Since March is Women’s History Month, this is part 2 of our miniseries on women’s issues. In this part, the subject up for debate is gender inequality. Does gender inequality still exist today?
Gender Inequality Today
First off, we need to know the definition of what gender inequality is. Gender inequality is the unequal treatment of people based on their gender. It can even be the perception of someone being inferior because of their gender. One prime example would be the controversial 2015 Super Bowl commercial “Like a Girl.”
When boys and young men were asked to demonstrate running like a girl, throw like a girl, and fight like a girl, their interpretations were silly and ridiculous. Even when young women were asked the same thing, they demonstrated the same type of silly, ridiculous behavior. However, when young girls were asked, they ran normally, threw normally, and fought normally. They didn’t view the phrase “like a girl” as a derogatory statement. Unfortunately, around the time girls reach puberty, their self-confidence plummets and accept the belief that they are inferior. This proves that gender inequality still exists today.
Traditional Roles Encourage Gender Inequality
Gender inequality might be based upon the concept of traditional gender roles. What is the stereotype for women? They are led to believe that their purpose in society is to get married, have children, and take care of all the domestic duties. These domestic duties include caring for the children, cooking the meals, doing the laundry, and keeping the home tidy.
Men are stereotyped also. Their role is to be the financial provider. The men are suppose to be the primary disciplinarian of the children. Also, it is the responsibility of men to take care of any repairs around the home.
Are these stereotypes encouraging gender inequality? That point can be heavily debated. It would have to depend on each individual situation. Perhaps one family is better suited having the woman being the breadwinner, while the man takes the role of homemaker. Other situations, it might be best for the man to be the provider while the woman manages the household. But with many women working full time jobs these days, how can the duties of homemaker fall solely upon them?
Gender inequality is a learned behavior. According to many scientific studies, children learn these gender stereotypes from adults. These learned, traditional gender roles are passed from one generation to the next. The key to stopping this vicious cycle is this pattern. As you will learn, it is possible to end gender inequality.
Traditional Gender Roles Can Change
The traditional gender roles of today didn’t necessarily always exist. Things assigned to a specific sex don’t have to stay that way. Over time, gender roles can change. We just need them to change in a way that will put an end to gender inequality.
One example would be the colors pink and blue. In the early 1900’s, pink was considered to be a “boy color.” It was a boy color because pink was a strong color suitable for boys. Blue was accepted as being a “girl color.” The reason blue was considered a girl’s color was because it was more delicate, dainty, and prettier. But before this color assignment, babies of both sexes wore white dresses until the age of six because the dresses could be bleached.
Another example of shifting gender roles would be cheerleading. Cheerleading began as a boys only sport. It was thought that cheerleading was too masculine for women because it would cause them to develop powerful, unladylike voices. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan were all cheerleaders. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that women entered cheerleading and dominated the sport by the 1960’s.
These are just a few examples of how gender roles can change. Gender doesn’t have to define us. The ability to reshape gender roles can help put an end to gender inequality for good.
Also In Episode 29
Residents in Charlotte, North Carolina are dealing with a neighbor who enjoys standing naked in his doorway. The police have been called numerous times because of this man’s odd behavior. Unfortunately, there’s nothing the police can do. According to authorities, the naked man standing in his doorway isn’t breaking the law. The indecent exposure law in North Carolina prohibits individuals from exposing private parts in any public place. Technically, the man is not publicly exposing himself because he is on his own property.
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