Thesis: Gender Inequality

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Gender Inequality

One of the most accurate definitions of gender was given Ridgeway and colleague (1999) where he explained that gender was simply a structure where by a society was able to define the social differences within people and their relations or socioeconomic stature based on those differences. Even though the word gender is mostly used as a synonym for women but that's not really the case as gender divides men and women into two different categories with different aspects of the social system.

The stature of women within the United States has been, historically speaking, very limited but with the changing times the economic importance and contribution form the women has changed considerably as well. One of the things that these changing times have brought is an increased level of socioeconomic growth amongst the female community within the country. Melissa Kearney, a professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, explained that the gender of an employee was no longer a determinant in determining or allocating of their economic stature. However, there are still very obvious differences in the income percentages between men and women and the overall gender difference perception still plays a significant in the intergenerational diffusion of the wage conditions.

One of the factors highlighted in the analysis done by Kearney on women's economic stature was the factor of marriage. According to the survey conducted by Kearney showed that the overall percentage of married women between the ages of 18 and 34 was decreasing significantly. More specifically the overall married women between the ages of 18-34 had dropped to 44% in the year 2000 from a significant high of 73% in 1960. Nevertheless, the earnings and income of the spouse still plays a huge factor in determining the overall economic stature of the women within the United States. According to Kearney's report there was also a very high tendency amongst the women to marry men who either shared the same economic stature as their own fathers or had a higher socioeconomic stature. Hence the socioeconomic stature of women in the United States is still pretty much determined by either their parents' or their spouses' socioeconomic wealth even though the overall gender inequality and bias has decreased obviously.

Kearney explains that the economic differences that exist between male and female employees are also a result of other factors like the level of education, the type of vocation as well as the physical and mental demands of the occupation. Kearney also explains that the even now the men have a higher probability of finding a firm footing in the higher earning percentage of the country as opposed to women.

Gender Inequality has been one of the most analyzed and discussed topics within the genre of economics, social science as well as education and even though recent decrease in gender inequality has broken quite a few barriers for the women, there are still many hurdles before gender inequality can no longer be an issue. There are many questions that can be raised when trying to solve the problem of gender inequality. Perhaps the most important question is what really is the meaning of inequality? How is gender inequality related to or different from the other forms of inequalities within a community? Is gender inequality and its solution as urgently needed as the solution to the energy crises, poverty, ethnic conflicts, etc. How important is studying the circumstances and impact of gender inequality? What circumstances could be created if the problem of gender inequality was over or under attended?

All of these questions are important in their own right but in this paper the main focus will lie on the significance of actually studying and analyzing the gender inequalities and evaluations; i.e. this paper will try tackling and answer the question: "How important is studying the circumstances and impact of gender inequality?" aforementioned.

Literature Review:

There are various studies that have argued on different components of the gender inequality that exists within the United States today. The components that have been most popular amongst the researchers have been comparisons of the income ratios between men and women against the wealth of the men and women. While this is a great angle for students of gender inequality to study, it is also important that this particular topic is studied beyond the dynamics of income and educational backgrounds and concentration or attention is also given to the concepts of pure favoritism, chauvinism and isolation. Some of the studies that have focused on the three elements mentioned above have also been limited to a more political outlook as opposed to the social and economic factors that also lead to the inequality within the United States.

One of the biggest analytical movements that helped evaluate the stature of women within a community was the feminist social movement that was started in the 1970s. The feminist movement was able to highlight two of the biggest misconceptions and miscalculations when measuring the socioeconomic status of a person in the country; these two miscalculations included: 1) unpaid vocation was never considered and that was mostly handled by the women i.e. household chores, etc. And 2) the entire socioeconomic condition was dependent upon the earnings of the male head of the family (Acker 1973; Crompton & Mann 1986).

The former misconception directly leads to two other misconceptions: one is that this leads to the complete ignorance of the division of labor that is done on the basis of gender; and, two is that this misconception infers that it's only the single women who really need paid jobs or appreciate paid jobs whereas married women don't (Delphy 1981).

The latter was a big flaw because taking in only the earnings of the male head of the family completely left out whatever contributions and earnings that the other household members made however significant these contributions may be. Furthermore, an indirect consequence of this misconception is that everyone in the family gets an equal share of the total earning of the head of the family (Edwards 1984).

The fact of the matter is that studying gender inequality and the consequent gender studies that have taken place have resulted in a change of the ideas of the social structure as a whole. Most researchers and sociologists have over the years re-visited the conventional definitions of the different social concepts and were forced to alter them on the basis of the results support by the gender studies that had been carried out. Even though initially gender studies complicated matters further but now studying the gender studies have grown in importance because of the results that the studies have revealed (Andersen 2005).

The importance of gender studies lies highly in the social and economic nature of a society. Over the years, gender studies have shown that the females within different communities contribute to the socioeconomic welfare as much as men do but in different ratios and in different circumstances but this in no way should and could undermine their contribution. Furthermore, studying gender inequality and conducting gender studies will allow women to prosper more and more with the passage of time and contribute more financially towards the welfare and the economy of their community.

One of the aspects that need to be further explored when studying gender inequality is the concept of the queer theory. So far the pairing of these two ideas has made the overall analysis very intricate and difficult (de Lauretis 1991). The fact of the matter is that even now the true definition of gender has not been fully designed and studying gender inequality, to an extent, has helped eliminate all the unnecessary baggage that had been couple with the definition of gender. There is a definite deficiency in the clear cut meaning of the word gender as well as its overall impact even though many studies have shown promising results of how gender inequality can be defined and how its impact can be measured.

The importance of studying gender inequality and conducting gender analysis has become even more significant because of the fact that in the 21st century where everything is moving at an exceptionally faster pace, the basic ideologies and concepts of the gender differences and inequalities still remains vague. Furthermore, these uncertainties can cause the concepts to be used in a variety of circumstances which can confuse their ideology further. This is also one of the main reasons that gender differences have been used so extensively and in so many forms by different media and political organizations. Even social organizations over the past few decades have exploited the uncertainty of the meaning of gender and achieved their own purposes through that exploitation (Irwin et al. 2006).

It is important to note, Broom (2005) in his study explains, that the educational treatment of gender and the relative feminine pedigree, upon close inspection, can reveal that gender differences and inequalities are smaller components of the concept of gender. Furthermore, it is important to note here that until a clear… [END OF PREVIEW]

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