Someone once asked me a question that I have struggled to answer. Although it was simply asked, the answer was nothing but complex- what is the difference between a man and a woman? Such a loaded question when you think of it. We have come so far in society to where we now allow females to run for president. But the opportunity is much different for a woman than it is a man. How so? To be specific, men and women are not equal when it comes to many things, such as dictations of gender roles in households, unequal pay in the workplace, and gender inequality in political circles.
One of the articles I read, discusses the gender differences in society and its effect on women today. Carli’s (1999) article addresses the constant power struggle in society in her work called, , Gender, Interpersonal Power, and Social Influence. The sociological question in this article is whether men possess higher levels of power than women. How is it that a man can hold the same position as a woman, in the same company, having earned the same degree, yet the dollar amount the male earns is seemingly higher than the woman’s, even though it is the same amount of work? As a society, we have been conditioned to believe that the amount of effort and work women put into their jobs is less valuable than that of a man’s.
More women are attending college and getting degrees, yet our progress since the women’s right movement has been so minimal. Society is more focused on the gender role of an individual rather than the holistic view of unfair pay in the workforce. We are conditioned to believe that men are dominant and in the words of Ray Charles, “This is a man’s world”. Aims of this article is to demonstrate that women that are competent are less influential, especially in comparison to men because of the lack of support women face. Another article I will cover is, The Personal and Social Correlates of Gender Difference, by Bernice Lott.
Lott discusses the relationship between gender and the widespread influence of gender differences. The article talks about different criteria, such as personal experiences, family lives, paid employment, social interactions, and challenges to a gender-difference ideology. I will also be reviewing the article, Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, By Sanji Kelly and Julia Breslin. This article specifically targets Middle Eastern population and assesses the unfair treatment of women socially. Kelly and Breslin (2010), discuss many factors, such as economic rights and equal opportunities, autonomy, security, freedom of the person’s, and social as well as cultural rights. The last article I will be addressing is Gender, Ethnicity, and Power, by Felicia Pratto and Penelope Espinoza. Authors introduce the theories of inequality, relationships of gender role, power of gender roles, and introduce the idea behind “group-based forms”. Do men possess higher levels of power than women? In Carli’s article, Gender, Interpersonal power, and Social Influence, the social influence tends to focuses on “serious social issue, the relative inequalities in social power between men and women.
” Many people assume men have more competence than women do, even those women that are seen to be competent, are less influential than men because men demand more legitimate power than women do. Carli states that legitimate power can be viewed as form of “entitlement”, that a person who holds legitimate power has the right to use influence over others as well as gaining their respect and expect their deference. Carli also states that on average, women do not command the respect and authority that men do.
They also are not seen to use legitimate power as much as men are seen to. This article tell that in group interactions, a women is not considered as needy as a man is in groups. As a result of that, ideas of women tend to be ignored and will be given less of an opportunity to participate and resist her attempts at influence.There are widely shared beliefs about differences between women and men. The interests, competencies, and roles that are viewed differently are ubiquitous. In Lott’s article, The personal and Social Correlates of a Gender Difference Ideology, presents challenges to a gender difference ideology.
One sentence that stood out to me is “Women and men are equally different but not equally powerful…” The beliefs we share about gender are learned early and are tough to change due to the reinforcement of our society. The reinforcements are structured by arrangements that support and demand them, and also by self-fulfilling prophecies. Those are the attributes of stereotypes.
Women are known to do the domestic family work of household chores and childcare, while men who are fathers are defined by the provider role and by their employment. This article states that wives, across ethnic groups in the united states, are responsible for more housework and child care hours per week than their husbands, regardless of employment status and regardless of financial contribution to the household. This article also states that the consequences of this division of labor has been explored by Silverstein, who notes that men’s failures to assume equal responsibility in the private world is “One of the most significant impediments to equality for women in the public word.” When it comes to limiting their paid work commitments, mothers are usually the ones to do sacrifice more than the fathers would, which leads to women showing differences with fathers in job experiences as we as skills and earnings.
Lott’s article demonstrates a four-year study that had a role play of men in child care occupations where they complete a small minority between three and six percent of workers. The findings were that men are less likely to be employed as direct caregivers and more likely to be directors or administrations, due to men hardly being found employed as caregivers. This showed that women’s presence is taken for granted and men are highly valued and receive more praise and positive feedback than their women companions.
Kelly’s and Breslin’s article, Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa Caught my attention because it’s something that I relate to being Middle Eastern. This article identifies a complex set of obstacles that prevent women from enjoying the full range of political, civil, economic, and legal rights. That is because in the Middle East, men are basically more dominant than women in everything, and because of that, women are left to stay at home, not work, to stay with their children. The study of this article indicates that certain gains have been made in recent years, providing grounds for cautious confidence. Because of the cautious confidence, women aren’t able to show their full potential, as they are always looked down by men being so dominant. In Pratto’s and Espinoza’s article, Gender, Ethnicity, and Power, states that men charge forceful systems that manage social hierarchy and women have more obligations to the home than men do. What makes this article different than the other articles is it focuses more on the public power rather than the influence that women over men in the home.
Power is prestige because it leads to the valuable reputation that gives legitimacy, the respect, and the attention that we strive for. It is said repeatedly that men are powerful than are women, that even if men and women have the same qualifications, “colleges students and businesspeople prefer men for hierarchy-enhancing jobs and women for hierarchy-attenuating jobs, even within occupation.” This topic has impacted me in more ways than one.
Its importance lies in the simple fact that our world is changing yet our gender-related beliefs are not. As I was thinking about what topic to choose for this paper, I remembered a movie I recently watched, called Why Did I Get Married? In this movie, there was a certain part that resonated with me because of it’s gender-biased view. The husband and wife were fighting because the husband told his wife that she needs to quit her job to take care of the kids while he works. Because she was a female, her husband insisted that she follow societal rules and become a homemaker. We have made it acceptable to view women in this way. But why is it that men can’t take on the role of a stay-at-home while the wife is working? We have created such a stigma around working mothers, and a stereotype surrounding stay-at-home dads.
This reminds me of a song by Beyoncé, an R&B artist, I was listening to recently. A memorable quote read. How powerful are those words?! Upon hearing it, I was inspired yet upset. This is why I selected this article; because I can relate a lot to gender inequality. Being Egyptian, my culture has taught me that men are the “breadwinners” and women are the homemakers. Women that seem to have power attempt to hide their femininity so that the “lack of power” is also hidden. It’s a coping strategy in our society and viewed as a way to “stay out of the man’s eye”. We have convinced ourselves that we are getting better and that things are changing for women in the United States.
However, we feel threatened when we hear that a woman is running for president. We judge her intentions by her biological features, stating that if she was to menstruate, she might send us to war. Yet we are strong enough to bear children, become successful students, and raise the man’s ego in this country, even when their intention is to beat ours down. Those are the reasons as to why I chose this topic.
I am afraid to bring a daughter into this world of gender and racial hatred. With that said, what’s next?