Feminism And Equality Essay Research Paper The

Feminism And Equality Essay, Research Paper The rights and status of women have improved considerably in the last century; however, gender equality has recently been threatened within the last decade. Blatantly sexist laws and practices are slowly being eliminated while social perceptions of “women’s roles” continue to stagnate and even degrade back to traditional ideals.

Feminism And Equality Essay, Research Paper

The rights and status of women have improved considerably in the last century; however, gender equality has recently been threatened within the last decade. Blatantly sexist laws and practices are slowly being eliminated while social perceptions of “women’s roles” continue to stagnate and even degrade back to traditional ideals. It is these social perceptions that challenge the evolution of women as equal on all levels. In this study, I uld like to suggest that subtle and blatant sexism continues to exist throughout educational, economic, professional and legal arenas.

Women who carefully follow their expected roles may never recognize sexism as an oppressive force in their life. Throughout my research, I have found a corrilation between women’s experiences in the nineties and with Betty Friedan’s, essay: The Way We Were written in 1949. She dealt with a society that expected women to fulfill certain roles. Those roles completely disregarded the needs of educated and motivated business women and scientific women. Actually, the subtle message that society gave was that the educated woman was actually selfish and evil.

It appears American culture prefers women as non-professional, non-intellectual, homemakers and mothers. This mentality is not easily resolved, because it is introduced at a young age. Alice Brooks experienced inequality on the basis of her race and her sex. In her autobiography, A Dream Deferred, she recalls the reaction of her father when she brought up the idea of college to him:

I found a scholarship for veterans’ children and asked my father to sign and furnish proof that he was a veteran. He refused and told me that I was only going to get married and have babies. I needed to stay home and help my mother with her kids. My brother needed college to support a family. Not only was I not going to get any help, I was also tagged as selfish because I wanted to go to college.

When reading her essay, I developed a strong sense of injustice not only for her, but for the female race. As daugheters of God, equal partners in this world, whether it be in the work force or in child rearing, have the right, just like anybody else, to choice what she wants to do with our lives. Those that decided to come to this earth chose to follow the Plan of Salvation which in return allows us to have free agency. A common view among all races and sects is the expectations and limitations placed on women to be the housewife, the mother, the comforter.

A critic of the women’s movement would quickly remind us that women have the choice to decline marriage and sex, and pursue their individual interests. However, I would argue that the social pressures women must endure if they do not conform to their expected role is a heavy burden. I feel that we treat those women who decide to take a professional field with distaste, and that the women is not doing her “Godly duties.” The problem goes beyond social conformity and crosses into government intervention (or lack thereof). The 1980’s saw the pendulum swing against the women’s movement. Violent acts against women who sought abortions became common and the government was unsympathetic to the victims.

There are parallels between the Southern Black’s civil rights movement and the women’s movement: Blacks have long been accustomed to the white government being unsympathetic to violent acts against them. During the civil rights movement, legal action seemed only to come when a white civil rights activist was killed. Women are facing similar disregard presently, and their movement is truly one for civil rights.

Alma Baron in his article “Women in Business-are they still Fighting Shadows”, examines the congressional passage of the 1972 equal rights amendment, and suggests how women are being treated unfairly in work situations. He further continues to say that “Women should avoid fighting the shadows of males, and asses themselves honestly and begin to professionally apply themselves with self-assurance” (11).

This attitude of rising blatant and subtle attacks on women’s civil rights is further exemplified in recent reactions to affirmative action plans. These plans have been devised to try to give women and minorities an opportunity to participate in traditionally white male dominated areas. However, we see the same trends in legal action for the use of affirmative action plans such as the 1980’s backlash against the Roe v. Wade decision. A few interesting points were presented in the case, Johnson v. Transportation Agency, Santa Clara (480 U.S. 616 (1987)). Mr. Paul E. Johnson filed suit against the Santa Clara County Transportation Agency when he was denied a promotion, feeling the company’s affirmative action plan denied him of his civil rights.

Some interesting facts were presented in this case: specifically, 9 of the 10 Para-Professionals and 110 of the 145 Office and Clerical Workers were women. By contrast, women were only 2 of the 28 Officials and Administrators, 5 of the 58 Professionals, 12 of the 124 Technicians, none of the Skilled Crafts Workers, and 1 – who was Joyce – of the 110 Road Maintenance Workers.

The above statistics show women have been considerably underrepresented at the Santa Clara County Transportation Agency. These numbers are not uncommon and are found throughout business. The current perception is that affirmative action precludes white males from finding employment with companies that implement these plans. The truth is in the numbers. The fact that Mr. Johnson felt he was denied his civil rights because an equally qualified woman was given a promotion, instead of him, is just a small window into the subtle sexism that exists today. I see this type of “quota system” being enforced here on this campus. Not necesarily the number of male vs females, but rather in race and ethnicity. By simply glancing at the various races attending the university one could conclude that there must be five Polynesians for every one caucasion. This is not only true for admissions, but also in the student employment.

In relation to equality rights and the women movement, one could synthesize the never ending debate of affirmative action into the discussion of equality. Most critics of affirmative action do not consider the grossly unequal numbers of men in management and professional positions. Secondly, it never seems an issue of debate that a woman may have had no other previous life opportunities in these male dominated areas. The current backlash against these programs, affirmative action, is heavily rooted in sexism and racism.

Often blatant violence or unfair acts against a group of people will cause that group to pull together and empower themselves against their oppressors. The women’s movement has made large steps to eliminate many of these flagrantly sexist acts in the last century. Now the real difficulty is upon us: subtle acts of sexism and the degrading social roles of women in today’s conservative culture. The female child has as many goals as the male child, but statistically she is unable to realize these goals because of the obstacles that society sets in front of her. I know that for myself, I as a child wanted to be a doctor, but was told that only boys can be doctors. So there I was, a five year old with my hopes of becoming a famous doctor smashed because of the ideals and norm of the world. The world through media may attempt to create an illusion that women have every right that men enjoy. However, women will never be equal until the day female scientists, intellectuals, professionals, military leaders, and politicians are just as accepted and encouraged to participate in all of society’s arenas as males.

Our fore-fathers created a wonderful document that we as human strive to follow, yet some fail to meet eye to eye on all of the issues, one of them being equal rights.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” (Constitution).

Further evidence found while conducting research that suggests equality at the work force to be:

1-The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act 1973 emphases nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, equitable service and affirmative action. “No persons shall, on the ground of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or political affiliation or belief be discriminated against, or denied employment as a participant, administrator, or staff persons, in connection with any program under the Act (676.52{a}).

2-Civil Rights and Women?s Equity in Employment Act of 1991, state: “The purpose of H.R. 1, the Civil Employment Act of 1991 are twofold: first, to provide monetary remedies for victims of intentional employment discrimination. . . and second, to respond to the Supreme Court?s recent decisions by restoring federal civil rights protections against employment discriminations.”

3- Civil Rights and Women?s Equity in Employment Act of 1991 state “In the twenty-seven years since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, many employers have accepted its mandate that discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, or religion has no place in employment decisions. Those who have not accepted that principle should not be subjected to a damage remedy when they intentionally discriminate.”

4-In the Presidents State of the Union Address on January 29, 1991, it states concerning equal opportunity “to strengthen the laws against employment discrimination without resorting to the use of unfair preferences.”

In viewing both the Constitution, Civil Rights Act of 1964 (especially Title IX) one would clearly see that while these sexist laws and practices are slowly being eliminated, social perceptions of “women’s roles” continue to stagnate and even degrade back to traditional ideals. It is this subtle and blatant sexism that continues to exist throughout educational, economic, professional and legal arenas.

Bibliography

Baron, Alma. “Women in Business-are They Still Fighting Shadows” p11

Training and Development Journal May 1976 volume 30, issue 5

Brooks, Alice. A Dream Deferred

Comprehensive Employment and Training Act 1973 (CETA)

Publication of CETA Journey: A Walk on the Women?s Side

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title IX

Civil Rights and Women?s Equity in Employment Act of 1991,

House Report Employment Act of 1991102-40 Part 1, United States House of Representatives, 102D Congress, 1st Session. Call number Y1.1/8:102-40/pt.1

Civil Rights and Women?s Equity in Employment Act of 1991,

House Report Employment Act of 1991102-40 Part 1, United States House of Representatives, 102D Congress, 1st Session. Call number Y1.1/8:102-40/pt.1 pg14,15)

Constitution and Act (676.52{a}) and Act (676.54{a})

Fetzer, Philip L. The Ethnic Moment, The Search For Equality In The

American Experience. p784 New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1997.

Friedan, Betty essay: “The Way We Were” -1949.

Goldman, Sheldon. Constitutional Law Cases & Essays, Second Edition.

p234 New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

Johnson v. Transportation Agency, Santa Clara (480 U.S. 616 (1987))

Kessler, Julie A. Director of Academic Programs. The Claremont

Institute Email; 10-10-97

State of the Union Address on January 29, 1991