in MMCs as they fight for their rights, particularly because of the fact that tradition provides expectations of submissive behaviour unto them. It has been mentioned numerous times in this paper, and has been supported by academic literatures, that diversification, focusing on the gender aspect, would have more positive than negative effects in organizations and for Saudi Arabia’s economy as a whole, thanks in part to the Sharia law and to other legislations meant to protect the rights of professionals both male and female.
Sharia law has since come under attack for its highly unequal approach towards women, specifically within MMCs. In that sense, it is important to consider the premise that Sharia law, whereas protective of women against harassment, is actually constraining in terms of their freedom to pursue their professional undertakings. The fact that the role of men is highly considered in defining the role of women under Sharia law makes it a highly gender-unequal law, particularly because of the fact that it places so much authority unto male figures. Rebecca Maret, in her research presents such conflict within the context of Islamic arbitration conducted among Muslim communities in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK, with its established legacy of gender equality as indicated in their social policy, currently faces conflicts in the face of Sharia law arbitration among its Muslim communities. The touted insufficiency of legislative reforms to reforming the system set by the application of Sharia law unto Muslims in the UK presents the problem as a cultural one that requires further examination of the context involved.
Chapter Two: Issues in Saudi Labour Laws
The existence of inequality in the Saudi labour market has been expressly underscored. The gender disparity is manifested through unequal opportunities in the labour market and a dismal pay compared to their male counterparts.This chapter explores such issues in Saudi labour laws that suppress the advancement of gender equality in the labour market. In order to achieve this, the chapter will highlight why Saudi labour laws do not follow the provisions on gender equality that are outlined in the Sharia law. The chapter will also explore other issues, legal, cultural or religious that suppress the application of the provisions of gender equality in Saudi labour laws as outlined in the Sharia law.
Issues in Saudi Labour Laws
Saudi laws are based on Sharia law. However, its labour laws do not elaborately follow the provisions of Sharia law, especially with regards to gender equality. One of the questions asked in the introduction was why Saudi labour laws do not follow the provisions of Sharia law, especially on gender equality. While it is the aim of this chapter to explore this question, it is important to note that possible answers to this question lie outside the law. While the Sharia law clearly outlines provisions on gender equality, provisions that should guide Saudi labour laws, there are socially installed practices that suppress the formulation or implementation of labour laws based on the provisions of Sharia law. According to Amnesty Global Human Rights, most violations perpetrated on women in Saudi Arabia are not informed by the law. On the contrary, they are formed and sustained through social practices. The context behind this offers insights into why Saudi labour laws do not follow the provisions of Sharia law, especially on gender equality in the labour market.
One of the reasons why Saudi labour laws do not follow the provisions of equality in Sharia law is because they challenge the practices of the largely patriarchal Saudi society. Saudi Arabia has a significant cultural uniformity. This is because of the common language and religion. The patriarchal system in Saudi Arabia is continuing. The male-dominated society poses challenges to efforts towards gender mainstreaming. In fact, Amnesty Global Human Rights argues that the major challenge does not necessarily stem from the cultural practices. However, the organization does not contradict the influence of the patriarchal system on the practices in different sectors in Saudi Arabia. More precisely, the human rights body argues that the major challenge comes from the manner in which the government lets the patriarchal system determine its relations with the citizens of Saudi Arabia. The influence of this patriarchy is seen in different ways. For instance, female Saudi citizens are given legal guardians from among their immediate relatives.
The legal guardians assigned to the female citizens have legal obligations that lead to oppression of the women. For instance, Amnesty Global Human Rights reports that the male guardians can marry off the assigned female citizens. This is irrespective of the fact that they may still be children and being married off to men who are significantly older than them. Additionally, the male guardians can prohibit their assigned female citizens from marriage and education, a move that would be legally binding. Amnesty Global Human Rights argues that the male guardians educate their assigned female citizens. However, this is done because basic education is offered for free and the Saudi government pays a salary for students in public colleges. This does not indicate an appreciation of the role of women in the labour market. This is seen in the leniency by the government and the legal system to protect the rights of female citizens to education. According to Amnesty Global Human Rights, the legal system in Saudi makes it unattainable for a female citizen to get an education in cases where there male guardians forbid them from acquiring education. This shows the influences of the male dominated society and the liberties that this denies women.
Sharia law requires that women are treated equally with their male counterparts. This entails paying them on equal terms with their male counterparts for work of equal value. By effecting these provisions in the Sharia law in the labour laws in Saudi Arabia, the government would be contradicting the longstanding social practices in the patriarchal Saudi society. These longstanding practices have dictated how the government treats its citizens, as has been intimated earlier in the chapter. This can be further illustrated by the de facto ban on driving for Saudi women. According to Amnesty Global Human Rights, the de facto ban on driving for Saudi women embodies the influence the governmental patriarchy in Saudi Arabia. This is the kind of influence that negates the need to follow the provisions of Sharia law, especially with regards to the provisions on gender equality. The predicament of women is compounded by the fact that public transportation is virtually non-existent in many parts of Saudi Arabia. As such, a woman would not only need to purchase a car, but also implore a male relative or hire a man to drive the car in order to move from one point to another. This presents and continuing obstacle that not only suppresses the freedom of movement for Saudi women, but also dissuades them from pursuing careers and an education. This further goes to show the influence of patriarchy in denying women rights that are enjoyed elsewhere.
This chapter argues that such precincts are not based on legal or Islamic foundations. On the contrary, they are installed and maintained by social structures and practices. These sentiments have been echoed by government officials at the ranks of the Minister of Justice, Chief of Traffic Police and the director of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Although these precincts are socially installed and maintained, the government has allowed them to undergo unabated. For instance, the police will stop a woman caught driving a car and hold her at a police station. The assigned male guardian is called in order to sign pledges to the effect that the said woman would not be caught driving again. Irrespective of the fact that such acts have no legal basis, the infiltration of the patriarchal systems dictates that the policemen have to arrest women caught driving. The influence of the patriarchal system is seen in the fact that such women can only be released from jail after their assigned male guardians commit to ensuring that the women do not violate the socially stilled and maintained practices. This shows the lack of backing for women from the law. Saudi laws are cognizant of the influence of the patriarchal system, and bend appropriately in order to accommodate social practices, the fact that some of these practices violate the freedoms and rights of women notwithstanding. In a general sense, the overarching patriarchal system that is operationalized through laws, social structures and religion permeates into the labour laws, leaving the Saudi women to suffer unequal terms in the labour market.
The other reason that Saudi labour laws do not follow the provisions of Sharia law, especially in gender equality in the labour markets is the position of the woman in the society. According to Mathiason, the place of a woman in Saudi society has been culturally determined as in the home front. The precincts are institutionalized by traditions and religion. As such, the role of a woman is seen as caring for the home and bearing children. The continuing nature of this socially constructed precinct has seen many women accept their position and role in the Saudi society. Rather than perceiving it as degrading, they see it as an important contribution to their families. There is an overarching influence of the patriarchal system in this reason. The preservation of the male domination is very important. For instance, women can only pursue an education of careers upon the approval of their families. Even then, their placement is done carefully so that their activities do not require them to interact with other men.
Male university professors lecture their female students through televisions so that there is no interaction. When the Saudi government employs females, they put up walls in the ministries to ensure that there is a segregation of the sexes. Additionally, any international travel is subject to the official pre-approval by the males in the family or the assigned guardian. This shows the place of a woman in the society and the unhealthy need by the patriarchal system to protect the male dominance in the Saudi society. The disparities in the labour market are also experienced in the informal labour. Although there are no guarantees for the female workers, those who get work remain unpaid, especially in agriculture. This is because the work done is seen as part of their obligations towards their family members. In this regard, the women are not paid their wages. This justifies the argument that part of the reason why Saudi labour laws do not follow the provisions of Sharia law on gender equality in the labour market. By legally allowing equality between the genders at the workplace, Saudi labour laws would be challenging longstanding traditionally and religiously installed societal practices. This would undermine the place of a woman in the society by taking her away from the home where most of her responsibilities and roles are based.
The role of women and their place in the Saudi society has been highlighted and discussed above. The role of their male counterparts also informs the refusal to follow the provisions of Sharia law, especially on gender equality in the labour market. The family structure of most Saudi families is patriarchal. This means that most families are headed by males. The role of men in the family structure is to take charge of responsibilities outside the household. These include offering protection and providing the financial resources required to meet the needs in the household. The males also provide the identity for their families. Since the responsibility of meeting the financial obligations fall on the males in the society, there is an implied need by the patriarchal system to protect the livelihoods of the males in their society. In any case, the women in the society rely on men for most of the needs in the family. There is the issue of the predicament of households that are headed by women. However, given that women are assigned male guardians, in the event of the demise of the male head of the household, the women are not left on their own. Nonetheless, this is not to negate gender disparities arising from the influence of the patriarchal system in Saudi Arabia.
Chapter Three: Equality Provisions in European Labour Laws
Equality in the workplace is one of the most-important principles governing relations in the European Union. The administration of the gender equality principle has been done in several ways over the years. The most-significant manner in which this principle has been reinforced is through the use of legislation and treaties. Laws regarding gender equality in the labour market have been both specific and generic in nature. These laws put an obligation on the member states of the European Union to make sure that either gender are afforded equal opportunities and treatment. There is also an intrinsic obligation on the member states to fight all forms of discrimination that are grounded in gender in the workplace.
The precursor of the present-day European Union was established by The Treaty of Rome in 1957. Through the provisions of the treaty, the European Economic community was formed. This treaty paved the way for the integration of Europe into one regional body with a common voice. In addition to the provisions that formed the European Economic Community, the Treaty of Rome also made provisions for equality for gender parity with regards to pay. This implied that the signatories of the treaty had to commit to paying the men and women in their labour markets equally. This principle discouraged the discrimination of women based on their sex.
This chapter seeks to understand why the Treaty of Rome made provisions for gender equality in the labour market, especially with regards to the payment disparities between the two genders. The chapter also focuses on how the Treaty of Rome has been expanded since its inception. The chapter argues that the provisions of equality in the Treaty of Rome were down to the raging disparities in the labour market and the need to achieve greater economic prosperity in the member states without distorting similar initiatives in other member states. In addition to the economic agenda, there was a need for greater social cohesion. This is seen in some of the clauses in the treaties. This is in the expanded sense of equality to incorporate parental and social protection. As chapter argues that the agenda of social reforms was as important as the economic agenda as outlined in the presidential conclusions of the meeting held in Lisbon in 2000. Additionally, the chapter argues that conditions in the labour markets across Europe lead to changes to the Treaty of Rome that bore the Treaty of Maastricht (1992), Treaty of Amsterdam (1997), Treaty of Lisbon (2007/2009) and the Women’s Charter (2010).
The Equality Provision in the Treaty of Rome (1957)
The treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 to establish the European Economic Community. It is arguable that this principle opened the way for other directives and treaties regarding the enforcement of policies on gender parity. The Treaty of Rome contained a provision for equality because of the widespread recognition of the stalled economic growth under the previous economic regimes. The discrimination of women in the labour markets had significant effects on the economies of the member countries. As such, the most significant influencers of this provision were economic and social reasons. Member states of the European Economic Community, more so France, wanted to ensure that measures taken by member states to ensure that there was gender equality within national labour markets.
This would ensure that countries that had instituted measures to ensure that both genders were paid equally did not compete unfavourably in international labour markets. For instance, France had instituted measures to ensure that men and women in its national labour markets were paid equally even before the Treaty of Rome was signed. Cheap labour, especially of the female gender from other member states of the European Economic Community would economically disadvantage efforts to enhance gender parity in France. The need for the equality provision is seen in the statistics on gender inequality across Europe. Even with the equality provision in the Treaty of Rome, gender parity in the labour market, especially with regards to payment, a lot more requires to be done as evidenced by the statistics from labour markets across member states.
Statistics on Gender Equality in Europe
One important indicator is the gender imbalance in the boards of top companies around Europe. In a report written in 2013, six hundred and ten companies were considered. 17.8% of the composition of the boards of some of the largest companies registered with the European Union was comprised of women. 11.8% of the composition of executives in these companies is made up of women. The female representatives of the non-executive members of the boards of these companies are 18.8%. The proportion of the chief executive officers that is made of women is 2.8%.
It is important to note that the zone of gender equality is between 40% and 60%. The member states of the European Union have not reached the zone of gender equality. More specifically, the highest scoring member is Finland with 29.7%. This implies that continued effort is required in order to increase the representation of women in the labour market. This is because under the current efforts, the zone of gender equality has not been achieved as evidenced by the average of 17.8%. The model for the European Union seeks to ensure gender equality in the labour market for its member states. An average of 17.8% for the regional body shows that employment opportunities are still biased towards the female gender.
Approaches to Gender Equality in the European Union
The European Union uses a dual approach in ensuring gender equality in its member states. The dual approach entails specific measures and gender mainstreaming. With regards to gender mainstreaming, the European Union seeks to ensure that the gender perspective is integrated with the design phase, implementation and monitoring phase and the evaluation phase of policy making process. The significance of this approach is to ensure that before the formulation of any policies, the potential impact of such policies on the equality of the genders is determined and considered. In so doing, the regional body ensures that gender equality is made a reality in the policy formulation process.
The other part of the dual approach entails the use of specific measures. These measures include the use of legislations and campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality.The regional body also uses financial programs to advance the agenda of gender equality in labour markets. Through these measures, the European Union hopes to address specific problems challenging the achievement of gender equality. These problems include issues like recurrent under-representation of the female gender, especially in the executive members of company boards, gender pay gap, and disparities in the employment status of both men and women. The specific measures lead to alterations in the Treaty of Rome in order to further enhance the principle of gender equality. The following are some of the ways in which the Treaty of Rome has been expanded since 1957:
Treaty of Maastricht (1992)
For instance, in 1992, the treaty was amended and consequently renamed the Treaty of Maastricht. The effect of this amendment was the establishment of the European Union. The previous organization, the European Economic Community was made one of the three pillars of the European Union. This amendment was a significant change of the Treaty of Rome because it effectively established the European Union.
Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)
This treaty was an embodiment of the progress in the advancement of the agenda on gender equality. This treaty was a declaration that the European Union took the advancement of gender parity as a fundamental task. This was one of the major elements of this treaty. In addition to this, member states had the obligation of eliminating gender inequality within their jurisdictions and promoting the equal availability and access to opportunities between members of either gender. The treaty further gave the European Union the power to take punitive measures on member countries where discrimination that is grounded on one’s gender continues unabated. This was a positive move in the advancements of the agenda of gender equality in the European Union. With the empowerment derived from the treaty, the European Union could be more proactive in rooting out gender inequality in its member states.
Treaty of Lisbon (2007/2009)
The Treaty of Lisbon was the result of the expansion of the European Union. With the increased membership, there was a need for new engagements. This treaty formed a basis through which the institutions in the European Union were reformed. The most important changes that resulted from this treaty include the strengthening of national parliaments, strengthening of the European Union parliament, the introduction of an initiative of European Union citizens, the creation of the presidency of the European Union among other things. This treaty resulted in the strengthening of the core values of the European Union and the fundamental rights of its citizens. This treaty introduced the Charter of Fundamental Rights, implying that the signatories have the obligation to ensure that the rights are protected in their countries. With regards to gender equality, the treaty made reference to the need for equality for the male and female gender in all aspects
Women’s Charter (2010)
This charter was created from a policy declaration in 2010. This was also a commitment to the issues of gender equality. This charter was mandated to offer support to the Commission of Justice. This is in matters of gender mainstreaming. More precisely, the signatories of the charter were tasked with making considerations and ensuring that there are targeted efforts towards ensuring equality for both genders in all policy matters. In general terms, the signatories of the Women’s Charter were tasked with increasing efforts to fight against the prevalent violence against women. Since its inception, the charter identified key areas where action was required. The targeted areas were set to be evaluated for progress in a period of five years.
These areas included the promotion of equality in national and labour markets in order to promote equality in terms of economic independence. Additionally, the charter hoped to ensure equality in terms of compensation for equal work done by either gender, and also work with equal inherent value. The charter also targeted to ensure equality between the genders in decision making. It was also the target of the charter to generate policies that ensured the protection of human dignity, by among other things eliminating gender based violence. Finally, the charter endeavoured to partner with other international organizations and countries in order to advance the agenda of gender equality beyond the boundaries of the European Union.
Concerted Efforts towards Gender Parity
The European Union and its member states have made efforts towards ensuring gender parity in the labour market. This is in recognition of the fact the European working population is increasingly aging. As such, the safety nets and social protection systems in European countries are increasingly under threat. Owing to this fact, there is a need to close the employment gaps. Given the biased statistics pitting men against women in terms of employment opportunities, it is prudent to encourage the participation of women in the labour market. This will not only ensure gender parity in the labour market, but also ensure the sustainability of the safety nets and social protection systems.
In this regard, there have been efforts to ensure that the female employment rates are boosted. This was part of the grand social and economic objectives outlined in a meeting held in Lisbon in the year 2000. The memo with the presidential conclusion form the meeting economic reforms, especially in the labour markets and social cohesion as the guiding objectives for the next decade.In this regard, this meeting is targeted to increase the participation of the female gender in the European labour market by the year 2010. The indicators that were established to evaluate the achievement of this objective were participation rates of 60%. It is important to assess this outlined objective in order to determine the progress that has been made since. Since the inception of this strategy, there have been considerable efforts by the member states in order to ensure the achievement of the outlined targets within the timeframe established.
The efforts made by the member states towards the achievement of the outlined targets took different approaches. Many member states adopted policies on gender equality in the labour markets. Through the tenets of these policies, governments of the member states wanted to increase the participation of women as seen through employments, fight segregation of people based on their gender in the national labour markets and reducing and eventually eliminating the gaps in gender pay These measures were implemented in all sectors of the national economies through the formulation of regulatory frameworks on issues of employment, remuneration and other relevant aspects.
Policy formulation is one of the ways of influencing efforts aimed at ensuring gender parity in the labour markets. However, it is arguable that policy formulation may seem feasible on chapter, and still not have the desired effect in practice. While this is not without distinction, it is important to note that through the dual approach that the European Union employed, the policy formulation process outlined effective ways of implementing the policy directives. For instance, part of the specific measures used to enforce the provisions of the policy documents was the use of awareness campaigns. In addition to this, support programs were initiated in order to enhance the awareness campaigns.
The importance of the support programs is seen in the integration of the policies in achieving work life balance. It is apparent that women play a vital role in the family unit. In order to increase their employment rates, it is important to ensure that the family unit is considered. In this regard, the European Union through its member states ensured that policies regarding gender parity considered the reconciliation of family life and the work life, not just for women, but also for men. This is through the provision of auxiliary services for their dependents and their children. Despite these concerted efforts, there is a need for continued efforts because the zone of gender parity is still not achieved by all member states of the European Union.
Elements of Equality
As has been identified previously, there is a great emphasis on the principle of gender parity in the labour market. The concept of equality goes beyond equal payment. This concept also includes other elements that ensure that in the broader context, the male and female genders have equal opportunities. These elements touch on a variety of issues that both influence and affect the lives of both genders. It is important to overview these issues in order to establish how they affect the broad framework established by the European Union. These elements of equality include the following:
Equality in Working Conditions and Employment
It is not just sufficient to ensure that both genders have justifiable opportunities for employment. The European Union seeks to ensure that both genders enjoy equality in the working conditions. This encompasses issues of recruitment, dismissals, promotions, enrolment in worker’s organizations and self-employment. This means that both genders should enjoy equal opportunities in the determination of remuneration. Additionally, sex should not be used as a determinant in the determination of remuneration for the same kind of work. However, the preference is left to the employer in determining the allocation of personnel depending on the nature of the work. Such moves should embody the ideals of legitimacy and impartial allocation strategies
Equality in Social Protection
As discussed earlier, safety nets and social protection mechanisms for the aging population in Europe are coming under threat. Nonetheless, both genders should enjoy equality in the access of social protection mechanisms and safety nets. In addition to the access of social protection mechanisms, and safety nets, this element also touches on supplementary benefits, the computation of benefits and issues regarding the retention and the duration of entitlements. This element is not selective, and as such applies to all members of the population, up to and including, but not limited to those who are self-employed, the disabled, those on retirement, and those whose employment is interrupted by accidents, maternity and involuntary unemployment.
This element seeks to ensure that employees returning from adoption leave, maternal or paternal leave are not discriminated against based on their sex. In this regard, such employees are entitled to benefit from improvements in the working conditions that they would have enjoyed had they not been absent. Additionally, the European Union wants to ensure that such employees return to the positions they held, or posts of equivalence, under conditions that are not less favourable
Directives and Landmark Rulings in Gender Equality in the European Union
As pointed out earlier, the agenda on gender equality in the labour markets was enforced through treaties and directives. Such directives obliged member states to establish mechanisms and structures to enhance gender equality in their economies. For instance, the council directive denoted 75/117/EEC that was ratified in 1975 had several articles in this regard. Article one of the directive required the abolishment of gender based discrimination in instances where job classifications that determine one’s remuneration are done. The second article in the directive required national governments to introduce measures in their judicial systems that allows disenfranchised employees to seek redress through the courts. Directive denoted 2006/54/EC obliged the member states to institute measures to ensure that men and women were not treated differently in the labour markets. In its articles, the directive outlines measures that would be taken against defiant member states.
The arbitration of cases on equal pay has at times been done in the courts. The rulings in this case not only serve as interpretations of the gender equality law, but also as precedents. One such case featured two midwives who were employed to work in a regional hospital in Sweden. They argued that their work was of the same value as that of medical technicians in the hospital, yet they were paid significantly lower. The labour court found for the midwives in terms of the similarity in the value of their work. However, the court did not find that the difference in their remuneration amounted to gender based discrimination. This is because the wages were determined in a collective agreement. As such, remunerations that were determined through collective agreements could not be rendered as discriminating as the collective agreements contained an equality clause.
In another case, an employee working on a part-time basis in an enterprise in Austria argued that she was treated differently in matters of pay increases when compared to those engaged in a full-time basis. The court was informed that employees engaged on a full-time basis got promoted to higher pay categories after two years compared to a four-year period that employees engaged on a part-time basis had to wait. The Austrian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice found for the plaintiff. The two courts held that the lower levels of efficiency and experience could not be used as grounds for disproportionate pay. In this way, both categories of employees were due for promotions after every two years, whether on a full-time or on a part-time basis. This ruling serves as a precedent for any legal arbitrations of a similar matter.
Many other cases with implications on the European provisions have been heard and determined at the European Court of Justice. Defrenne versus Sabena was a particular case that had implications on the principle of equality between genders in the labor market. The determination of the case underscored the right to implement the provisions of gender equality in the treaties of the European community. The background of this case leaks of the inequalities that the treaties attempted to address. The applicant in the case wanted compensation for financial losses resulting from allowances for the termination of her contract, salary and pension, especially when compared with the male counterparts performing work of equal value.
The European Court of Justice in its determination held that the provisions enshrined in Article 119 embody both economic and social objectives. As such, common actions towards the social progress evidenced by marked improvements in the working and living conditions of both genders were required. The reasoning behind this holding was that the provisions of equality and the principle itself were not only implicational for member states, but also the private employers in these member states. This means that individuals can exert their rights to equality even if they are under the employment of private entities. This effectively covers the loophole created by the thought that private entities are not bound by these provisions.
Other cases brought before the court have set different precedents regarding the matter of equality between genders. The case of Grant V. South West Trains Ltd brought into perspective the implications of the provisions on same-sex relationships. The petitioner in the case was denied travel rights with his same-sex partner. The complaint in the petition embodied the ills that the provisions sought to address. The deliberations of the case touched on discrimination based on sex, especially because unmarried partners of the opposite sex enjoyed the travel benefits that the petitioner and his partner were denied. The petitioner argued that the denial of travel benefits amounted to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
However, the interpretation of directives and provisions of equality did not find for the petitioner. Instead, the court found that the European Community Treaty only referred to discrimination on the basis of sex, and not sexual orientation. Additionally, the court found that the male and female employees of South West Trains Ltd would be subject to a similar consideration under the same circumstances. This case is very important to the understanding of the treaties providing for gender equality in the European Union. This is because the case raises issues on the scope of the provisions of the treaties. In filing for this case, the petitioner understood the scope to cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, the interpretation of the court challenged such an understanding by citing the limited scope of the provisions of the European Treaty.
These two cases present contrasting perspectives with regards to various issues emanating from the treaties of the European Union. The finding of the court in the two cases set precedents to be followed in other cases, through for varying reasons. Nonetheless, the holding of the court clarified various aspects of the treaties, thereby forging a common understanding through which the provisions of the treaties would be enforced. For instance, the holding in Defrenne versus Sabena clarified that the provisions of equality can be invoked by employees in private entities and in national courts.
Chapter Four: Advantages and Disadvantages of Equality between Genders
In the Human Development Index of 2011, Saudi Arabia was ranked number 56 out of th 187 countries that were considered. However, the gender equality report in the country did not reflect as positive as the previous indicator. In the same year, the country was ranked number 135 out of the 146 countries that were considered with regards to the gender inequality index. The Global Index Gap in the same year ranked Saudi Arabia at number 131. These statistics do not speak positively regarding gender equality in Saudi Arabia. This is even more serious when it comes to labour provisions in the country’s law.
Some aspects of Saudi law on labour mimic the provisions in the European Community. For instance, pregnant women have an entitlement to ten weeks of paid maternity leave. Additionally, employers whose workforce are comprised of more than fifty women should offer childcare facilities. This enables the women to take care of their children while still maintaining activity in the labour market.
In a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund in 2007, young men were in support of their wives developing employment opportunities and careers away from home. This would help meet the family expenditures to cover the high living costs. This puts the spotlight on the advantages and disadvantages of equality between the two genders, especially in terms of pay. What benefits or ills are there from paying men and women equally? This chapter highlights the advantages and disadvantages of paying genders equally. The chapter argues that paying women more money for work done will increase the cost of labour, thereby alienating companies to labour markets where there is cheap labour. Nonetheless, the chapter will acknowledge the benefits that may stem from paying women and men equally. These include fairness and social justice.
Advantages of Equal Pay between the Genders
Gender equality with regards to remuneration has inherent benefits. Most labour laws require that men and women are paid equally for work of the same value. On the most basic level, it is only fair that this is done. It is discriminatory and in-dignifying that women are aid differently from men when they perform the duties of the same value. Although one’s gender is a factor in the labour market to some extent, most people are hired based on their skills and expertise. These two factors also form the criteria upon which different duties are allocated. For instance, people who are more skilled will ideally be allocated tasks that require more skill. Ideally, such people would attract better remuneration packages compared to lowly skilled people assigned to tasks that require low levels of skills. In this way, gender is not a determining factor on whether or not these individuals are paid equally.
It is only fair that women are paid on an equal measure to men for work of equal value. However, it is important to consider the fact that other factors also affect the remuneration package of an individual. In addition to the value of work, other factors like seniority, changing pay levels in the labour markets, individual performance, evolving pay strategies and business results also affect the payment levels of individuals. As such, the amount of pay for both genders is definitely not the only consideration for gender equality. Since the other factors come into play, equality is achieved by ensuring that both genders are treated equally and fairly. This is by ensuring that men and women who do work of equal value are subject to similar considerations and afforded equal treatment under comparable circumstances. This ensures fairness in the labour markets. Women are given a fair chance to earn as much as their male counterparts for the work of the same value.
Gender equality in terms of pay has other advantages that not only serve the individual, but also the economy. For instance, equal pay between the genders positively affects the attractiveness and the reputation of a business. Labour is one of the factors of production. It is important for any business to maintain a human resource pool. Businesses that discourage gender disparity with regards to remuneration are better placed to attract skilled employees compared to other businesses. This is because the players in the labour market want to work in places where they are afforded a fair chance to thrive. Additionally, an organization that creates an enabling environment for gender parity is an attraction for young academics yet to graduate from academic institutions. This is because of the reputation that the organization has accumulated as an equal opportunity employer.
Equality between gender also leads to a more effective utilization of skills. It is important that employees who are aware that they are discriminated against will not be productive. This is because the discrimination results in demotivation and loss of morale. In this case, the employees of the female gender would be demoralized because they are paid lesser compared to their male counterparts for work of equal value on the premise that they are of the female gender. Bridging the gender gap would ideally increase the morale of these employees. Of course, there are other factors that influence the morale of an employee. Motivated employees are more productive compared to demoralized employees. This will increase the output in the organization ideally leading to increased profit margins. Additionally, it is important to consider the fact that some women may shun employment because of the gender disparities in the labour market. Such people may not put the skills gained through education, to effective use as some seek other income generating activities that may have little dependence on the skills gained. This is a dire situation for an economy because it amounts to disuse of skills that is significant if translated into monetary terms. However, by increasing the salaries of the female gender to match those of their male counterparts for work of equal value will attract talent into the labour market. The effective use of these skills will have a positive impact on the quality of life for the individuals and the economy at large.
Gender equality results in a positive impact for the female population. There is a popular opinion that women depend on the male gender, thereby negating the need for addressing these issues. This opinion, particularly thrives on the household front where it is perceived that most households are headed by men. Contrary to this opinion, more households are headed by women nowadays because of the disintegration of the family unit. In such situations, the woman is responsible for the all the expenditures in the household. Discriminating women with regards to pay threatens their capacity to provide for their households. The seriousness of this matter is exemplified by the report by the United Nations Children’s Fund in 2007. The report found that young Saudi men were in support of their wives pursuing employment and career opportunities in order to support households. This is down to the high cost of living in the country. The contents of the report vindicate the recognition that there is a need for input from the two spouses in order to meet the financial obligations of the household. In this regard, enhancing gender parity in the labour markets enhances the ability of family units to meet their obligations. Considering these facts, bridging the gender disparities will enable the female gender to provide for their families. This can also be put into perspective by considering the fact that this has a human right element. Women suffer the indignity of knowing that the basis for being discriminated is not education, skills or expertise, but their gender. Due to the fact that she is a woman, her work is seen as less valuable compare to the male gender. In this regard, rationalizing the remuneration between the genders will not only restore dignity to the women, but also empower them to participate effectively in the economy. Given the fact that this is from households where the two parents are available, by inference, it is even more dire for households that are headed by women, even without considering the handicap of gender discrimination.
Disadvantages of Equal Pay between the Genders
In some jurisdictions, it is cheaper to hire women compared to men. This is because men are paid more for the same value of work compared to women. The implication of having more men in the organization compared to women in these jurisdictions is that the wage bill will increase significantly. As such, some organizations might opt to hire more women because it is a cheap source of labour. It is important to understand that the inexpensive nature of the female labour is not down to their skills or lack thereof, experience or expertise. It is because of their gender. This means that it is cheaper to hire a woman compared to a man in these jurisdictions the similarities in the experiences in skills, expertise and experience notwithstanding. Increasing the salaries of women in order to match those of men for work or equal value poses a major disadvantage.
Secondly, companies add to their value by sourcing for relatively inexpensive factors of production while still maintaining quality. Given that such a move will make it costly to hire labour, companies might be sourced to look into other labour markets, probably outside the national boundaries in order to acquire cheaper labour. This is feasible, especially when the bordering countries do not implement laws on equal pay. Even though the said companies might not get away with importing labour to work in their factories, they might outsource operations to the countries with cheaper labour. Although not explicitly implied, this was an issue of concern in Europe at the time when the Treaty of Rome was being coined. There was growing concern that the member states who had instituted measures to ensure equal gender pay prior to the treaty would be economically disadvantaged in the labour markets. The concern was that companies in these countries would source for labour in other national labour markets where these measures had not been instituted. This is because ideally, labour was cheaper in these national labour markets, more so the labour of the female gender. This was especially a concern for France, a country that had instituted measures to ensure equal gender pay prior to the Treaty of Rome. If these measures were not instituted and implemented by all members of the then European Economic Community, then efforts to ensure gender parity in the labour markets would have been undermined by the economics of production.
The thesis deals with the issue of gender inequality by contrasting the situation in Saudi Arabia and the European Union as dictated by the labour laws in place. Saudi Arabia has in the recent past shown good economic prospects. As a major oil producer in the world, its economy is experiencing a steady growth. As such, the labour market is one of the most important drivers of the economy. The focus on the dynamics in the labour markets shows conspicuous disparities in the labour market. There is gender inequality not only in the availability of employment, but also in the payment. This manifests through the male gender accessing more opportunities and getting more that their female counterparts for work of equal value. The disparities in the labour market are also manifested through the sheer numbers. 85.6% of the working population in Saudi Arabia is comprised of males. This shows that the female gender only accounts for 14.4%. This shows that more males have access to and get employed compared to their male counterparts. This does not correlate positively with the education acquisition status in the country.
Literature has shown that over 90% of the members of the female gender looking for employment opportunities in the Saudi labour market have attained secondary qualifications in the very least. Statistics also show that more than 57% of the university graduates from universities in Saudi Arabia in 2006 were of the female gender. This shows that the dismal participation of the female gender in the labour market cannot be attributed to their unskilled nature, sentiments that have been echoed by the minister of labour in Saudi Arabia. The fact that women cannot get employment despite attaining being very skilled puts a sharp focus on the labour laws in Saudi Arabia. The basic laws in Saudi Arabia are based in Sharia laws. Sharia laws provide for equality between the genders in the work place. This implies that men and women ought to be paid equally for work of equal value. However, literature has show that the mere existence of these provisions in Sharia laws does not translate to the labour laws. In fact, Saudi labour laws do not follow the provisions of gender equality in the Sharia law. This shifts the focus to issues in the Saudi labour laws. The literature found that Saudi Arabia operates on a patriarchal system where women are seen as legal minors.
The male dominated society poses challenges to gender mainstreaming. Through the literature, it can be inferred that the high number of women attending institutions of higher learning is because of the stipends paid by the Saudi government for students attending public institutions. This does not reflect a society that values education for women. Through the influence of the patriarchal system, the government cannot enforce the gender equality provisions in the Sharia law. This is because affecting such laws would contradict long standing religious and cultural practices that place men above women. This influence is seen through the way in which men and women working together relate. For instance, literature showed that male lectures would deliver their lessons through the use of televisions when they were instructing female students.
Additionally, women are assigned male guardians who make some decisions such as marriage, education and leaving home to work on their behalf. The male guardians make decisions on whether to the women can travel abroad or attain education. This shows the influence of the male dominated society in Saudi Arabia. The literature also showed that the place of women in the Saudi society affects her ability to access employment opportunities. Women are tasked with caring for the children and taking care of the home. This affects their chances in the labour market directly. For instance, women employed in the agricultural sector may not be paid since their work is seen as an extension of their duties in the home front. Additionally, the government does not enforce the gender equality provisions because they would challenge the place of a woman in the Saudi society by removing her from the household where most of her responsibilities are based.
This does not appear to be the case in the European Union where gender equality in the labour markets is the guiding principle for relations in the labour market. Literature shows that the European Union enacted treaties providing for gender equality in the labour market for both social and economic reasons. It is worth noting that even before the enactment of the Treaty of Rome, the agreement that formed the European Economic Community and introduced the provisions of gender equality, some countries had instituted measures to ensure the equal participation and remuneration of the genders in the labour market. In order to ensure that there was favourable competition between all members of the European Economic Community, it was imperative for all members to institute measures and structures to enhance gender equality within their economies. Otherwise, there was the risk of an influx of cheap labour from countries that paid women poorly compared to their male counterparts. The review of literature showed the treaties that have been signed in order to enhance gender equality within the European Union.
When the Treaty of Rome was ratified in 1957 to form the European Economic Union, it also provided for gender equality in the labour market. Since its inception, the Treaty of Rome was expanded on several occasions. These include the Treaty of Maastricht, the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Treaty of Lisbon and the Women’s Charter. However, the review of literature has showed that despite these concerted efforts towards achieving gender equality, there still remains more to be done. This is seen through the statistics regarding women participation in the labour market. For instance, the composition of the boards of the largest companies in the European Union reflects a mere 18% that is made of women. The representation of women in the labour markets does not reflect the set targets. Finland, the highest scoring member in the European Union reports just 29.7% which is less than the 40 to 60% targeted zone of gender equality. Although these statistics show that more remains to be done in the European Union with regards to gender equality, it can be inferred that the European Union has made significant progress compared to Saudi Arabia. If not through the statistics, this can also be seen through the enforcement of labour laws in the European Union.
The review of literature highlighted landmark cases where national labour courts and the European Court of Justice upheld the provisions of gender equality by finding for discriminated employees. This is also seen in the approach by the European Union where gender equality does not just entail the remuneration and access to employment opportunities, but also equality in social protection, parental leave and the working conditions. It was important to examine the advantages and disadvantages of gender equality in the labour market. The review of literature showed that the advantages of gender equality in the labour market were not just enjoyed by individuals, but also by the economy. For instance, the review of literature showed that gender equality in the labour markets lead to a better utilization of skills. Many skilled women in the Saudi labour markets are not employed. As such, their skills remain unutilized. Such skills when utilized can lead to productivity in the economy.
Other advantages highlighted in the thesis include the positive reputation earned by a business by paying both sexes equally for work of equal value. Such businesses are able to attract skilled talent for their human resource pool. This in turn affects performance of the business and by extension the economy. The principle of fairness was also highlighted as an advantage of gender equality. It is only fair people doing work of equal value are paid equally irrespective of their gender. Of course other factors like seniority and individual performance among other factors have a bearing on the final pay. Nonetheless, the equal treatment is the concept being advocated. One of the disadvantages highlighted is the unfavourable competition in the international labour markets in instances where some national labour markets do not pay their women equally with their male counterparts.
Additionally, gender equality in the labour would increase the cost of labour, an important factor of production. This would increase the costs of production and therefore affect the profit margins. This is because of the affirmative action to rationalize the remuneration for the women already in employment, in addition to the cost of hiring new employees. One of the concerns highlighted is the possibility of outsourcing operations to labour markets where labour is cheaper. Ideally, these would be labour markets where measures to enhance gender equality have not been instituted. Even with all these concerns, it is difficult to disregard the advantages of enhancing gender equality in the labour market. It is probably due to these advantages that the European Union has instituted the numerous measures of enhancing gender equality in the national labour markets under the European Union. It is evident that Saudi Arabia is lagging behind on this aspect. This is attributable the stumbling religious and cultural blocks. Despite this, labour laws in Saudi Arabia can be fixed in order to follow the provisions of gender equality in the Sharia law in order to benefit from the advantages outlined.
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