Gender Inequalities, Past And Present Essay

1720 words - 7 pages

In current society, social divisions feature a lot on the prospects of people within each society. This essay will explain how the in such concepts as women being forced into unpaid labour, male dominance over females in employment, the sexualisation of women in the media as well as briefly looking into inequalities within violence. Through discussing each of these concepts, we can compare the historical context of gender inequalities to the present day to see if things have improved or deteriorated in modern society.

Before looking into the concepts of gender inequalities, we must first explore gender itself which is the division into two groups - men and women. In sociological terms, it has been pointed out by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg that: ‘gender is a key factor that shapes social behaviour and social institutions.’ and ‘gender is ‘understood culturally and theoretically as a dualism.’ (Marsh et al, 216) Gender inequality is definitely something that we often take for granted; it is accepted and seems so normal in society. These differences often seem invisible to us even though it happens in our everyday life in everything from employment and education to politics and the media without us being aware of it. (Davis, K. 2006) explains: ‘Society shows us that gender is a system that privileges some men and disadvantages most women.’ I agree with this and believe that social differences significantly changes male and female attitudes and views on life more than biological differences in gender.

Before we look at the gender inequalities in paid employment, it is vital to look at unpaid labour and the discriminations that women face. History has shown us that the roles and responsibilities for men and women were already chosen for them. In the United Kingdom, there was a trend of male dominance in employment until World War II where women gained male-orientated jobs for the first time whilst the men fought in the front line. Before this, the males were often the breadwinners and therefore provided for their family. On the other hand, the females were more inclined to be involved in unpaid labour often labelled as housewives who performed chores around the family home and looked after the children. You could apply Leslie Feinberg’s theory to this as back then it was just accepted and seen as the way of life for men and women. It was found in a study in 2006 that on average ‘women spent 180 minutes per day on housework; that’s 78% more time than men who spent only 101 minutes per day.’ (Lader, D. 2006) This reveals that even in current society women are still accepted to partake in unpaid labour through housework rather than be in employment and this reflects the past in the United Kingdom.

This unpaid labour connects to employment rates in the second quarter of 2008 in the UK as the employment rate was 79 per cent for men and 70 per cent for women which has remained unchanged...

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