The Unfair Treatment of Women
My mother has always promoted sisterhood and support for women. Growing up, I was taught that women, although we can do anything we want to do, need a support system, because we are traditionally the underdogs, and we should not accept being treated unfairly. My mother likes to tell a story about how, when she was a girl, she told her dad that she had decided to become a lawyer when she grew up. In response to her proclamation, my grandfather, an attorney himself, asked, "Isn’t that an awfully expensive education for a girl?"
My mother was involved in her education throughout high school. The number of opportunities presented to her while growing up and in her education, however, did not even come close to the number of opportunities presented to her male counterparts. In her yearbook, she is pictured among the Future Teachers of America, the only organization offered in her high school that relates to furthering the education of its young female students. The male students were also able to join that club, as well as Future Farmers of America, Future Lawyers of America, and Future Businessmen of America. She was also the Associated Student Body Treasurer—quite a feat, considering that it was unthinkable for a girl to run for President. Girls didn’t play sports, they cheered for the guys who did. My mother attended MIT Sloan School for Business, and in her class of 32, there was only one other woman. A certified management accountant with an M.B.A. from MIT, my mom has been rejected from jobs on the basis of her gender. In interviews, she’s been told by companies that they don’t want a woman in the position, and that the average matriculation time for women in management was 23 months. My mom, while on interviews for management and controlling positions, has been asked if she took birth control pills on one interview, and on another, has been told that she was "too sweet and feminine" for the job and "would get eaten alive in the business world."
The patting of women on the butt, the telling of dirty jokes that degrade women, and the promotion of women in return for sexual favors were common occurrences and not officially recognized as sexual harassment. In life outside the office, forced sex on a date was not called "date rape," but rather a bad night. Teen mothers were solely responsible for the babies they had out of wedlock at that young age. If a woman got married and changed her name, she would lose all her credit cards and have to reapply for credit. Similarly, if she got divorced, all the money in the checking account she shared with her husband would go to him, and she would once again lose credit. Domestic violence was not the crime that it is today. In Texas, it was legal for a man to shoot his wife and her lover if he caught them in bed together, but the reverse was not true.
Women everywhere in our culture were having similar experiences of unfair treatment because of being female, so...