The issue of gender has become more and more challenging in modern times with the numbers rallying behind the girl child who has to fight for equal representation in the society, whereas the boy child receives more benefits than he bargained for in any institution or field. This scenario is prevalent in most parts of the world we live. The burden of adversities carried by men and women are profoundly unequal, and so are the rewards for both genders, services rendered by women take a lesser reward than the same services handed down by men. In retrospect, the issue of gender inequality is a worldwide phenomenon with different variations in every nation and distinct social groups, but it is a collection of shared and interlinked problems.
There are various ways to categorize the different modes of gender inequality experienced throughout the world. The mortality difference involves life and death, an observation in the northern part of Africa and the Asian continent revealed that women had a higher death rate than men did where health care and nutrition had a bias setup in the society. Natality inequality explains the reason behind a male dominated society whereby particular preference for the boy child over the girl child is practiced, this type of gender bias begins to manifest itself when the parents anticipate for a boy rather than a girl. Some countries allow the practice of sex selective abortion whereby couples choose to terminate the fetus if they disapprove of the sex. There is Basic/Facility inequality that involves excluding a specific gender from accessing basic services such as education and sports participation; in this case, countries such as the Saudi Arabia prohibit women from driving vehicles (Prejudice and Discrimination, 2010). Opportunity inequality involves seclusion of a particular gender when there are fewer resources, in this case, higher education in some countries is reserved for the boy child first then the girls receive fewer slots. There is professional inequality where accessing a job opportunity can be very problematic for the girl child. Ownership bias, in this case, property acquisition or division tends to bias on the girls. Lastly, the household inequality, this is very prevalent in family homes whereby many chores are left for the girl child.
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Due to the different variations in gender inequality, it is almost impossible to come up with a single solution to the problem as it continually evolves in the society in that a particular environment can experience a series of different inequalities within a prolonged period. I have to admit that gender inequality rarely favors the girl’s child, for this fact to be reversed; women have to take a stand in acknowledging that their lack of cohesion and economic empowerment as women is among the leading causes of this social problem. Education has to be mandatory for both genders as this is where the rift of inequality begins. I firmly believe that if their parents, peers, and guardians treat both sexes equally from the moment they start learning, a significant impact could be much visible in the later generations. Children are not born with a bias point of looking at the world and their fellow beings this bias is slowly instilled subconsciously through the various stages of growing up, and the institutionalized behavior is learned and put to practice.
The concept of stratification argues that throughout history men always have and continue to possess more physical and social power and status compared to women, and more so in the public arena (Sen, 2001). Men are more aggressive and violent, that is why they fight wars and do the toughest and hardest of jobs. This kind of stratification in the form of classes begins at an early age whereby the boy child has the pressure from parents and the society to keep up a masculine stature (Klasen, & Lamanna, 2009). Women, on the other hand, are associated with home building and taking care of the family, and this is not associated with prestige in the society (Social Stratification & Gender, 2006). This set expectations lead to males holding top positions in any institution and thus end up defining community.
The concept of sexism is the most sensitive concept according to my judgment for the argument made is that man is superior to woman. This view is a direct discrimination against women and carries adverse consequences for the ones who have had to experience it in person for it prevents women from pursuing careers and fields that are perceived as male dominated or less feminine (Klasen, & Lamanna, 2009). Sexism has the negative impact of lowering women’s self-esteem causing them to feel inferior to men, this inferiority complex slowly transpires through generations (Sen, 2001). Sexism as observed in the modern world whereby researchers have found that men’s resume is rated higher than that of women. Nevertheless, the cycle of sexism is slowly changing in the digital age we live in, and more women are becoming empowered to make a difference in the world regardless of the social stigma.
The concept of ethnicity as examined by sociologists argues that prejudice against race and ethnicity is rooted in the subconscious attitudes of an individual, these emotions result in projections of feelings of inadequacy that are targeted at a particular group (Sen, 2001). The most affected individuals are minority women such as the African American woman. Cases of such prejudice have occurred in the past where Jews were subjected to concentration camps in Germany and murdered in the millions all in the name of “racial purity.”
The concept of gentrification suggests that with the rise of urban development in a previously rural environment in a short period causes a rift in the inhabitants who are of the middle class and upper middle-class homeowners, rarely do the people interact more so because of the status difference. Women who were unemployed seek odd jobs from the middle-class influx who in turn have minimal experience distinguishing how to treat the locals or as employees (Sen, 2001). The result is a developed inferiority complex that forms among the locals who see the newcomer as a better person in the society thus pitting himself as the lesser person.
The feminist theory is a collective view of the forces that perpetuate inequality, injustice, and oppression against women in the society and seeks to enable an individual to understand how changes can lessen the gender imbalances (Feminist Theory, 2007). This theory, in particular, has had a variety of explanations the likes of Marxist/Social feminism, Cultural feminism, Liberal feminism, and Radical Feminism. The ideology of the theories is based on oppression and focuses on the girl child in particular. The theory had focused on ensuring that the girl/woman experiences equal opportunities in life just as the man/boy child unlike in historical times when women and girls were excluded from theories and studies such as social theory and social science (Topics & Inequality, 2015). Looking at cultural feminists who view values associated with femininity and womanhood as why both genders experience the social world differently. The sense here is the biological make of both sexes differ thus equity rather than equality here should be factored in; take an example of maternity leave where a mother goes for weeks some to nurse a newborn. Not many employers would be interested in paying labor that is unaccounted for. This legislation should also factor in a while considering such scenarios and a mandatory paid leave put to effect (Prejudice and Discrimination, 2010).
Feminism theory guides us in understanding that there are the natural differences between genders that are permanent, and there are the gender inequalities that are societal, which they lead to oppression of one gender against the other. The theory enlightens us on the various ways we can become a force of change towards these inequalities that end up affecting the whole society negatively and shines a light on the benefits of social equality.
- Feminist Theory. (2007). What is Feminist Theory?. ThoughtCo.
- Klasen, S., & Lamanna, F. (2009). The impact of gender inequality in education and employment on economic growth in developing Countries: Updates and extensions.
- Prejudice and Discrimination. (2010). Prejudice and Discrimination.
- Sen, A. (2001). The many faces of gender inequality.
- Social Stratification and Gender. (2006). Social Stratification and Gender.
- Topics, R., & Inequality, F. (2015). Feminist Theories of Gender Inequality Research Paper.