A long list of ideals have been created for both men and women. These have been reinforced by social and cultural norms. They concern the way that men and women should dress, act and present themselves to the world. Thus, the creation of gender stereotypes . However, are we using the phrase gender differences as an excuse? An excuse to cover up that inequality persists between the sexes in society?
Gender Differences at Childhood
Society has pressured us from childhood, to conform to gender norms based upon what has been deemed acceptable for our gender. As infants, girls are known to wear pink and boys are known to wear blue. More so, girls often play with toy kitchens and dolls whilst boys play play with toy tools and race cars. These choices seem to portray imitations of a conventional mum and wife versus that of a conventional working man.
Yet, perhaps the stereotypical gender differences at infancy are becoming out-dated. This is because “gender neutral” is rapidly rising in popularity with some parents going against the social norms. Even with this progression, we still have a way to go before we reach equality in all stages and aspects of life.
Gender Differences at Adulthood
Gender differences outlined at childhood have caused a gender ladder and a societal status to form in adults. For Women are expected to be well-mannered, submissive, nurturing, faithful and emotional. In contrast, men are meant to be more strong, capable, assertive and protective.
Also, there is still an expectation of what each gender should do throughout their adult life. It is that women should stay at home to do the household chores and to look after their child/children; the unpaid role. Whereas, men, should go out and work to take control of the finances. In short, women do not have a career and men are the bread-winners of the family. Although, recently, roles have been somewhat reversed, this tradition is still in considerable practice today.
There are are major differences regarding stereotypical gender occupations. People quickly assume, even now, that nurses and teachers would be women and doctors, and lawyers and engineers would be men. This isn’t how the world should work anymore. Regardless of gender, people should be able to choose the career they so wish to without judgement.
In adulthood, there is pressure on women to look a certain way; slim, sexy and sophisticated. On the other hand, men are meant to be tall, handsome and fit. These ideals have been splashed all over magazines, films and the internet.
No, not all obey the stereotypes I have stated. Luckily, today, there is less judgement so people feel freer to be their true selves. However, people have still been judged if they have gone against stereotypical gender roles. For instance, women with a full-time career and stay-at-home dads.
Female Inequality in the Workplace
In recent decades, there has been a huge increase of women in the workplace. This is after a long and difficult road. There has been social movements, such as the feminism movement and the equality act, that have helped to bring around this change. In recent years, women have worked in a more diverse range of occupations and industries. These roles were originally only fulfilled by men so this is a great step. Women don’t need to choose between marriage and family over a successful career anymore. They have a new-found choice, independence and empowerment.
Although women may have made great advances in the workplace, they still face gender bias. For example, while there are more women working, they still earn significantly less than their male colleagues. This is even with legislation banning this from occurring. In-fact, on average, women receive more college and graduate law degrees than men do – they deserve equal wages. Surely, there should be no pay gap – it’s 2018. Women are also more unlikely to advance in their careers as much as men do and they generally amass less retirement investments.
Will there ever come a day when there is equality in the workplace? Or, will gender differences be the excuse of this discrimination forevermore?
Women Versus Society
The society we live in is patriarchal. Etablishments and political leaderships are mainly controlled by men. Women are born to adopt their father’s surname as it’s tradition. The idea is like that when a woman marries as they generally take their husband’s surname too. People still make mean judgements today if a woman chooses to keep her surname rather than go ahead with the social norms.
Although, as I had stated, more women study and graduate in law than men, legal systems have been hugely dominated by males. Most decisions to do with councils and governments have been assessed and decided upon by men too. Equality legislation, such as the equality act and pay-check fairness act, have not resulted in equality between the sexes. We have to update thee legislation if we want complete equality in the near future.
The Importance of Equality
These gender differences have had a huge impact on women. It has caused their beliefs and self-esteem to alter. As well as this, it has taught them the behaviour that is acceptable in public so that they do not get criticised. Can’t women just behave and dress how they want to? There is no need, in this day and age, to stick to guidelines or rule-books created centuries ago.
We would all benefit if women held the same power that men do. Women would feel more a part of their community because they would be contributing to social, economic and educational doings alongside important Parliament decisions. With this cultural change, productivity would thrive and women’s confidence in their abilities would increase. It would boost society’s growth and success if women had equal opportunities both socially and economically. Failure to work on gender discrimination would negatively influence our society. More so, it would cost the economy which could be a big issue.
We, as a society, must make a change. We have got to look beyond gender stereotypes and the differences between the sexes. This is so that we live in a world where women are un-afraid of the media’s judgements, the economic and political decisions made and society’s harsh out-looks on our actions. This is so that we are free for good.
Continue the conversation by reading: We need to rid of female inequality.