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Sex segregation is the separation of people according to their gender.

The pejorative term gender apartheid (or sexual apartheid) has been applied to segregation of people by gender, implying that it is sexual discrimination. In some circumstances, gender segregation is a controversial policy, with critics contending that in most or all circumstances it is a violation of human rights, and supporters arguing that it is necessary to maintain decency, sacredness, modesty, female safety[1] or the family unit.

Homicide, infant mortality, obesity, teenage pregnancies, emotional depression and prison population all correlate with higher social inequality.[2]

Contents

Public facilities

In the interest of modesty, public toilets, public showers, dormitories, changing rooms, prisons and other areas are usually sex segregated. On the other hand, resorts and beaches (notably nudist ones) are not segregated, nor are nude figure drawing classes at colleges and universities.

In some countries, trains have designated women-only passenger cars. In India, for example, seats and compartments are reserved for women commuting to work in buses, trains, metros and by many other means as a pilot program to reduce taunting and harassment by men. Entire railway compartments are reserved for females, where men are not allowed to enter.[3] Kolkata Metro Railways started the practice of reserving two entire compartments for females.[4]There are even whole trains only for women.[5]

Sports

Sports are usually segregated on a gender basis. Some sports that do not rely on physical contact, such as bowling or golf, may have separate sporting events. In archery, though, it is normal for both sexes and all ages to shoot alongside each other: in a handicap tournament they will, in fact, be competing against each other.

To cater to the religious requirements of various faiths, and for other preference reasons, sometimes separation is achieved by allocating times or facilities for the exclusive use of one gender, usually of women. This is sometimes done with public saunas, swimming pools and gymnasiums.

Occupational segregation by sex

"Occupational segregation by sex is extensive in every region, at all economic development levels, under all political systems, and in diverse religious, social and cultural environments."[6] "It is a major source of labour market rigidity and economic inefficiency."[6] It

  1. is wasteful of human resources,
  2. increases labour market inflexibility, and
  3. reduces an economy's ability to adjust to change.[6]

The persistence of gender stereotypes has negative effects on education and training and causes gender-based inequalities to be perpetuated into future generations.[6]

Historically, certain occupations tended to be exclusively for men and others for women. Occupations such as nursing and secretarial tended to be almost exclusively for women. This is referred to as occupational segregation. Significant sex differences regarding educational requirements and job duties exists for dental hygienist, secretary, and social worker.[7]

With the movement to sexual equality, formal barriers have been removed. However, certain occupations still continue to be dominated by one gender or the other.

Secretary

A secretary is an administrative assistant in business office administration. Since the Renaissance until the late 19th century, men involved in the daily correspondence and the activities of the mighty had assumed the title of secretary (or in other cases, "clerk"). In 1870 Sir Isaac Pitman founded a school where students could qualify as shorthand writers to "professional and commercial men." Originally, this school was only for male students. In the 1880s, with the invention of the typewriter, more women began to enter the field, and since World War I, the role of secretary has been primarily associated with women. By the 1930s, fewer men were entering the field of secretaries.

Nursing

A U.S. Navy recruiting poster from World War II, showing a Naval nurse with a hospital ship.

Nursing comes in various forms in every culture, although the definition of the term and the practice of nursing being a wet nurse and a dry nurse, respectively.[8] In the 15th century, this developed into the idea of looking after or advising another, not necessarily meaning a woman looking after a child.[8] Nursing has continued to develop in this latter sense, although the idea of nourishing in the broadest sense refers in modern nursing to promoting quality of life. Prior to the foundation of modern nursing, nuns and the military often provided nursing-like services.[9] The religious and military roots of modern nursing remain in evidence today in many countries, for example in the United Kingdom, senior female nurses are known as ‘‘sisters’’.

Education

For religious, historical or other cultural reasons, schools might be segregated on a gender basis. There have been studies conducted to analyse whether single-sex schools or co-ed schools produce better educational outcomes, but each has its advocates and critics. Even in co-ed schools, certain classes, such as sex education, are sometimes segregated on the basis of gender. On the other hand, even in single-sex schools the teaching staff usually are both men and women. Some schools decide to segregate students only in core subjects. This is called parallel education.

New research in Israel shows that both boys' and girls' performance can increase at a school with a higher ratio of girls to boys in the classroom.[10]

In Louisiana, USA, following forced racial integration of public schools, the schools were segregated by sex. St. Bernard and Jefferson Parishes (surrounding New Orleans) instituted sex segregation apparently to reduce the likelihood of black (African American) and white students dating.[11] The last year of sex segregation in Jefferson Parish public schools was 1975.

Religion

Religion perpetuates asset poverty through sex segregation and discrimination.[12]

"A broad definition of spirituality is that which gives a person's life ultimate meaning."[13]

"Spiritual differences are also informed by faith tradition and/or a system of beliefs, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Paganism, or even Atheism."[13]

Atheism

Religious and spiritual belief systems such as forms of Buddhism that do not advocate belief in gods, have been described as atheistic.[14] The section on Buddhism below suggests that traditional Buddhists practice sex segregation. This may also apply to atheistic Buddhism.

Buddhism

"The sex segregation and male dominance of traditional Buddhist institutions, which also encourage belief in the reality of gender, are so well known that there is no necessity to do more than remind ourselves of their existence."[15]

"The assumption that only men would take on certain roles such as public teaching, a widespread practice in Tibetan Buddhism, suggests willful ignoring, rather than transcendence of the extent to which people attribute absolute, not relative meaning, to gender."[15]

Christianity

The terms "gender apartheid" and "sexual apartheid" have also been used to describe differential treatment of women in institutions such as the Church of England[16] or the Roman Catholic Church. See, for example, Patricia Budd Kepler in her 1978 Theology Today article "Women Clergy and the Cultural Order".[17]

The Holy See, the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church, also known as the "Universal Church of Rome" is the only sovereign state in the 21st century to continue to illegally systemically exclude its global Catholic female citizens and women nationals from formal and official admission to the Church's still all-male professional pontifical ecclesiastical foreign service ministry and Catholic diplomatic mission apostolate by an illegal policy, practice and procedure of "diplomatic gender apartheid." The Church has formally and globally affirmed its moral, legal and diplomatic commitment to the human dignity and rights of each human person, including women by officially promulgating a firm policy of gender equity, gender parity and gender complementarity in its laws, social doctrine and ecclesiastical human rights but still continues to condone its policy, practice and procedure of the diplomatic gender apartheid of its women citizens. The Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, through the medium of the Roman Pontiffs (the popes) have firmly globally affirmed that "the feminine genius of women is indispensable for the harmonious development of the global human family" therefore exalting the systemmatic act of diplomatic gender exclusion of Catholic women in the Holy See's ecclesiastical foreign service as a form of gender aparthied and therein a moral crime against humanity--most especially since peace is more than the absence of war, as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have affirmed, authentic peace is the effect of just actions and the establishment of systems of international social justice by living an authentic human rights conscience diplomacy that affirms moral justice and realizes international diplomatic peace. Ecclesiastical Diplomatica is an internet site exclusively dedicated to Vatican diplomacy, the subject of pontifical ecclesiastical international and diplomatic affairs, and the continuing systemic exclusion and gender apartheid of global Catholic women from the Holy See's still all-male professional pontifical ecclesiastical diplomatic service. The Holy See's moral crime against humanity must be terminated by the United Nations, to which the Holy See is an accredited permanent observer since no state must be allowed to sit at the UN guilty of the crime of gender apartheid, condemned by the United Nations as a crime against humanity-- while at the same time affirming itself as a "friend of humanity." This is an unconscionable state of gender apartheidic affairs which must be terminated for the cause of the protection of the international moral order and for the preservation of the moral balance of power on the international plane.

In churches, men and women sit together in most Western Catholic parishes, while in many Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox parishes, there is a sex segregation. This is not as common in the New World as it is in the Old World, especially in more rural areas where men will sit on the right (near Christ's icon) and women will sit on the left (near Mary's icon).

Hinduism

In much of Tamil Nadu sex segregation is meant to be observed such that women and men eat separately in the home, ride on separate sides of the local bus, watch movies from different halves of the theater, and stand in different lines to pray to Hindu deities.[18]

Islam

"Of great importance to people in the Islamic religion is the concept of modesty, which stems from a deeper belief in sex segregation."[13]

"Interestingly, these traditions of sex segregation do not find their origins in the Qur'an."[13]

Islam discourages social interaction between unmarried strange men and women. Sex segregation is strictly enforced in some Islamic countries by religious police.[19][20]

In the Muslim world, preventing women from being seen by men is closely linked to the concept of Namus.[21][22] Namus is an ethical category, a virtue, in Middle Eastern Muslim patriarchal character. It is a strongly gender-specific category of relations within a family described in terms of honor, attention, respect/respectability, and modesty. The term is often translated as "honor".[21][22]

Judaism

Orthodox Jewish synagogues have separate men's and women's sections, typically separated by a wall or curtain called a mechitza.[23]

In Israel there are a few buses, serving ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, which are segregated by sex, with either men or women sitting in the front and either men or women sitting in the back of the bus.[24]. Also, ultraorthodox Jews are forbidden to hear music by women solists.

Paganism

Within the African system of courtyard planning, some are adapted to provide for sex segregation.[25]

Military

Many countries around the world make it mandatory for males to join the military, but not females.

Men at 18 years of age in the United States are required to register for military conscription to be drafted to war or military service. Women are not required to register with the Selective Service System and have no obligation to serve in the military in the case of a draft. Mandatory military service is sometimes cited as an example of discrimination against men.

Origin

The San people of southern Africa are among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic diversity and may be the most basal branch of the phylogenetic tree comprising all living humans. The status of women is relatively equal.[26] Sex segregation appears to be limited. San women gather fruit, berries, tubers, bush onions and other plant materials for the band's consumption. San men traditionally hunt using poison arrows and spears in laborious, long excursions. Kudu, antelope, deer, dikdik, and buffalo were important game animals. The San offer thanks to the animal's spirit after it has been killed. The liver is eaten only by men and hunters because it is thought to contain a poison unsafe for women.

Traditionally the San were an egalitarian society.[26] Although they did have hereditary chiefs, the chiefs' authority was limited, the San instead make decisions among themselves by consensus.[27] In addition, the San economy was a gift economy, based on giving each other gifts on a regular basis rather than on trading or purchasing goods and services.[26] A comprehensive study of major world economies has revealed that homicide, infant mortality, obesity, teenage pregnancies, emotional depression and prison population all correlate with higher social inequality.[2] Apparently, higher social inequality which includes sex segregation is of benefit for some to the expense or detriment of the many.

Childhood development

For the vast majority of children, there is coincidence of biological sex, social gender label, and psychological gender identity, which is sufficient to produce same-sex segregation.[28] Sex segregation in children reflects social factors common to all members of the sex and is a group phenomenon resulting from gender identification and labeling, rather than to similarities in sex-typed activities.[29]

Sex differences

A sex difference is a distinction of biological and/or physiological characteristics typically associated with either males or females of a species in general. Quantitative differences are based on a gradient and involve different averages. For example, males are taller than females on average,[30] but an individual female may be taller than an individual male. Sex differences usually describe differences which clearly represent a binary male/female split, such as human reproduction. Though some sex differences are controversial, they are not to be confused with sexist stereotypes.

When employers' assumptions about the sexes lead them to assign individual men and women to different jobs, they are discriminating and sex segregating on the basis of sex differences and sexist stereotypes.[31] In the United States, occupational sex segregation has declined since 1970, but most workers remain in sex segregated jobs.[31] National institutions that promote investments in gender-biased skills are a mechanism that perpetuates sex segregation.[32]

"One of the most robust findings of evolutionary psychology is that the human mind is sexually dimorphic, with the sexes differing, on average, in a variety of temperamental and cognitive traits. Sex differences in such traits might plausibly be expected to have a substantial effect on social behavior and social patterns. One social domain in which these differences may play out with substantial force is the workplace".[33] "Students of occupational behavior have long understood that people tend to gravitate toward, and succeed at, jobs for which they have the skills and ability and that provide them with the satisfactions that they desire."[33]

The female role in gestation and lactation is of ancient origin dating back to the dawn of mammals, whereas men who achieve positions of power tend to have access to more females and leave behind more offspring than other men.[33] Among mammals, the demands of gestation (nine months in humans) and lactation (up to a year or two) mean that females necessarily invest more in their offspring initially. Mammalian males can increase their reproductive success through mating with other females, especially during an impregnated female's periods of gestation and lactation. Other males pursue the same strategy, thereby competing among themselves through contests of raw physical power or through skill at forming male coalitions (thereby reducing competition for females by sex segregating other males from females).[33] Human males can provide post-conception investment such that female mate choice is driven by genetic endowment and his ability and willingness to invest in her and her offspring.[34]

Because two groups exhibiting average differences in talents and tastes would be expected to make different workplace choices due to selective pressures that have been operating on the two sexes for millions of years, men and women would be unlikely to act interchangeably in a labor market that emphasizes gender-biased skills.[33] Men who achieve positions of power tend to have access to more females and leave behind more offspring than other men when variations away from egalitarianism, such as that of the San people, are perpetrated on society. Preference for selective traits (e.g., achieving positions of power) may be advantageous in geographically isolated situations but tend to increase species vulnerability to extinction when that isolation is lost.

Supply side origins

Supply-side explanations of occupational sex segregation look to individual characteristics of workers, such as values, aspirations, and roles, for the origin for occupational outcomes.[35]

For individuals with early plans for employment intermittency or more actual breaks in employment, there is no tendency to work in predominantly female occupations, contrary to human capital theory.[35] Women who choose occupations when anticipating breaks in employment probably do not choose the occupation because of lower wage penalties for time out of the labor force.[35]

White and Latina mothers sacrifice some pay generally for "mother-friendly" features of jobs, in agreement with the theory of compensating differentials, but the opposite is true for African-American mothers.[35]

Women aspiring to or expecting to work in predominantly female jobs are in more heavily female jobs fourteen years later, consistent with gender socialization.[35] For women (but not men), more liberal gender role attitudes predict working in a more sex-typical occupation.[35] For men (but not women), having had either a father or mother who worked in a female occupation predicts working in a more heavily female occupation.[35] On average in 1993, women worked in occupations that were 65 percent female while men worked in occupations that were 27 percent female.[35] 60 percent of men and women in 1980 would have to change occupations to achieve full integration.[36]

By country or political unit

The number of countries or political units world wide is far too great to be covered. Individual countries or currently recognized political units are highlighted.

Iran

Reza Shah was against sex-segregation and he ordered Tehran University to enroll its first woman in 1936.[37][38] Reza Shah forcibly unveiled women and promoted their education in the model of Turkey's Ataturk.

Ruhollah Khomeini favored single-sex schools in his speech at the anniversary of the birth of Fatimah bint Muhammad, saying:

As the religious leaders have influence and power in this country, they will not permit girls to study in the same school with boys. They will not permit women to teach at boys' schools. They will not permit men to teach at girls' schools. They will not allow corruption in this country.[39]

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's practices with respect to women have been referred to as "gender apartheid". [40] According to Rita Henley Jensen, while Saudi Arabian women "have the right to own property, transact business, go to school and be supported by their husbands, while maintaining their separate bank accounts", "Women on Saudi soil must have a husband or male relative as an escort. We are not allowed to drive. When sight-seeing we must wear a full-length black gown known as an abaya. During Saudi Arabia's first elections, held the week before my arrival, women were not permitted to vote or run for office." She states that hotels have no female employees, and that segregated eating areas in hotels and beaches for women have poorer facilities. She also criticizes Saudi law for setting female inheritance at half of what men inherit (see Female inheritance in Islam).[41]

Andrea Dworkin refers to these practices simply as "apartheid":

Seductive mirages of progress notwithstanding, nowhere in the world is apartheid practiced with more cruelty and finality than in Saudi Arabia. Of course, it is women who are locked in and kept out, exiled to invisibility and abject powerlessness within their own country. It is women who are degraded systematically from birth to early death, utterly and totally and without exception deprived of freedom. It is women who are sold into marriage or concubinage, often before puberty; killed if their hymens are not intact on the wedding night; kept confined, ignorant, pregnant, poor, without choice or recourse. It is women who are raped and beaten with full sanction of the law. It is women who cannot own property or work for a living or determine in any way the circumstances of their own lives. It is women who are subject to a despotism that knows no restraint. Women locked out and locked in.[42]

Colbert I. King quotes an American official who accuses Western companies of complicity in Saudi Arabia's sexual apartheid:

One of the (still) untold stories, however, is the cooperation of U.S. and other Western companies in enforcing sexual apartheid in Saudi Arabia. McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and other U.S. firms, for instance, maintain strictly segregated eating zones in their restaurants. The men's sections are typically lavish, comfortable and up to Western standards, whereas the women's or families' sections are often run-down, neglected and, in the case of Starbucks, have no seats. Worse, these firms will bar entrance to Western women who show up without their husbands. My wife and other [U.S. government affiliated] women were regularly forbidden entrance to the local McDonald's unless there was a man with them." [43]

Azar Majedi, of the Centre for Women and Socialism, attributes sexual apartheid in Saudi Arabia to political Islam:

Women are the first victims of political Islam and Islamic terrorist gangs. Sexual apartheid, stoning, compulsory Islamic veil and covering and stripping women of all rights are the fruits of this reactionary and fascistic movement.[44]

According to The Guardian, "[i]n the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sexual apartheid rules", and this sexual apartheid is enforced by mutawa, religious police, though not as strongly in some areas:

The kingdom's sexual apartheid is enforced, in a crude fashion, by the religious police, the mutawa. Thuggish, bigoted and with little real training in Islamic law, they are much feared in some areas but also increasingly ridiculed. In Jeddah - a more laid-back city than Riyadh - they are rarely seen nowadays.[45]

United States

In the period from 1950 to 1980, the participation of women in the United States of America labor force dramatically increased for all age groups and marital status categories.[46] During this period there was also a corresponding decline in sex segregation of the labor force at least during the 1970s.[47] But, there remains a consensus that the labor force within the United States occupational structure is characterized by a high degree of sex segregation.[48]

Among blue-collar workers, for example, industries with the highest concentration of women workers also had the lowest average salaries.[48] "In 1981, assigning to women the age, hours, and educational distributions of men would reduce the degree of segregation by just over 2 percent."[49]

Women's job placements are especially dependent on characteristics of the area in which they live, as women are less willing than men to move to another community, 100 or more miles away, even for a much better job.[50]

Decency

Decency is defined as the quality of being decent; propriety. A decent person, for example, has a suitable conformity to basic moral standards; shows integrity, fairness, or other characteristics associated with moral uprightness. Decency can also mean the measure of an object's worth and value.

Decency is a constant and ubiquitous problem concerning products, services, concepts, claims and imageries that may elicit reactions of distaste, disgust, offense or outrage when mentioned or presented.[51] Decency is more difficult to define and handle because it reflects a large variety of personally subjective, culturally related and historically changing values and attitudes.[51] The types of controls and their shortcomings present dangers for freedom of communication.[51]

Requirements for decency may result in fitting the entity by making it small, deconstructing the information, avoiding encouragement, or limiting the number of defamers and plaintiffs.[52]

Inequality can arise when a person's sex has a worth or value that is of benefit to someone; thereby requiring sex segregation to maintain that value or worth. For example, women's participation in work-related crime continues to be much lower than men's because the sex segregation of jobs offers women fewer opportunities to commit white-collar crime.[53] 90 percent of women convicted of bank embezzlement were in clerical jobs of some kind, and, consequently, their offending tended to involve minor sums of money; but, 40 percent of men convicted of embezzlement were bank officers, by contrast, thus their embezzlement involved larger sums of money.[54]

The increased financial hardship of women relative to men in recent decades is a more likely cause of the increase in women offending and the narrowing of the gender gap in crime.[53] Single mothers, for example, have felt the brunt of gender inequality in earnings and have had a difficult time supporting their families.[53]

Sex segregation of occupations and the devaluation of women's work appears to account for a sizable proportion of the gender gap in wages.[53] Gender inequality in wages means that women who are the sole breadwinners for themselves and their children are worse off economically than single men and couples.[53] In addition, the gap between the incomes of high- and low-wage workers has increased creating greater inequality.[53] These together with increase in the percentage of female-headed households has most likely led to the increase in women offending and the narrowing of the gender gap in crime. Women were more advantaged when married due to the disproportionate wage inequality favoring their husbands.[53]

Sacredness

The property of being sacred defines sacredness, where sacred means set apart by solemn religious ceremony; especially, in a good sense, made holy. Sacredness relates to religion, or to the services of religion. That which is sacred has been designated or exalted by a divine sanction and possesses the highest title to obedience, honor, reverence, or veneration.

When asked to explain the victories of the civil rights movement, activists often reply, "God was on our side."; thereby positioning segregationists clearly across the fence.[55]

Segregation may be unconstitutional and a sin, making segregationists heretics.[55]

Modesty

Having a limited and not overly high opinion of oneself and one's abilities is considered modesty. It can also mean avoiding being sexually suggestive.

Sexual modesty is uncorrelated with a number of sex taboos, but positively correlated with the attempt to confine sexual intercourse within marriage.[56]

The Islamic Republican government of Iran has reemphasized the distinctiveness of male and female roles, the desirability of sex segregation in public places, and the necessity of modesty in dress and demeanor.[57] "The expectation that women appear in public only with their hair and bodies well covered and the existence of a variety of social practices promoting the segregation of the sexes have been the most visible symbols of women's oppression."[57]

Female safety

Males often enjoy the best opportunities and in most sports have achieved the highest standard of performance, but as long as females are excluded from competition with males, one important avenue for improvement - the challenge of better competition - will be blocked.[58] One is often unable to pinpoint exactly why sex discrimination in sport is entrenched, but it is clear that patriarchal notions about masculinity and femininity play a big role.[58] Proponents of sex segregation in sport have been explicit about their fears that integration will upset traditional sex roles:

  1. "You play softer when you play against women,"
  2. "If I were playing hockey I would be very careful about checking a woman into the boards,"
  3. "I think I would refuse to box if a girl stepped into the ring because I do not think I could stand to see the blood rushing out of her nose and ears."[58]

Though these statements appear to express a desirable concern for female safety and the quality of sport, they fly in the face of the fact that in every test case so far, the ability and competitiveness of the female athletes involved were never an issue.[58] "When used to justify the legal perpetuation of sex segregation, these statements are revealed to be the ideological camouflage for male control."[58] "These men are not only alleging that women have different aptitudes for sport than men do and that they are weak, passive, and in need of male protection."[58] "They are also claiming that women should stay that way and should be legally discouraged from changing."[58]

At a deep psychological level, the blurring of sex roles is very threatening to many men.[58] Sharp male-female distinctions reinforce an exploitative sexual division of labor, the underdevelopment of the majority of the population, and the undervaluing of those traditionally "feminine" characteristics essential to human survival and liberation.[58]

Family

One of the primary functions of the family is to produce and reproduce persons - biologically and socially.[59][60]

From the perspective of children, the family is a family of orientation: the family serves to locate children socially and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization.[61]

From the point of view of the parent(s), the family is a family of procreation, the goal of which is to produce, enculturate and socialize children.[62]

However, producing children is not the only function of the family; in societies with a sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two people, is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household.[63][64][65]

Homosexuality

Sex segregation in prisons and constitutional or conservative areas of the Arabian peninsula has been cited as being an impetus to homosexuality from an otherwise heterosexual person. [66][67]

See also

References

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  17. ^ Theology Today - Vol 34, No. 4 - January 1978 - ARTICLE - Women Clergy And The Cultural Order
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