The status of women in different countries around the world has been developing and changing a lot throughout the course of history. It has become common to hold an opinion that the rights and the position of women have been gradually improving and that nowadays the role of a woman in society, at least in most countries, is equal to that of a man. It is even claimed that in some professions women are getting an upper hand while men are discriminated against.
However, a close examination of the facts suggests otherwise. Despite the fact that women have gone through a lot of studies and acquired respectable degrees over the last forty years, the gender gap still persists, which is visible in various professions and countries.
The Status of Women in Different Countries
The status of women in the US since the time when they were granted the right to vote in 1920 has significantly improved in many areas, but there are still remnants of the inequality. Looking at the Forbes list of the most powerful women one can see that the USA is very well represented in this list. There are women of various professions, such as CEOs, politicians, actresses, singers, humanitarians, etc. However, being on this list, which is far from the comprehensive representation of women’s situation, does not mean equality.
According to the research group Catalyst, “female MBAs earn, on average, $4,600 less than male MBAs in their first job out of business school. Female physicians earn, on average, 39% less than male physicians. Women financial analysts take in 35% less, and female chief executives one-quarter less” (Rivers and Barnett). This means that there is still a double standard and a glass ceiling that prevents women from advancing in their careers after a certain stage. The instances of women outearning men are rather exceptions than the rule.
The situation of women of other nations is similar, if not worse. In many countries, there is a strong division of gender roles and responsibilities as well as real dangers coming from showing dissent of any kind. Going against the existing ideology often seems like an impossible task for women. A good example is a story of a young girl Malala Yousafzai who has been blogging about her life anonymously in Swat Valley was shot in the head by the Taliban.
Although she has suffered a lot the BBC official who has been in charge of putting her in this position do not regret their decision and Malala agrees with them (Cooke). It is clear from this account that there is still little opportunity for people to speak their minds, let alone express their equal gender rights.
Women’s Role in Modern Society
The sarcastic and provocative essay “I want a wife” written by Judy Brady in 1971 is surprisingly still relevant in the 21st century. The essay is full of adequate descriptions of the women’s responsibilities that are not often acknowledged by their husbands. In an especially emotional part, she describes how a wife should behave when a husband invites his friends to the house.
“When I meet people at school that I like and want to certain, I want a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal, serve it to me and my friends, and not interrupt when I talk about the things that interest me and my friends” (Brady).
It was obvious that a woman is not expected to interrupt the conversation with her opinion and be an invisible fairy that cleans after everybody. Although it might not be as obvious nowadays, such trends exist now even in Western cultures. Apart from earning money and providing equally for her family, a woman is often expected to keep the house clean and be amiable and welcoming to all guests, organizing dinner and activities afterward.
Media and public opinion have nowadays created a picture of a woman who is independent, equal in her rights to a man, and even superior to a man in some respects. However, there are still too many controversies that keep this assertion from being true. The increased number of responsibilities modern women have do not correspond to the rewards they get in return.
There is still a lot to be done for the gender gap to become smaller, and the first step should be stopping the false representation of the current situation through the means of mass media.