In the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century, Charlotte Perkins Gilman focused on the lack of political and economic power of women. Through her work as a writer, Gilman utilized her publications to change those aspects of society she did not like. Her social actions to change society views on women can be identified as using weber’s ideal types of instrumental-rational actions. One of her literature that focused on gender inequality relied on a lot of Marx’s ideas. It states, “The labor of women in the house, certainly, enables men to produce more than they otherwise could; and in this way women are economic factors in society. But so are horses.” (Women and Economies, 1898).
Gender inequality is defined as “economic and political disparities due to gender.” Different expectations were based on gender. Inequalities in economics focused on wealth and/or income, and political differences focused on legal rights. One explanation for gender inequality could be the Nature or Nurture debate. Arguments for Nature would say that women are innate caregivers and it does not come natural to men. On the other hand, nurture arguments would say that causes of gender inequality could be shaped by the environment or society.
One example of economic disparities can be seen through the job market. People tend to view nurses as only a female job and feel different when a male is a nurse. Views on this type of jobs for men are not the norms of things. Men are seen as taken on more masculine jobs. In the movie, Meet the Fockers, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller)was laughed at and made fun of when he revealed that he is a nurse to his fiancé’s family. In the past, women were mostly nurses and caregivers. However, in today’s society, more men are becoming healthcare providers and cooks than women.
In regards to women and economics, Gilman states that “to show how some of the worst evils under which we suffer, evils long supposed to be inherent and ineradicable in our natures, are but the result of certain arbitrary conditions of our own adoption, and how, by removing those conditions, we may remove the evil resultant.” (p. 245). In other words, Gilman was saying that society tends to view women as mothers, wives, and caregivers and this view of women hinders their abilities to succeed independently in social and financial situations. The job of being the home-maker prevents women from entering the workforce, leading women to become financial dependent on their husbands. A woman’s freedom only comes when they are no longer dependent on their husbands. In other words, money is what makes the real difference.