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Gender Inequlaities Response Paper - Essay Example

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According to Wollstonecraft, cited by DiCaprio and Wiesner1, historical perspectives of women as inferior individuals and entirely subjected to greater faculties of…
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Gender Inequlaities Response Paper
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Gender Inequalities Response Paper Historical factors that promoted gender inequality Diverse viewpoints that depicted women as weak compared to men promoted gender inequality in historical societies. According to Wollstonecraft, cited by DiCaprio and Wiesner1, historical perspectives of women as inferior individuals and entirely subjected to greater faculties of men contributed to gender inequalities. Historical notions that women should not gain independence, at any moment, denied them their basic human rights and entitlement to freedom. Gender inequalities widened because of the influence of stereotype concepts that men and women could only engage in different professional practices. In early South Africa, for instance, services of male nurses were unimaginable as discussed by Burns2.
Differential application of rules for men and women in historic societies promoted gender inequality. In history, women and men were subject to different sets of rules. Rules set by societies regarding marriage, for instance, were harsh on women compared to men. Reilly3 highlights the differences in rules concerning marriage fidelity in historical communities, based on gender. The Hammurabi’s code, for example, widened the gender gap between men and women. Lerner4 maintains that historical law codes, such as the Hammurabi code, promoted patriarchy in historical societies. Laws codes in historical societies were representative of social conditions.
Some viewpoints dominant held during historical ages rendered women as misfortunes in the society. According to Aughterson5, historical viewpoints of women as imperfect creatures promoted gender inequalities. Religion also promoted gender inequalities in historical communities. Glickl Leib’s story6 of women empowerment reveals that Jewish women had freedom compared to their Christian counterparts. Jewish women had freedom to engage in business, for instance, compared to Christians. Colonialism promoted gender inequalities in historical societies. In England, for instance, emigration was a common practice to eliminate redundant women. In addition, women in colonial period had insignificant contribution and roles in governance. This promoted the viewpoint that women are incapable of holding leadership positions in the society7. They had no authority to question the racist nature of colonialism. Women did not question the patriarchal norms that were deterrent to their rights, as well.
Factors that reduced gender inequality
Different factors promoted gender relations in modern society and enhanced women empowerment. Offering women the opportunity to share their rights changed the perception about them as weak and subjected to men’s authority. This eliminated the theory of women having secondary status in the society. Education and enlightenment of the human population eliminated the stereotype thinking that men and women could only engage in different professional practices. Policies and legislations that promote gender equality changed the historical viewpoints that favored one part of gender, mostly men. The MDG 38, for instance, informs major policy provisions that promote gender equality and consideration of women’s concerns in the modern society.
Conclusion
Based on statistics by the World Economic Forum, there exists a notable gender gap in different countries9 today. Reducing the gap requires measures and strategies that aim at promoting gender equality. Inclusion of gender studies in education curriculum is a vital strategy to reduce the gap. Learning the history of gender inequality is imperative to inform the decisions that governments, communities and/or individuals make in the present and future. Policy makers should be conscious of the gender related issues to formulate gender-sensitive legislations. Individuals and societies find knowledge of history of gender inequality to be important in diverse aspects. Most importantly, studies of gender inequalities promote freedom of women and their empowerment in the present and future.
Works Cited
Aughterson, Kate. Recnaissance Woman: Constructions of Femininity in England, A Sourcebook. London and New York: Routledgr, 1995.
Burns, Catherine. A Man is a Clumsy Thing Who does not Know How to Handle a Sick Person: Aspects of the History of Masculinity and Race in the Shaping of Male Nursing in South Africa, 1900-1950. Journal of Southern African Studies 24. 4 (1998): 695-717.
Buvinic, Mayra. Equality for Women: Where Do We Stand on Millennium Development Goal 3? Washington, DC: World Bank, 2008.
DiCaprio, Lisa and Wiesner, Merry. Lives and Voices. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
DiCaprio, Lisa and Wiesner, Merry. Lives and Voices: Women and Colonialism. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
DiCaprio, Lisa and Wiesner, Merry. Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women History. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
Hausmann, Ricardo., Tyson, Laura and Zahidi, Saadia. The Global Gender Gap Report 2012: Rankings and Scores. World Economic Forum, 2012.
Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy (Women & History). New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1987.
Reilly, Kevin. Worlds of History: A Comparative Reader. New York, NY: Bedford/St. martins, 2007. Read More
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