It sounds absurd but in 2015, there still are places where having 2 x chromosomes, somehow makes you 'less of a person'. While it may seem like many women have it all, there is still a ton of sexism floating around.
Whether it's from the CEO of Microsoft suggesting that women shouldn't advocate for a raise, but should leave it to 'the system' to give them one. Or in Kazakhstan, where women are denied the right to choose their own underwear, women are still discriminated against everyday.
You may be familiar with some of the following 15 examples; but you will also find out a few more.
15 Women 'Forbidden' from Attending U.S. vs. Iran Volleyball Game
The world was shocked when Ghoncheh Ghavami was arrested for trying to enter a stadium to watch a volleyball match in Iran. The ensuing media frenzy shone a spotlight on Iran's poor record of women's rights.
With her release five months later, we all thought such bans would be lifted. The government even pledged to loosen restrictions on women attending sports events. But on June 19th 2015, a group of women were banned from watching the volleyball game between Iran and the U.S. In response to protests by conservative groups, officials had to 'ban' women from attending the game.
14 No voting in Vatican City
Did you know that until the early 1980s, women living in the Vatican City couldn't open bank accounts? Till now, female visitors have to adhere to rules that are best described as draconian. When visiting the "smallest state in the world". If you're gonna be visiting sights in the Holy See, you can't wear a black skirt that shows your knees, tops must be mid or long sleeved, plus minimal makeup.
Even these restrictions are passable compared to the fact that women are unable to vote in the Vatican. Of the 1,000 residents of Vatican City, only 30 women have Vatican City citizenship, but they still can't vote.
13 To be a priest in a Catholic church
Still on the Catholic Church, their restrictions extend way beyond Vatican City. An example is Canon 1024 of the Roman Catholic Church, that says “A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.” In case anyone wanted to contravene this law, the Roman Catholic Church decreed that any ordination of a woman would result in automatic excommunication. The priest would lose any salary, retirement benefits, or jobs that they may have received from the Church.
It's a good thing some women decided standing up for what is right is worth more than money. Over time, the law has been challenged by many different dissent groups. The Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Women's Ordination Worldwide, Catholic Women's Ordination etc, have damned the consequences and gone on to ordain people who were passed by the seminary program.
12 Entering the sumo ring competition in Japan
Sumo wrestling has its roots deep in Japanese culture and is one of their most popular sports. Even with a history mired in controversies, the level of sexism displayed in the sport is still shocking.
Women are excluded from competing in the sport and participating in the ceremonies. They can't even enter a sumo wrestling ring. In 2000, even the female Governor of Osaka, Fusae Ohta, was prevented from entering the ring to present a prize to the tournament winner. The Sumo Organization claims it's against tradition to allow women in the ring, and it would be a dishonor to the ancestors to change it.
11 Driving in Saudi Arabia
Visitors to Saudi Arabia are wowed by the beauty of the region, the sights, landmarks, paragliding in the desert etc. But under the compulsory niqab, the country's women are subjected to some of the most appalling conditions ever.
Saudi Arabia combines some of the harshest restrictions from some of the countries we've seen so far. Like the Vatican City, women are also banned from voting. Like Iran, they can't watch sports events in stadiums. In Saudi Arabia, a female must always be accompanied by a male relative. The average Saudi woman cannot do anything without the consent of her male guardian.
Women are banned from driving with one of the reasons being 'it may lead to overcrowding the streets' and 'many young men may be deprived of the opportunity to drive!'
10 Women in Saudi Arabia not allowed to attend a women's conference
Women's rights conference. Women's rights march. Women's rights protest. Three places you would expect to find....well...women. It's about them, so they should be represented, right?
Wrong! Well, not in Saudi Arabia.
A 2014 women’s rights conference in Saudi Arabia was totally packed with attendees. Papers reported it was one of the biggest women’s rights conferences in the Arab world. However, there were NO women in attendance, due to the country's Sharia Law.
9 Chinese universities and certain subjects
While some countries are making stride to correct the imbalance in representation in STEM fields, others seem to be going in the opposite direction. But in China, females are steered in the opposite direction like towards jobs in hospitality, beauty or cuisine.
At Beijing's People's Police University, there is a strict 10% admission quota for girls. China's Dalian Maritime University, doesn't allow women study naval Engineering, because “...spending months on board a ship would be tough for women to endure...” And at the China Mining and Technology University, there is one clear entrance requirement; men only.
8 Compete in the World "Call of Duty" championships
First off, the fact that an industry that isn't even real is male-dominated, is pretty weird. But the gender bias in competitive gaming is silly as a report by the UK Guardian showed that 52% of gamers in the UK are women. And with many girls creating careers by gaming on Youtube, you wonder why they are not allowed to compete in tournaments, like the boys?
With so many women playing, you'd expect more women on teams or even all-female teams, but that's not the deal. At the World Call of Duty Championships in March, there were no women in the 32 teams that were competing.
In a classic case of gender stereotyping, female gamers that attend competitions are assumed to be groupies. But girls just want to play like everyone else, and get a chance to win the $1 million cash prize up for grabs.
7 Make it through the Army Rangers training
Where does it say only guys should be proud to serve their country? Like men, women should be given the chance to earn and wear a Rangers tab. The 61-day combat and leadership course has been dubbed the "toughest combat course in the world" and has been a male-only preserve for decades.
While it's no walk in the park (less than 3% of the Army has successfully completed it), women would like the chance to show their mettle too. And in one of the few victories on this list, women have finally been allowed into the Rangers School.
Let's show that we have the mental fortitude and emotional strength required to earn the Rangers tab.
6 No women allowed to a gynecology conference in Jerusalem
In April, a women's health event was held in Jerusalem, but the main beneficiaries, women were banned from attending. The gynecological conference was originally planned for doctors of both sexes, but the Ultra Orthodox rabbis refused to allow women participate.
Rather than scrap the learning opportunity offered by the conference, the HMO in charge had to go ahead and host it with no women in attendance.
5 In the U.S., female soldiers are not allowed in combat units.
In 1948, the United States Army drew up the The Women's Armed Services Integration Act; which basically excluded women from combat positions. In 1993, the law changed to allow women to enter positions in military aviation.
In 2013, the Combat Exclusion Policy was lifted, allowing women to serve in combat. But there is still a degree of sexism present, as naysayers continue to find arguments as to why they shouldn't be allowed to fight on the frontline. They claim the presence of women would destabilize unit cohesion and question whether women will not be held to the same standards as men in combat roles.
4 Shropshire’s (UK) top bowling league only open to male players
With even the Royal & Ancient Golf club shedding its centuries-old attitude to women, one would assume sport is getting its act together. But, apparently, not if you are a bowler in Shropshire.
In January, the Shropshire Premier Bowling League (SPBL), voted to keep in place the 21-year old rule that banned women from playing in the finals. President of the SPBL, Mike Hinton, was quoted as saying “...female players are not as good as men...” He went on to reiterate that “...he will be fighting vehemently to keep women out ...”
This ban led to Burway Bowling Club, having to drop their star bowler, Claire Williams; who had helped them move up in the lawn bowls division last year.
3 No women in flats at the Cannes Film Festival!
Society's perception of what's beautiful has been criticized on social media with hashtags celebrating everything from size to skin color to disabilities.
Cut to the red carpet at the Cannes film festival this year, where women were reportedly turned away for going against the unspoken fashion code. A group of elderly women, including wife of director Asif Kapadia, were denied entry to the screening of a movie.
Their crime? Not wearing heels.
Considering the fact that the event could involve hours on your feet, who would want to be stuck in stilettos all day. Even Emily Blunt said she'd rather turn up in a pair of flats than in heels.
A Cannes spokesperson was quick to issue a statement denying any restrictions in place, but it seems the heels with dress rule seems to be an unspoken one.
2 BBC execs ban children's TV presenters from wearing red lipstick
In a case of political correctness gone bonkers, BBC put a ban on its female children's TV presenters. It had nothing to do with low cut tops or foul language, female presenters were advised to stop wearing red lipstick.
The BBC claimed it sent the wrong message to young girls. Apparently, the BBC didn't want presenters looking 'too sexy' and becoming bad role models for the viewers.
Since when did wearing lipstick make you a bad role model?
1 Swim 1,500 meters of freestyle in the Olympics
We've seen examples of in-your-face sexism and more thinly veiled examples, but sports on a global level should be a level playing field, right?
Not at the Olympics.
When the 800 meter freestyle event was added to the women’s Olympic program in 1968, many cheered for full equality. It meant they were no longer considered 'too delicate' to swim such a long distance, like the men.
But since then nothing much has changed. Calls to add a 1,500 meter race for women have been turned down or ignored. Like many of the reasons used to hold women back, its simply 'how it has been done for so long'.