GENDER INEQUALITY IN OUR CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

Does inequality based on one’s gender and sexuality still exist in contemporary society? Many people today believe that gender inequality and sexual prejudice is no longer present in society especially in developed nations like Australia. This is a common misconception about feminism across the globe. Wright (2009) successfully discusses that sexual prejudice and gender inequality has come a long way as a result of changing cultural norms, social norms and political and social rights, but the answer is yes, gender inequality does still exist throughout the everyday life of a woman along with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world. Presently, women are generally no longer stereotypically seen by the majority as ‘the weaker sex’ or as subordinate to males. The views of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have also changed in that they are no longer seen as abnormal and disadvantaged in society like they have been in the past. Everyone in contemporary society, despite one’s gender or sexual preference are now seen by the ‘majority’ of society as ‘equal’ especially in comparison to those views of the past. Despite its progression, there is still a small minority of people who still believe that men possess power over women which is reflected in statistics. These statistics convey that woman still experience inequality in regards to income, family, housework, careers, and so on. It can also be noted that same-sex marriage endorsement is on the rise but still has not reached its desired acceptance in society.

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Figure 1: Hours per week that mothers and fathers participate in housework
Source: Source: Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/

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Figure 2: Hours spent looking after children
Source: Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/

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Figure 3: Trends in public support for gay marriage
Source: Source: Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/

The feminist movement was formed so as to limit the prevalence of gender inequality. The feminist movement has evolved over many years in stages so as to reach and progress to where it has today. There are three main stages that feminists have focused on, rallied and protested for and have thus successfully gained most of their desired results. Firstly, feminists focused on the right to vote and in most countries were successful in obtaining this right, New Zealand being the first. The next stage was civil rights and anti-war movement and the last stage was feminism by women of colour. Despite the results that feminism activists have gained, feminism is still evident in contemporary society.

In today’s society, women are now reluctant to call themselves feminists due to the stereotypes that have been placed upon them. Society holds many misconceptions about feminists. Feminists can be seen as man-hating, manly, and hairy, some are tied to being gay and they are said to draw criticisms of not performing gender roles in society yet still actively participate in gender roles. These common misconceptions lead feminism activists to be undervalued and again treated as ‘unequal’ in society.

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Figure 4: A quote by Kate Nash about the misconceptions of feminists.
Source: [Image] (October 3, 2013). Retrieved May 24,2014, from http://mediasavvygirls.com/do-they-know-what-feminism-really is/#sthash.zd4a4mgP.dpbs

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Figure 5: Feminism activists protesting against women’s struggles for justice in areas such as education, the environment, and race and class
Source: [Image] (2009, September 16). Retrieved May 24, 2014 from http://bcrw.barnard.edu/event/new-feminist-activism/

Although women hold citizenship, do they really hold the rights of which the states have given them? I agree with Ruth Lister (2003) who portrays two important issues concerning the role of women in citizenship. The first is rights and obligations, where Lister explains that women who are discriminated against find it hard to actively participate in regards to their rights and that what is seen as the common good is not universally shared. Women should be considered equals when deciding what rights and obligations should exist in contemporary society. The second is individuals and political issues where Ruth Lister argues that “A feminist approach to citizenship should be based on a synthesis of individual and political rights” in contemporary society (Lister, 2003).

Figure 6: ‘We should all be feminists’ spoken by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Source: [Video file] (2013, April 12). We should all be feminists: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc

REFERENCES:

[Image] (2013, October 3). Retrieved May 24, 2014, from http://mediasavvygirls.com/do-they-know-what-feminism-really-is/#sthash.zd4a4mgP.dpbs
[Image] (2009, September 16). Retrieved May 24, 2014 from http://bcrw.barnard.edu/event/new-feminist-activism/

[Video file] (2013, April 12). We should all be feminists: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc

Lister, R. (2003). Citizenship: Feminist perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wright, E. O. (2009). Gender Inequality. Contemporary American Society. Retrieved
from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/

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