Labeling women as “less than” men is an ethically loaded act, but the word “woman” continues to be a useful shorthand for femininity and social status. While it is not a personal identity, it does honor the feminine and enacts the feminine, far beyond the constraints imposed by our sexist society. Women’s reproductive rights are not a guarantee, and many women are denied them, and this has prompted feminist movements.
Throughout history, women have played a pivotal role in the evolution of societies and nations. They have taken on a broader role than ever before, and their contributions in various fields have been recognized and appreciated. Gone are the days of women being relegated to being mere harbingers of peace. Instead, women have emerged as the source of power and the symbol of progress. Whether in the workplace, household, or community, women are an indispensable part of our societies.
Women carry the full burden of child bearing. They are the ones responsible for the development of the child’s habits, including orderliness, industriousness, and honesty. Women must also maintain the highest levels of discipline in the home. Even in the absence of marriage, women must be responsible for bringing up their children. Despite this heavy responsibility, women should always remain in control of their lives and choose the partner who shares the same goals.
Gender equality is a universal human right and a vital foundation for a sustainable world. Progress has been made in the past few decades, but women are still disproportionately represented in parliament and other positions of power. Although more women than ever are attending school, women’s rights are still threatened in areas not addressed in the millennium goals. Further, women’s rights have been systematically violated in many countries and regions, with the poorest groups seeing the smallest gains.
A new survey commissioned by the Pew Research Center finds that more than half of Americans believe that women will be able to fill top positions in business and politics, and 44% believe that it will take a generation for women to equal men’s roles. Women also report that it’s a matter of time before women become president, though the gap is still much wider than what it used to be. So, are women ready to take on the challenges of corporate America?
Gender stereotypes continue to influence the economic impact of the crisis on women. While largely unavoidable, it is important to acknowledge that the dominant attitudes are not new. They are a part of traditional societal mindsets about women and reflect decisions made at a family and organizational level. One recent global World Values Survey revealed that men have more rights in the workplace than women, particularly in the South and MENA regions. One in six respondents in a survey in developed countries agreed with this notion.
Friedan’s book inspired women to unite to lobby for equal pay and protection from employment discrimination. In spite of ideological differences, the group grew to more than 1,000 members in its second year. Despite its challenges, the group managed to find consensus on six measures that were necessary to ensure women’s equality. These included the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, maternity leave, equal education and equal job training opportunities for poor women.