The Changing Status of Women
Women have played a huge role in society. Many people respect women for the simple fact that they bring life to every human that is put on earth and, without them, none of us would be here today. Although many people respect women, women believe that they have been treated unfairly in the past. I believe that women have been treated unfairly, but I also believe that women today have much better opportunities offered to them than in the past, and that women today are closer to equality than ever before.
Writings by Simone de Beauvoir, Karen Horney, and Margaret Mead document that, in the past, women have been oppressed or repressed in many ways. For instance, they were not allowed to vote until 1920. Women could not hold high positions in the workplace, and they were not paid the same amount of money for the same jobs. Women have not been allowed to have any say-so in the financial or political issues of the family and the economy. Women have been treated unfairly partly because they have been raised to believe they were supposed to be the ones to stay at home, do the chores, and take care of the children. It has been traditional since ancient times in most cultures that the man was in charge of a family's household, and it was traditional for the woman to obey the man. Therefore, if a woman was told to clean the house, tend to the children, and have dinner waiting on the table, she was expected to do this with no objections. Today there is less emphasis on the woman to be the sole house worker. She is often working outside the home, and in any case, there is cultural pressure, in the United States at least, for women to object to the traditional role in full and demand a more balanced distribution of the family workload.
Beauvoir, in "From The Second Sex," states, "It is not the inferiority of women that has caused their historical insignificance; it is rather their historical insignificance that has doomed them to inferiority" (179). I do not agree with Beauvoir's conclusion that women are doomed to inferiority. There is evidence of a cultural shift in many of the industrialized nations and particularly in the United States, where women are rapidly gaining ground in positions of authority and leadership. There are women in positions as senators and judges, CEOs and clergy, to name a few. Ground has also been gained in middle management and small business ownership. One of the more interesting recent effects is that technological advances in computers and Web-based activities have provided a new path for women to leap forward in their position relative to men.
Women have also been treated unfairly because of the physical differences between men and women. For example, women were thought to be unable to do physical work that men did because men are genetically stronger than women; however, this is no longer the case. Today there are many women who do hard physical labor that is equally strenuous to...