Women have long struggled for equality alongside men. Dating back to the first wave of feminism women struggled to obtain the right to vote and later the right to contraception as well as equal pay. Women took a stand for their human rights and rights as women. It was about speaking up and being heard, having an equal say just as men did. Women have since then come a long way however gender inequality is still present throughout our society. It is especially visible in the work place. We know that women get paid on average 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
Women in the work force are constricted by the glass ceiling. This is a political term used to describe an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining upper-level positions and keep them from rising on the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. Moreover, the Mommy Track presents a barrier to advancement as well. Women struggle to break through these biased molds that have been placed on us long ago. This gender inequality begins early through gender socialization. The distinction between both genders are pronounced since birth and early childhood with clothes, toys and activities. As Gilman writes “They must be dressed differently, not on account of their personal needs, which are exactly similar at this period, but so that neither they nor anyone behold them, may for a moment forget the distinction of sex” (225). Boys and girls are raised with different mindsets because of their biological makeup. However it is not just our innate biological differences which promote inequality moreover these gender differences are reinforced and institutionalized through socialization. Gender socialization promotes and sustains gender inequality. We live in a patriarchal society where sex-distinction is very much emphasized and women are a minority group.
Previously, the man was the head of the household as women stayed at home. This made women economically dependent on the working man. In addition less women attended college. Although there is a greater number of women working today with college degrees, they are still at a disadvantage as they are paid less. These disparities are seen in the gender wealth gap. Women with bachelor’s degrees earn only $4,708 more than men with high school diplomas. While men with bachelors degrees earn $24,700 more than men with high school diplomas. The value/earning in the area where women became predominant tend to decline (ex. teachers).Women tend to concentrate more in social sciences and men in engineering, math and computers.
There is an increased number of women in the work force and women are closing the gap in degrees earned, pay, power and prestige. Women are the majority on campuses from 55-60%. Research shows that women have better grades, resumes and a clearer sense of goals. Generally, women in fact do mature earlier and are more serious about school. In reference to gender socialization; boys behave worse in classes and ignore directions as opposed to girls who are more focused, conscientious and well behaved. Women are also making changes in degrees. More women are holding professional degrees in law, dentistry etc. We can do it too!!! It’s important for women to become independent and break through molds that society has placed on us.