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Gender Equality

2022-04-07 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文



Gender equality is of great importance in the modern society. Usually, the more developed a country or a region is, the higher degree of gender equality there exists accordingly. This explains why the northern European countries have both the top degree of development and gender equality at the same time. There are two aspects of gender equality. Firstly, gender equality lies in social institution, laws and regulations. Equal laws should be established that promote the rights of both genders. The modern society has achieved this long ago. Secondly, gender equality also lies in people’s ideology and in the social norms. This is then linked directly to the cultural practices and education. The US society is considered a more masculine society. Therefore, the society needs more voices supporting the equal rights of women. Meanwhile, being excessively feminist isn’t constructive for gender equality, either. After all, there should be a balance in everything to be sustainable, shouldn’t there? This essay argues that gender equality is still a major issue of the US society, especially in gender roles, career opportunities, and power relations.

The gender roles are the factor in gender equality that is the most closely linked to culture and social norms. Women do not obtain equal opportunities mainly because they are trapped in their set gender roles in a masculine society. In ancient times, women may not even realize such inequality because being subordinate to men was all they knew about. The modernization of gender roles is inseparable from the equality in education. As women become educated, they began to realize all the lost opportunities simply because of their gender. Such realization has been the driving factor of women liberation since the 1970s. In the speech “I want a wife”, Judy Brady spoke ironically from the female perspective how distorted and unfair traditional gender relations were against women. A clear double standard is revealing about how different genders are treated in a marriage. For example: “I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a wife’s duties. But I want a wife who will listen to me when I feel the need to explain a rather difficult point (Brady 391).” This shows that the wives in a typical American family back in the 1970s were not respected as equals to their husbands. Instead, they were treated like servants, chefs, laundry ladies, baby sitters, etc. Although this situation has greatly improved since the 1970s, the share of household chores is still tilting more towards the wives.

This naturally leads to the question of how to change the situation and restore the gender roles to a more balanced position. In addition to education mentioned above, workplace equality is the secondary most important way. Even in the current US society as well as most developed countries, it is an established fact that women suffer from gender discrimination in the workplace. This discrimination is best reflected from the salary they receive. Women “get paid 79 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men (Arends 378).” There are many examples supporting this result. For instance, female Hollywood stars are paid much less than male stars for starring in the same leading role. While some may argue that there are other factors that can influence the salary of actors, gender discrimination in payment is not limited in the entertainment industry. In the male dominated workplace, women need to work extra hard to get to the same positions as men are in. In the article “The Idea of the ‘Gender Pay Gap’ is Mostly Bogus” by Brett Arends, the author claims that massive scale gender discrimination in terms of salary is mainly an illusion. Arends believes that the 21% gap is highly overrated, while providing his “adjustment” methods. One of the “adjustment” he makes is based on height. Since there are studies that show taller people are more likely to receive better salaries than shorter people, the different salaries between genders are justified by their height. This is completely illogical considering that more women are shorter than men.


Finally, there is also the problem of gender relations that contribute to gender inequality. Since it has been the tradition and cultural norm for men to assume the leadership and protector roles, women are often placed in the subordinate positions in gender relations. This extends beyond the family and can be applied to basically all interactions between men and women. Inspired by the book “Men Explain Things to Me” by Rebecca Solnit, the term “Mansplaining” was created in 2014. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mansplaining refers to “explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing (McClintock 387).” Mansplaining is harmful to gender equality because it reinforces the dominant position of men and the stereotyping against women. For example, women are often generalized as terrible drivers, bad at math and physics, etc. This assumption makes men think that they can talk down to women under any circumstances, even if the women they talk to have much more expertise on the issue than them do. The popularity of the book and the term, especially among women, shows that mansplaining is such a widespread gender phenomena that it is relatable to most females in the society. In order to reduce mansplaining in the future, positive, intelligent, independent women’s images should be promoted more in the society.

Despite the harms of mansplaining, emphasizing on it too much is problematic as well. One of the major problem of the mansplaining theory is that it generalizes men just as women are generalized sometimes. Mansplaining behavior is related to ignorance, blind arrogance, sexism, and sometimes the lack of expertise. However, not all men are like this. Sometimes they explain things purely based on good will. It is unfair to categorize them all as mansplaining (McClintock 388). Moreover, in a discussion or conversation between men and women, it is more common for women to assume the roles of conversation facilitators (McClintock 387). They are considered more amiable, smile more often, and seem more agreeable. These behaviors may not suggest that their opinions are oppressed by men. It is because some women are naturally more sensitive and have higher EQ. Therefore, the role of women to bring harmony to the conversation is quite important. As long as they are not interrupted more often than anyone should, and as long as both men and women are able to freely express their opinions in communication, mansplaining should not be used to victimize all women and criticize all men.

In conclusion, gender inequality remains a major problem in the US society, especially in terms of gender roles, career opportunities, and gender power relations. In the past, gender roles were the major obstacle for women to obtain fair social opportunities. In recent years, gender roles in society has been greatly improved and balanced with equality in education. However, women are still suffering from inequalities of salary and power relations. In the long term, this can be changed by promoting more diversified female and male role models in the society. Meanwhile, natural gender characteristics and individual differences must be respected. Excessive emphasis on inequality is only going to victimize women and criticize men, contributing to more gender inequalities.



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