- 1: prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women
- 2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex
Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person's gender. Sexist attitudes may stem from traditional stereotypes of gender roles,[full citation needed] and may include the belief that a person of one sex is intrinsically superior to a person of the other. A job applicant may face discriminatory hiring practices, or (if hired) receive unequal compensation or treatment compared to that of their opposite-sex peers. Extreme sexism may foster sexual harassment, rape and other forms of sexual violence.
Until the 20th century U.S. and English law observed the system of coverture, where "by marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law; that is the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage". U.S. women were not legally defined as "persons" until 1875 (Minor v Happersett, 88 U.S. 162).
In many countries, women still lose significant legal rights at marriage. For example, Yemeni marriage regulations state that a wife must obey her husband and must not leave home without his permission.
In Iraq husbands have a legal right to "punish" their wives. The criminal code states at Paragraph 41 that there is no crime if an act is committed while exercising a legal right; examples of legal rights include: "The punishment of a wife by her husband, the disciplining by parents and teachers of children under their authority within certain limits prescribed by law or by custom".