Essay/Term paper: Gender inequality
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The issue of gender inequality is one which has been publicly
reverberating through society for decades. The problem of inequality in
employment being one of the most pressing issues today. In order to examine
this situation one must try to get to the root of the problem and must
understand the sociological factors that cause women to have a much more
difficult time getting the same benefits, wages, and job opportunities as their
male counterparts. The society in which we live has been shaped historically by
males. The policy-makers have consistently been male and therefore it is not
surprising that our society reflects those biases which exist as a result of
this male-domination. It is important to examine all facets of this problem, but
in order to fully tackle the issue one must recognize that this inequality in
the workforce is rooted in what shapes future employees and employers--
education. This paper will examine the inequalities in policy, actual teaching
situations, admission to post-secondary institutions, hiring, and job benefits
and wages. It will also tackle what is being done to solve this problem and what
can be done to remedy the situation.
The late 1960s brought on the first real indication that feminist groups
were concerned with the education system in North America. The focus of these
feminist groups captured the attention of teachers, parents, and students. At
first the evidence for inequality in schooling was based on no more than
specific case studies and anecdotal references to support their claims but as
more people began to show concern for the situation, more conclusive research
was done to show that the claims of inequality were in fact valid and definitely
indicated a problem with the way that schools were educating the future adults
of society. One of the problems which became apparent was the fact that the
policy-makers set a curriculum which, as shown specifically through textbooks,
was sexist and for the most part still is.
Textbooks are one of the most important tools used in educating students
whether they are elementary school storybooks or university medical textbooks.
It is therefore no surprise that these books are some of the most crucial
information sources that a student has throughout their schooling. Many studies
have been done examining the contents of these books to reveal the amount of
sexism displayed in these educational tools. The results clearly show that
gender inequality definitely runs rampant in textbooks some of the sexism subtle
and some overt. To begin with, it is apparent that historical texts show a
distorted view of women by portraying them unfairly and inaccurately and
neglecting to mention important female figures, instead opting to describe their
sometimes less influential male counterparts. Elementary and secondary school
textbooks are also guilty of gender bias.
In elementary and secondary school textbooks, sexism takes many forms.
Boys predominate in stories for children; they outnumber girls 5 to 2. When
girls are present in texts, they are almost always younger than the boys they
are interacting with, which thus makes them foils for the boys' greater
experience and knowledge-- a situation commonly referred to as the "ninny
sister syndrome.' Girls are shown to be far more passive than are boys and to
engage in fewer activities. In fact, sometimes grown women are portrayed who
rely on small boys (often their young sons) to help them out of difficulty.
(Fishel and Pottker 1977. p. 8)
Surprisingly it is not only these hidden forms of sexism that appear in
One study found sixty-five stories that openly belittled girls (two were
found that belittled boys). Another study pointed out an instance where Mark, of
the Harper & Row "Mark and Janet' series, states: "Just look at her. She is just
like a girl. She gives up.' Male characters said, in another story, "We much
prefer to work with men.' This type of material on the treatment of girls would
seem to have little social or educational value, and its widespread use is
difficult to understand. (ibid, p.8)
In the long run, the ideas put in students heads through textbooks,
perhaps through the lack of female role models, can affect the choices they make
in the future with regards to employment.
Actual teaching situations are also prone to sexism. For the most part
teachers do not try to be sexist but, for sociological reasons, can not help it.
For the sake of this paper, it will be assumed that these situations occur
mostly in co-educational schools, but single sex schools are in no way immune to
the same problems. A perfect example of society's male-dominance interfering in
education unintentionally is when teachers assign projects to their students.
The teachers may hand out lists of acceptable topics ranging, in a history class
for example, from fashion to transportation. The teachers then give the students
a choice as to which topic they would like to do the project on. The underlying
problem with this is that girls tend to choose what could be considered more
"feminine" topics while the boys will choose the more "masculine" ones. "Offered
to the pupils as free choice, such selections are self-perpetuating, leading to
the expected choices and amplifying any differences there may have been in
attitudes." (Marland 1983, p. 152) The reason for this could be that society,
through the media and other modes of communication, has pre-conceived notions as
to what issues are "male", "female", or unisex.
Another example of how females are prone to gender inequality in the
classroom is during class discussion and also what the teacher decides to talk
about in the class. Classroom behaviour is a major focal point for those who
identify examples of inequality. There are many differences in the way that
females and males present themselves at school. It is apparent that in classroom
situations males talk more, interrupt more, they define the topic, and women
tend to support them. It is generally believed in our society that this is the
proper way to act in classroom situations, that males have it "right" and
females don't, they are just "pushovers" and don't have enough confidence. This,
however is a big assumption to make. Some research has been done in this field
that could, however, begin to refute this stereotype. It is frequently assumed
that males use language which is forceful confident and masterful (all values
which are regarded as positive). Females on the other hand, it is assumed, use
language that is more hesitant, qualified, and tentative. One can look at the
example of the use of tag questions, which are statements with questions tagged
onto the end such as "I'm going to the store, all right?" It is obvious that if
the above assumptions about the use of language were true, this hesitant, asking
for approval type of question would be more frequently used by women. ". . .
studies were carried out to determine whether women used more tag questions than
men. It was found that they did not. Betty Lou Dubois and Isabel Crouch (1975)
found that men used more tag questions than women." (ibid p. 100) The end of
high school brings about more obstacles for women on the way to achieving
equality in the workplace. One of the most important steps in achieving a high
paying, high status job is post-secondary education. It is apparent that even
today women are being encouraged to follow certain educational paths. This is
shown very simply by the fact that even here at Queen's University, men vastly
outnumber women as both students and faculty members in such programs as Applied
Science, while women greatly outnumber men in the programs of nursing and
concurrent education. Women have historically been encouraged to enter into what
could be considered "caring professions" such as nursing, teaching, and social
work. This is shown very crudely in the book Careers for Women in Canada which
was published in 1946 and written by a woman. The book devotes almost 200 pages
to pursuing careers in such fields as catering, sewing, being a secretary,
interior decorating, the arts, teaching, and nursing while it only allocates 30
pages to medicine, law, dentistry, engineering, optometry, and more combined.
The following quote clearly illustrates the beliefs of the more liberal people
of that time. "Some women have specialized in surgery. There can be no doubt but
that a capable woman may operate very successfully on women and children, though
it is doubtful whether a man would call in the services of a female surgeon
except in an emergency. (Carriere 1946, p. 234) Although much has improved since
the 1940s, the enrollment numbers in university programs clearly indicate that
women still have a long way to go before gender is not an issue. After choosing
a career path, women enter the workplace with a disadvantage. They have the same
financial responsibilities as men with regards to supporting families and
themselves and much of the time they have an even heavier burden because there
are many women in today's society who are single mothers. Given that there is no
question that the need for money is identical it can, therefore, be concluded
that there is a major problem with the wage structure in today's jobs. The wage
gap clearly shows that society as a whole puts more value on the work of males
than on the same work done by females. The facts that have been displayed above
showing that education is itself a sexist institution perhaps explain why there
is this inequality once schooling is finished. The fact that textbooks show
males as being more successful than females, that teachers set assignments which
reinforce gender stereotypes and sex roles, the fact that "masculine" behaviour
is reinforced while "feminine" behaviour is condemned, and the fact that women
are encouraged to choose certain career paths all validate the claim that the
gender inequality in employment situations can be directly related to the way
that children are educated.
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The world is all yours. You are free to make your own choices, live a life as you wish, have a nice education and well-paid job, travel safely around the globe, and have the right to express your opinion freely. Your life if full of possibilities and it feels like now is the best moment to be alive. All these points are surely true if you were born an HWHM - healthy white heterosexual male.
If you take a moment to think about this phrase at least in the historical and social contexts, it stops sounding feministic and starts turning into the ugly reality of today. Who has an opportunity to get a better education and later take most of good jobs? Who is more likely to have a great political career or be a successful businessperson? Who is taken more seriously and treated more fairly in the society? The answer to all of these questions is, once again, an HWHM.
In a modern patriarchal world, we can read a lot of gender equality articles, which state that there is the supreme group of people who get most of advantages and have more freedom than any other existing class. However, it has not always been like that, and, as the world is undergoing changes every day, it will not always be. People of other genders, races, and sexual orientations are not anyhow worse than HWHMs; thus, equal rights in every sphere of life are the goal that can and should be achieved. The comprehension of discrimination and stereotypes, their origin, development, and ways their influence on our minds can be brought to naught is one of the best methods that can be used to create healthy conditions for every human being to live, prosper, and fulfill own dreams through desired means.
This is one of the numerous things women and gender studies course teaches. Many people who do not go deep into research, think that this subject is for feminists who are into learning everything about feminism, poverty, and the oppression of women, and writing numerous articles on gender equality. Moreover, such people assume that this study teaches to hate men when it is actually about the global understanding of human beings' diversity, the way they perceive the world and are being perceived by other individuals. It also shows how the society functions, how and why stereotypes are formed, and explains reasons certain people are considered more privileged than others. More than that, women and gender studies course helps to identify oneself not within such limited terms as gender or class, but as a unique individual who has the right to think, act, and feel in the own special way. Yes, women and gender studies definitely focus on females, their lives, and roles in the mondial community. However, the same amount of attention is given to other 'minority groups', which are usually recognized by the factors they are discriminated by.
The discipline looks at other studies in a completely new and critical way. People rarely think that what we know about some subjects is not objective at all, as we see things from the biased viewpoints of authors who have been writing books for school, college, and university students for decades. For example, history books rarely include the information about the role of women during wars. They were nurses, protectors, and even fighters who were taking part in the military actions together with men; a great number of women died, suffered, accomplished memorable feats, and this information is barely taken into account by many historians and book-writers.
Hence, if you are taking a women and gender studies course, especially in the US, UK, or Canada, where this discipline flourishes the most, you are a lucky student who has an opportunity to see the real state of things in the modern world, analyze the past and future events critically, and get inspired to make some real changes in own life for better. Even though it sounds exciting, women and gender studies is an academic discipline with its own requirements, which means you will have to prepare written works on different topics for it. The study is very interesting, but you may have no time or desire to focus on it, or there can be other obstacles standing on your way to writing essays about gender discrimination. Fortunately, you do not need to force yourself to write, as there is a professional helper who will gladly do it for you. Pro-Papers.com is a women and gender studies custom term paper writing service writing service that works online 24/7 to take care of assignments on different topics and of different lengths. Hence, it is your best choice if you need a high-quality essay fast and for a very moderate price.
As women and gender studies covers thousands of interesting questions, problems, and discussions, the majority of available topics can turn it into a great case study on gender equality. However, due to such variety of areas to cover, the topic choice is a complicated process and you will definitely struggle to pick only one from all ideas you like. Whether you have not thought about the topic yet or cannot make a final decision, this list will help to overview a few excellent options and make a right choice for your gender equality essay.
- Gender and sexuality.
The society has been dividing people into two categories of masculine and feminine for years, and the realization that there are far more gender categories has got to our minds just recently causing a lot of hot discussions. Due to religious, cultural, and other believes, many people cannot accept the fact that there are numerous non-binary gender individuals, the ones that do not fall within generally accepted heterosexual standards. However, it is well known that people tend to fear what they do not understand, and, therefore, learning more about LGBT community can help these people acknowledge the rights of persons from this group and stop their ongoing oppression; while for members of the community, it is a great chance to embrace own sexuality without having to hide it or be ashamed of it. If you have not found any useful information in this paragraph to write your gender analysis essay, there is no need to worry, you will find more info below.
- Toys and stereotypes.
What are the usual toys children of different genders play with? Typical answers would be robots and cars for boys and Barbies together with baby dolls for girls. However, people rarely think of how sexist, such allocation of toys is, and what kind of ideas parents impose upon their kids by giving them certain playthings. Since the early age, children are being programmed by toys, and it can be clearly seen on a few examples. The Barbie dolls that girls love so much are presenting the unrealistic image of a woman with the perfect body parameters and looks making girls crave for being as gorgeous and skinny when they grow up, which may later result in numerous health issues. The kewpie dolls are basically sending a message that the primary goal of women is to give birth and nurture children in future. There is no need to discuss kitchen sets, irons, and similar toys, which are preparing a girl to be housewives. Cars, little soldiers, and toy weapon, on the other hand, are considered the ultimate 'boy toys,' which actually contribute to aggression and violent behavior. What kind of toys are safe then? How to stop 'programming' kids and give them real opportunities to learn? Almost every question you ask on the topic is actual and requires further research. Hence, there are a lot of issues in the area that can make it to a good essay on gender studies if you put sufficient efforts.
- Men as sexual victims.
There are many conversations going about women and child rape, as these social groups are facing such issue more frequently. However, as adult males are the minority in this case, or rather abusers in most of them, the awareness about men rape is rarely raised at all. Yes, almost everyone knows about the issue, as its pretty common for prisons all over the world, but people do not see it happening outside penal institutions. Nevertheless, if the society is not familiar with the problem, it does not mean this problem does not exist or can be ignored. Due to the shame felt, thousands of men do not report cases of sexual abuse, hence, exacerbating an issue even more. Making the work on the topic, you can not only study the issue from different perspectives and produce an A+ essay on gender equality but also raise the awareness of such problem and encourage people to share information in order to help prevent the men rape.
- Pregnancy discrimination.
As the role of women in the society has changed significantly over the past few decades, more and more of them are joining the job market. That certainly does not mean they do not want to have a family, or they do not have one already. However, for modern women, a job is one of the important aspects of self-realization, which means they want to be successful the same as men do. Nevertheless, from the viewpoint of an employer, a woman on a position can become a problem, simply because she can get pregnant. Even though a maternity leave in many countries is just a few weeks long, the employer does not want to lose money when a specialist is missing or spend time and resources to hire and train a new person if such leave lasts for several months. Moreover, in many companies, women who take the maternity leave save their working spots, and, therefore, hirers have to fire a newbie and put a young mother in the way of things when she is back, which certainly does not benefit the business productivity. Women, on the other hand, suffer too because they may not be hired due to such company's logic, and mothers cannot spend the adequate amount of time with their newborn children. Therefore, there is a huge need in finding ways to satisfy both employers and female workers, create a method, which will help the first ones not to lose money and specialists in the team, and for the second ones not to be discriminated during the recruitment, to be paid during long maternity leave and be able to fulfill professional goals. Hence, if you have any idea how to make it real or you have found related issues that need to be discussed, you have a great topic for the women equality essay.
- Opposite-sex friendship.
There is a huge discussion going over this topic for ages and there is still no answer to the question whether it is possible for males and females to have completely platonic relationships. Some researchers suggest that men and women think about opposite sex friendship in very different ways. While most of female participants do not see any romantic perspectives or sexual tension in such relationships, their male counterparts tend to think that there might be something going on already, or they will definitely make it to a couple with their current 'girl-just-friends.' Hence, the belief in existence of pure friendship between different sexes is thought out to be dependent on the gender. However, there were researches where the studied groups of people showed opposite results. What were the limitations of all these experiments? What can be done to conduct the better ones? These are only a few questions you can cover in the gender criticism essay. Moreover, you can actually make your own experiment and take a scope of people, which, for example, has not been tested before. This way you will prepare a great essay on gender inequality that will certainly be used by others who study this issue. Just think of a good topic that would be interesting to you, and keep in mind that it should be useful for other people to read your piece of writing.
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