Women Inequalities Essay
The U. S. Constitution underlies the two important principles of freedom and equality among all the citizens of our nation. There is no question that it took decades of fighting, court hearings, and social movements for this country to achieve the level of freedom and equality in which we have today. However, there is still major gender inequality that is occurring in our very own nation.
It sounds crazy that gender inequality occurs in America this day in age, it often gets overlooked and ignored even though we have women activist groups and clear statistics to prove, that the inequality of women is still a major issue in this country.The question at hand is why and how come gender inequality is still evident in America today. There are many theories out there that try to explain the reason why inequality is still happening. The two most arguable theories on this subject are functionalist theories and feminist theories.
The one this essay will focus on is the functionalist theory and how it relates to the inequality of women. By definition the, “functionalist approach sees society as a system of interlinked parts that, when in balance, operate smoothly to produce social solidarity” (PowerPoint 10).This approach relates more to this day in age when you deal with women in America, the workforce, and the government. Inequality of women is portrayed in all three of those aspects and it should be the goal of not only women but men too to help balance the equality of women in this nation. Although men are making stronger efforts, it still remains the women who hold most of the child care responsibilities. A mind boggling statistic that in 1960 women performed 32 hours of housework a week compared to only 4 hours a week by men.Now in the last 40 years the gap has dropped and in the 2000’s women outworked the men 19 to 10 (PowerPoint 10), which is much better from the past but still hints at inequality. A functionalist might use this as an example when clarifying that women take on more sensitive roles, and housework and children play a major factor into it.
Children especially, since women seem to be enrolled more emotionally they like to provide a sense of care and security, which would make them better “house workers” then men.However, this doesn’t suggest that women should be the ones to be the ‘house-sitters’ while men hold more high-status responsibilities. A common cop out is for people to bring up the fact that since women are more expressive in role and character that they fit better watching the kids at home or doing housework, even so by placing them into lower echelon jobs. When it comes to women in the workforce there is no question that a gap exists between male workers and female workers. The facts show that gaps exist between wages, roles, jobs, and industries.If you were to compare the wages of full time working men to full time working women you would notice women make considerably a lot less than men. In a median weekly wage, women only earn about 81% of the median weekly wage of males, reports Trust Woman website.
That’s basically 20% less than men, inequality is obvious. If we look at managerial roles, although the misconception is that women are making progress in achieving managerial roles, the percentage of female managers has only increased 3% over the past twenty years sitting unfortunately at only 38% (Trust).Some people might believe that 38% is not as bad as it seems, not when you consider women make up a majority of the U.
S. population and as of 2010 half of the workforce. The problem isn’t getting women into the workforce, because they are already there, the inequality is the fact that they hold jobs that are lower paid, lower ranked, and low respected. Coming across woman CEO’s and presidents are easier to come by now more than ever but they still lack in numbers. As of 2011 only twelve women ran a Fortune 500 company, only twelve that’s outrageous (Trust).The aim of this issue isn’t to force women into these higher roles, but to bring the awareness that women aren’t statistically relevant in equality in comparison to higher categorized industries. Speaking of industries such as science and engineering, women are outnumbered by an astronomical 73% to 23% male to female workforce.
In a case like this a functionalist may argue that the gap is due to women and male specializing in different aspects of work. The fields of science and engineering may not attract many women to that sector of the workforce which may explain such a large gap.However, the gap in managerial positions and higher status jobs still reflects the inequality women are facing in the workforce. The most obvious case of inequality of women that occurs in America is the inequality of women in the government. Even though this is one of the highest fields in the country, it seems to get overshadowed for some reason by the other inequalities.
Everyone knows that the U. S. has yet to have a female president – and only one African American – even though we’ve been electing presidents for roughly 250 years. Women didn’t play a role in government for a long period of time.
It wasn’t until April 18, 1920, when women were first granted the right to vote in America. It took decades of social movements, rallies, and women’s civil rights activists to get the 19th amendment passed and ratified into the constitution. In our government today there are women present, in minute proportions. In Congress today, women hold 92 seats in the House of Representatives and only 12 seats in the Senate (Trust). That’s only 19% of the seats, which is ironically the same percentage of the difference between the weekly median wages between men and women. In the judicial branch of government women inequalities appear too.In 2010 only 23% of federal judgeships were women and at 27% was the number of women in state judgeships. To make it worst in its history of the Supreme Court only four female justices have held a seat and three of them are currently serving.
A government dominantly driven by males doesn’t bring equality to the country if you consider balance of gender in government. This could allow males in government to use their numbers to their advantage almost not giving women a chance. If we look back at the definition of functionalism it talks about how it sees society as a system of interlinked parts, and once in balance they produce solidarity.
If we look at our government lately, it is obvious that it hasn’t been operating smoothly. This could be because of the unbalanced women to men ratio in parliament and other government offices. Perhaps balance and equality of gender in government would cause the balance that the interlinked parts need to run smoothly and produce unity in the states. On a side note, it mustn’t go unnoticed that the inequality of women is happening worldwide. In our country the inequalities are far from different than other countries especially when you look into the second and third world countries in parts of India, Africa, and South America.
In many Middle East countries women don’t have simple rights such as the right to drive, the right to divorce, and in some cases the right to travel. Let’s not forget harsh restrictions against clothing attire, in most cases women must be covered from head to toe showing nothing but their eyes. In the CQ Researcher on Women and Human Rights it states that: Human rights experts say that some of the most egregious acts have occurred in countries that have adopted Islamic law, or Shari’a, as the basis of their judicial systems.The most blatant violations of women’s rights under Islamic law are being committed by the militant Taliban movement, which has gained control over most of Afghanistan in that country’s ongoing civil war. Afghan women are held as virtual prisoners in their homes and subjected to severe punishment and even death for such minor offenses as appearing outside unescorted by a close male relative (CQ).
In Afghanistan it is common for girls to be taken out of school by the third grade, or in some cases when they start to reach puberty.Although enrollment is increasing in Afghanistan, the number of girls being educated through school is still low. These women have no place to learn because female teachers are very scarce to come by. With only 18% of women the ages 15-24 that are capable of reading in this country it screams out gender inequality aimed at women (Listverse). Another inequality that is spread worldwide is women with unfair rights when it comes to domestic violence. America is coming to its senses and people are beginning to make domestic abuse a public importance, but in other countries around the world it sadly goes unnoticed.Some governments don’t even consider it worthy of court because they feel it is a private matter only.
Bruised, battered and beaten women are searching for equality and they constantly are being shut down and denied. How are women supposed to function through everyday life if they don’t even feel safe in their own homes? While it is comforting to know that in America women have as many natural rights and freedoms as me do, there still is a problem that society must fix. Women, by law, may be said to be equal but the way our society is set up there are clear inequalities that women are facing every day.The facts and numbers are there, it is more than evident that women at home, in the workforce, and in Government are not equally represented compared to men. The answer is not to just give these higher ranking and more respected occupations/responsibilities to women, but to provide more fair opportunities for women to achieve such high accolades. Looking through the past half a century America has made remarkable strides to get women out there and to express themselves for who they are. It’s a noteworthy transformation but it shouldn’t stop anytime soon.The more and more balance this country gets with women and men in all sectors of society will create a more balanced and smoothly operating system like the functionalist theory advises.
Women in America and women worldwide are fighting for their equality and by seeing the amazing fight and conversion that they’ve had throughout history it wouldn’t be a surprise at all that many countries will soon achieve actual gender equality.Bibliography1. Cooper, M. H. (1999, April 30). Women and human rights. CQ Researcher, 9, 353-376. Retrieved from http://library.
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