Female equality is an important issue in many modern countries. Though most states forbid discrimination based on gender, it is clear that women still face some structural inequalities in contemporary society. This is a sample essay that focuses on several aspects of women’s rights that are lacking in equality with their male counterparts. If you have any questions, head on over to the Ultius homepage and give our customer support staff a call.
Feminism and Women’s rights
Clare Boothe Luce, author and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom once said, “Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’ They will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.’” It’s common to hear the phrase “Don’t be such a girl”, or “You throw like a girl!” as if it was a disgrace or degrading to be a girl, or act like one. Regardless of the situation, women and men deserve the same respect and equality.
Origins of the feminist agenda
Women have been fighting for their rights for years, in order to receive the same privileges that men get handed to them. In 1920, women finally won the suffrage battle and were allowed to vote. According to History.com,
“it took activists and reformers nearly a hundred years to win that fight, and the campaign was not easy.”
Women decided that they didn’t want to continue living believing that the only “true” woman was a submissive wife who cleaned and cooked repetitively, which wasn’t at all constitutional. Feminism is often misunderstood as the idea that men would be subjected to amazonian masterhood.
A group of abolitionist activists gathered in New York to discuss women’s rights. They agreed that according to the Declaration of Independence,
“men and women were created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The fact that men were allowed to have a say in their country’s government and political changes and women were excluded from those choices as if their opinions weren’t valid or valuable enough.
According to Women’s History in America,
“In 1960’s, a traditional middle-class girl in Western culture tended to learn from her mother’s example of cooking, cleaning and caring for children while the men either went to school, or worked. In 1870, an estimated one fifth of resident college and university students were women. By 1900, the proportion had increased to more than one third”.
Normally, women would follow what their mothers taught them, and their mothers would pass on what their mothers taught them, and liberalism and radical voices and opinions were unheard of. If a girl watches her mother care for her children and take care of the house while growing up, she expected her job would be similar once she was a wife.
Feminists and safety
Women have a lot to worry about more than men when it comes to their safety, especially when it comes to walking down the street, being alone, or at night. Louis Melling shares in her article, Hey Baby: Enduring Street Harassment,
“I first remember it happening when I was around 14. Guys driving by would sometimes call stuff out the window of their cars. Sometimes they slowed down. I was afraid. I didn’t know if they would take no for an answer. I didn’t know if I could run faster than they could. I knew bad things happened”.
Fourteen years old is far too young to experience feelings of anxiety regarding harassment. Sexual harassment does not necessarily have to be performed through physical actions; it can be expressed through words, gestures and even expressions, and the repercussions, whether mental or physical, can last a lifetime.
Although precautions should be made for safety purposes and keeping in mind that it could happen everywhere and to anybody is important, it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to be afraid everyday. According to RAINN,
“Every 2 minutes, somebody in the United States is sexually assaulted. Every year, there are about 207,754 victims of sexual assault. 54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. 97% of rapists never spend a day in jail.”
In order to create a world where we are free and able to be ourselves, we need to put an end to the mentality that it is okay to disrespect somebody for any purpose. Often, people would debate that rape is blamed solely on women, and they were “asking for it” because of the way they were dressing. If we blame rape and sexual harassment on men who “can’t control their hormones”, we are viewing men as animals who don’t have self-control of themselves and can’t control their actions, and that isn’t fair.
Equality is not just equal rights to the side that one feels comfortable defending, it’s about being equal and fair even to the opposing side. Women don’t deserve to be called at or whistled at while walking down the street, or at work, regardless of what they may be wearing. Just because it is ninety degrees outside and a woman decides to dress herself in an outfit that may show more skin than usual doesn’t mean she is in any way “asking for sex” or “asking” for men to call out at her. Instead of teaching daughters not to dress provocatively, we need to teach our sons to not only respect women and their bodies, but their own as well.
Being gender sensitive
Nowadays, people are growing more and more gender-sensitive, and more people are stepping up to share how they feel and voicing their opinion. According to Foreign Affairs,
“…they increasingly see women’s empowerment as critical to their mandate. The Asian Development Bank is promoting gender-sensitive judicial and police reforms in Pakistan, for example, and the World Bank supports training for female political candidates in Morocco”.
Years ago, women’s opinions regarding political issues weren’t even taken into account to America. Over time, women realized it wasn’t fair that men had more privileges, and they decided to fight for their equality and as the years passed, citizens were able to accept women’s rights and embrace them in a matter that was well mannered and respectable.
All in all, regardless of somebody is a woman, man, African American, Chinese, veteran or disabled, at the end of the day, they are nothing more or less than a human being. And human beings have the freedom to live, love and enjoy life, and while they do, the last thing any woman or man should be worried about when stepping out of the house in the morning is whether or not they will come home without being harassed or put in an uncomfortable situation. In order to overcome the ongoing battle of reaching equality, we must view both women and men as equal bodies built with a distinctive purpose, to live, love, and be loved.
Coleman, Isobel. (May/June 2004). Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59896/isobel-coleman/the-payoff-from-womens-rights
Melling, Louise. (25 March 2011). American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved from http://www.aclu.org/blog/womens-rights/hey-baby-enduring-street-harassment
RAINN. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.rainn.org/statistics
The Fight for Women’s Suffrage. (2013). The History Channel website. Retrieved April 17, 2013, from http://www.history.com/topics/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage.
“Women’s history in America.” (n.d.). Women’s International Center. Retrieved from http://www.wic.org/misc/history.htm