Gender Inequality And Discrimination In America

1261 words - 5 pages

Gender Inequality and Discrimination in America

What is your first memory of a child? Was it blowing out the candles on your birthday cake, or was it playing a game with a friend? Was it riding a bike or making a snowman? Many of these events will most likely be remembered of your childhood, but the memory of how you were socially biased will not be. The memory of being wrapped in a socially acceptable colored blanket depending on your gender either boy or girl. How your mother spoke to you, with a soft voice of understanding or concern if you were likely a boy, and how if you were a girl you were likely given a baby doll to play with instead of a truck. Throughout history gender differences have been exemplified given a particular culture. In the USA the role of the female has endured much discrimination as with racial discrimination.

Many factors contribute to the problem of gender inequality [1]; two of these factors will be discussed, social structural factors and social psychological factors. Attitudes and values of both men and women perpetuate gender inequality. Past attitudes have reflected the traditional role of the female within society: the notion that women are less capable and competent as men. Within this traditional role, a woman's place is in the home, as the guardian of the social order.

Gender roles are evident within any society. Not all roles follow these traditional roles of male dominance and submissive women. Such societies take on roles, which are the betterment of the community. An example would be the study performed by Margaret Mead (1969), of three primitive New Guinea tribes. Mead states that the meaning of being male and female is determined not only biologically but also through a greater extent, by cultural conditioning. Within the Tchambuli tribe, male and female roles were virtually the opposite of our own ideals. The women were in charge of the fishing and trading and took the initiative in the mating ritual. While the male members took a different role, a behavior our society would have classified as feminine. They concerned themselves with their appearance, their jewelry and desired the attention of women. Many studies have been performed to link the cultural/social premise upon the gender differences, but that factor alone can not be the solution to eliminating this problem within our society. Ann Fausto-Sterling (1985) preformed another study; she depicts from her research that there are definite limitations in the extent to which we are shaped by biological factors. Her studies have shown that no one human behavior can be explained merely in terms of biological or social factors. Behavior is a function of multiple factors, and we cannot say which is of these particular factors is of more influence than the other. Can we say that men are more aggressive than women and, that women are more emotional, or is this a stereotype? Whatever the difference between male and...

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