UrbanizationFemale Empowermen Essay Research Paper Urbanization and

Urbanization/Female Empowermen Essay, Research Paper

Urbanization and it’s effect on Female Empowerment

Over history discrimination has been very common. Culture, race, sex among many other differences between people has been a source for this problem. Probably the most widespread of these discriminations is in fact that of the male believing that the female is inferior to him. This is changing throughout the world partly because of increased urbanization. If observed a positive correlation can be seen between female empowerment and urbanization. As the world becomes increasingly urban, diversity of ideas and the choice of different life styles increase immensely. This progression can be seen worldwide in statistics, observation, women’s biographies, and even fictional writing. Such observations can be seen in the book The Live of Girls and Women by Alice Munro. In this story of a young girl growing up there are many contrasts between women in a rural setting versus women in a more urban setting. This relation is quite evident.

In rural areas women in general have a level of empowerment well below that of women from a more urban area. This difference between levels of urbanization does not even have to be a large one. In the novel The Lives of Girls and Women there is a visible difference between the women who live in Jubilee and those who live outside of town on Flats Road. This may seem overstated because Jubilee is not a metropolis but to a degree it is much more urban then Flats Road. If compared we can see this illustrated by the difference of views between Jerry Storey’s mother who lives in Jubilee (Munro, 167) and Madeleine, Uncle Benny’s wife who lives on Flats Road (Munro, 13). Jerry Storey’s mother talks to Del about modern concepts such as birth control and seems to be a very empowered woman. This has a stark contrast to Madeleine who rarely leaves the house except to do the shopping. This difference between the two illustrate illustrates the effect a small amount of urbanization can make in a woman’s life.

It is common knowledge that people migrate to improve their quality of life. This fact can be applied to something as simple as moving from the country to a nearby town. With moving to an urban area one gains many choices, and possibilities that are not available in a rural setting. When Addie, Del’s mom moves to Jubilee after starting to sell bibles (Munro, 54) she realizes these opportunities. She empowers herself by becoming the power figure of the house, she joins a book club and she socializes with other women at parties becoming a really independent woman. All of these things represent Addie taking steps to define her individuality and thus empower herself. She achieves this by moving from out past Flats Road (where she was a “traditional” housewife) into Jubilee. This move many would consider being of little change but obviously is all that it took to empower Addie.

Statistics can probably be the most convincing tool in today’s society because they are not opinion they are fact. With the analyzation of statistics from the Gender Empowerment Measure (Gender ) and the Urbanization Measure (Urban ) we can clearly see the correlation between the two. As observed almost all the countries with a high urbanization measure also have a high gender empowerment measure. Almost all the countries with a lower urbanization have a low gender empowerment measure. These statistics can simply be interpreted to show that if a country has more urbanization there will also be higher level of female empowerment. For example the Bahamas has a very high urbanization rate with a 86.4% of its population living in an urban area in 1995 (Urban ) compared to Niger which had only 18.2% of its population living in an urban area in 1995 (Urban ). When you compare there gender empowerment measure ranking where the Bahamas are ranked 15th in the world (Gender ) and Niger at 102nd in the world (Gender ) it makes it very easy to see the correlation.

Statistics however sometimes lack conviction. Alice Munro is considered one of Canada’s best short story writers (Tausky). During Alice Munro: A Bio-critical Essay by Thomas E. Tausky Alice Munro confesses that while growing up in the small town of Wingham, Ontario (Tausky) that she felt pressures that discouraged female success and pushed for her to take the more “traditional” role of a female. For example in this essay there are quotes from Munro and this one tells her view on the above mentioned pressures:

“it’s necessary…always to think practically …I always realized that I had a different view of

the world, and one that would bring me into great trouble and ridicule if it were exposed.”(Tausky)

However all this changed when Alice Munro received a full scholarship to the University of Western Ontario and she became praised and applauded for her skills. She was encouraged to follow her ambition and to reach for success. During university Alice Munro was afraid to confess her writing abilities and in fact flatly denied their quality, this showed some of the values she held because of her socialization. As we can see the difference between the discouragement of her talents in her small rural hometown were in contrast to the encouragement of her skills in the more urban setting of the University of Western Ontario. This again allows us to see the connection between an urban setting and female empowerment where individuality is applauded.

Female empowerment is a relatively new trend. Coincidentally urbanization is also a relatively new trend. This should not be confused with the fact that they are old ideas but that they have recently (past half decade) really started to take force. As shown there are many incidences, self-confessions, and statistics which support this idea. The book The Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro illustrates this idea numerous times. Alice Munro even acknowledges that she personally experienced this situation as it occurred during her childhood and late adolescence. It can be said that other factors do effect female empowerment and of course this is true. However, we must not fail to recognize the important role urbanization has played in the course of female empowerment. Urbanization’s ability to provide diversity of ideas, choices, and options probably makes it one of the most prevalent forces urging empowerment forward of our time.


Gender Empowerment Measure. 30 Jan. 2001. http://www.undp.org/hdro/98gem.htm

This source was only used for the fourth paragraph and it’s statistics. It was also analyzed to produce comment.

Growing Urbanization. 30 Jan. 2001. http://www.undp.org/hdro/urban.htm

This source was only used for the fourth paragraph and it’s statistics. It was also analyzed to produce comment.

Munro, Alice. The Lives of Girls and Women. Scarborough: The New American Library of Canada Ltd.,


This book provided good examples to support the points put forward in the second and third paragraphs.

Tausky, Thomas E. Alice Munro: A Biocritical Essay. 31 Jan. 2001. http://www.ucalgary.ca/library/SpecColl/munrobioc.htm

This source was very helpful at providing a real life example of the situation described in the thesis. It was very helpful and provided most of the information in the fifth paragraph.

United Nations Development Program. Human Development Indicators. 31 Jan. 2001. http://www.undp.org/hdro/indicators.html

This source provided good insight on how to analyze and use the statistics that were provided by the Growing Urbanization and Gender Empowerment Measure sights.


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