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Gender Inequality in the World

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World for women is still veiled within glass. A woman’s survival depends on combating policies that are rooted in systemic sexism. White or black, woman or man, hierarchy in America will prevail. Gender inequality is ubiquitous within the health care and education systems. Women cannot mobilize with the ease men can, because there is a substantial lack of emphasis on the importance of women’s reproductive health and further, their education. Motherhood is permanently tied to a woman’s identity. Without care for women’s reproductive health, women are afforded fewer opportunities and left to embody stereotypical roles as housewives, mothers, and ultimately dependent on men. The lack of access to proper reproductive health services places a hold on women’s mobility within society, because it pedestals motherhood over education.

​In this paper, I will argue that the lack of women’s access to autonomous educational experiences and abortion services in the southern states of America infringe on a woman’s right to live within a social contract which mandates that all people should be able to live peacefully within their means. This lack of access directly affects a woman’s mobility. The cyclical nature of inequality renders a woman who is carrying an unwanted pregnancy fewer options for education, employment, and self-betterment. The lack of women’s access to proper education and abortion services is un-utilitarian by nature, benefitting only those of a specific moral compass. The gender roles in the southern states of America reinforce the idea that women are less than men. These gender roles which impact the educational experience leave women without support in fighting for proper access to abortion. The moral code of a community is justifiable only when the moral code allows for human beings to remain happily. Enacting laws to limit a woman’s right to an abortion violates the utilitarian concept of providing the most good for the most people. Women make up more than half of the United States of America.

​The lack of abortion services in the south de-mobilizes women. This is illustrated by various House Bills on abortion services. The south is home to some of the most extreme House Bills dedicated to enforcing strict abortion laws. These bills make obtaining an abortion in the south, legally, almost impossible for women, especially women in low income areas. These bills require abortion facilities to have full OR stations and often require patients to schedule more than one appointment to complete their abortion, including visits that require an assessment of a patient’s full medical history and a “reflection” period. These measures are specifically designed to limit women from having abortions, which is especially taxing on women who cannot afford to have children. Many women do not have the option to take days off work or have the time to find transportation to abortion clinics, leaving them with zero options. These bills directly affect a woman’s autonomy. Various laws take a woman’s body hostage, thereby infringing upon her right to make decisions without permanent influence.

Generations that lack education over time create communities that are convinced that women are meant to be homebodies. Many educational institutions perpetuate this idea, and women in the southern states of America are subject to propaganda that reinforce the idea that motherhood is not only expected but also inevitable. There is an insufficient emphasis upon women’s education. Bronwyn T. Williams, author of “Girl Power in a Digital World: Considering the Complexity of Gender, Literacy, and Technology,” focuses on how conventional gender roles affect the education of women. He claims that the educational institutions that children spend most their time in shape gender identities. He states that kids are “working nonstop to shape their gender identities in ways that fit the expectations of the institution,” arguing that schools harness the power to change these conventions, but will not, to maintain a society systemically built to cater to men (Williams 301). To support this claim, Williams goes on to argue that patriarchal societies influence education, and he mentions the “paradox of doing well:” in school, girls and boys are both expected to excel in certain areas, but are not encouraged to do well in others. For example, girls are encouraged to collaborate with others, and they are “discouraged from pursuing study in math and science” (Williams 302).

Williams states that literacy education is shaped according to the societal climate. In the southern states of America, women are encouraged to identify with passive roles, serving as a backbone, while men are encouraged to problem solve and re-write the traditional archetype of a knight, as they enact “the …male hero to save the day” attitude into everyday life (Williams 302). Women’s bodies and minds are held captive, governed by legislature that prides itself on upholding morality via women’s reproductive systems. The existence of this cycle perpetuates societal attitudes about women, resulting in the strengthening of a society that favors men. This cycle is only further supported in the workforce, as the wage gap widens within careers over time. One study by Herbert and Stipek asked parents and educators to rate the competency of a third -grade class in STEM subjects. This study found that parents and educators gave boys higher competency rates than girls, even when the girls outperformed the boys. Further, the students rated their own competency, and the study found that the girls gave themselves lower competency rates than boys.

This study indicates that the predicted ratings of parents and educators influenced the children’s judgements of themselves (Herbert and Stipek 280). Not only do schools maintain a patriarchal order when they support these gender norms, they also support the demobilization of women by fostering environments laden with subversive sexism. These environments directly affect women’s autonomy. To remain autonomous, to retain agency in one’s actions and ethical decisions, one must not be subject to systems and ideologies which enact control upon one’s decisions. The House Bills which limit women’s access to abortion, coupled with educational systems which support keeping women sedentary intellectually, not only place control upon women’s decisions but also fail women the right to live by their means. These entities fail women the right to live by her means because they do not allow them to recognize their potential as human agents within a free world.

Mary Wollstonecraft was concerned with analyzing the inequality between men and women. She states that it is not just formal education, but also education in the home that allows society to objectify women. For example, in “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects,” she says that women are not fond of “pretty things” because they are naturally inclined, rather, women must be attracted to these things, because their livelihood depends on it. She states that one can “easily explain women’s…fondness for dress without supposing it to come from a desire to please” (Wollstonecraft 29). Historically, the expectation of a woman was to be an object fit for a man to marry, which directly impacted how she survived. This further fostered the idea that women are incapable of taking care of themselves, rendering them weak and “childlike.” Wollstonecraft believes that both man and woman can reason, but women are actively encouraged to not. Because of the lack of importance on education, women have no way to better themselves and no reason to. Society was structured to accommodate the mobilization of men.

When women do not have the ability to take control of their bodies, they are forced into motherhood when they are not ready or educated enough to mobilize themselves. The lack of education of women initiates the internalization of archetypal stereotypes, priming girls from a young age to stick to a certain status quo. This sexism is extremely present in the southern states of America because of a combination of patriarchal, nationalistic pride and a cycle of internalized incompetency due to a lack of emphasis on education of women. Expectations for genders over generations produce self-fulfilling prophecies, forcing women to not only acknowledge, but to also embody stereotypical, femme characteristics: women feel that to “be woman,” they must also be weak. A woman carrying a pregnancy when she is not ready to is inherently vulnerable. She is subject to the status quo of her society, and the child will receive the residual effects of their mother’s generation and even those before her.

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