Gender issues in the USA

The concept and sex, and especially his studies in psychology and sociology at the present stage. The history of the study of the concepts of masculinity and femininity. Gender issues in Russian society. Gender identity and the role of women in America.

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Popular calls for bringing women back to the families are often painted in rather patriotic colors: they are made to sound like noble attempts to save the nation (in demographic terms) and families (in social sense) from decay. Negative demographic trends of the 90s only warm up such thinking, while it is not taken into account that the population of Russia is just living through another wave of decreasing birth rate. In addition, is the quality, not the quantity of the population, that matters, including the female population. How would it be possible to bring women back to families (this implies not only massive public awareness campaigns and propaganda, but also increased maternity leave and other privileges, reduction of educational and employment programs for women etc.) in the circumstances when more than 13% of families in Russia are one-parent families and 95% of those are headed by women?

The thesis of the freedom of choice between work and family is not well grounded either. Decreasing living standards of many families does not allow even full families with one or two children to survive on the official salaries/wages of parents, so women in those families are forced to work as well.

The problem of double employment (home-professional employment) remains very acute, especially for those women who have to work on the main job, take care of children, elderly and other dependents in the family and along with that to seek secondary employment to feed the family. Since household duties remain fully under responsibilities of women, secondary employment and all additional difficulties it brings also remain a problem for women to face on their own.

Another problem of paramount importance is feminization of poverty. Women are mostly employed in the budget sector of the economy, they comprise a large share of pensioners, they are heads of the absolute majority of singleparent families - all these and some other reasons make women especially vulnerable to poverty in all its forms. Social privileges and benefits inherited by women from the past make them more costly and therefore less desirable as employees. Latent unemployment, barriers to enter the labor market are the features of modern reality for women. Employment barriers related to marital status and age make it more difficult for women to secure their jobs. Legal environment of transition did not allow to overcome either legal or real gender discrimination.

Gender asymmetry in private life is discriminative not only for women but also for men. One of the consequences is pushing men out of the family. For example, after divorce children stay with their mother, while the father does not have real rights to change this situation. Another implication is decreasing life expectancy for men during transition and deterioration of health conditions among men and women.

Economic changes in Russia have been accompanied by restructuring of the previously feminized sectors of the economy such as education, health and social services. These changes have affected not only employment of women but their access to social services including health, child care, pension payment for the elderly. However, despite the structural shortcomings, women have attempted to engage in new income-generating activities in order to keep their families together.

Transition is also accompanied by significant changes in coping strategies, which need to be studied more thoroughly from the gender viewpoint. Some passive and active gender coping strategies are realized by people to solve the problems in life. Differentiation of coping strategies there are also in urban and rural areas. Some social groups have special coping strategies because, for example, female heads of households with small children, and single elderly are more at risk of poverty than others. As our study intends to present some recommendations regarding coping strategies, we included a variety of socio-economic and demographic groups of women in our study in order to better reflect differences in coping strategies and adjustment patterns in transition. These patterns differ between the sexes, even though most of coping strategies used by women are also employed by men (small business, secondary employment etc.), and differences are even more striking between rural and urban areas as well as among different age and social groups.

CHAPTER II. Gender issues in the USA

2.1 Gender identity

A gender identity is the way in which an individual identifies with a gender category, for-example as being either female or male, or in some cases being neither. Basic gender identity is usually formed by age three and is extremely difficult to change after that. All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a social identity in relation to other members of society. In most societies there is a basic division between male and female genders, that are understood to be determined by biological sex, but in all societies some individuals do not identify with the gender that is otherwise associated with their biological sex. Some societies have so-called third gender categories which that can be used as a basis for a gender identity by persons who are uncomfortable with the gender that is usually associated with their sex. Other cultures employ processes of surgical or hormonal sex reassignment to bring people's biological characteristics in line with their gender identity. In other societies membership of either of the gender categories is open to people regardless of biological sex. It is an open question why the gender identities of some people conform or do no not conform to the majority pattern while others may not identify with any of the given gender categories. Whether this differences is a product of nature or nurture has been a contentious topic in the social and biological sciences but it is still an open question whether neurological or genetic factors play a role in determining the gender identities of individuals or whether this can better be explained as the result of social processes.

Self concept or self identity has come to mean how a person understands the way others perceive them. Gender identity does not only refer to the placing of a person into one of the categories male or female; without including the concept of interaction with society at large, for without that, the term has no meaning. People who identify as transsexual may strongly desire that other people consider them to belong to a gender opposite of their karyotype; but often are simply trying to modify their bodies and behaviors to match how they feel inside, which may not have anything to do with being either male or female.

With the development of gender identity being influenced by so many factors, there can also be many problems associated with gender identity as well. One of the major disorders is Gender Identity Disorder. Gender Identity Disorder is defined by strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one's own assigned sex. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (302.85) has five criteria that must be met before a diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) can be made. In gender identity disorder, there is discordance between the natal sex of one's external genitalia and the brain coding of one's gender as masculine or feminine.

Many people consider themselves to be cisgendered, that is, belonging to either the man or woman gender corresponding to their biological sex of male or female. Before the 20th century a person's sex would be determined entirely by the appearance of the genitalia, but as chromosomes and genes came to be understood, these were then used to help determine sex. Those defined as women, by sex, have genitalia that is considered female as well as two X chromosomes; those viewed as men, by sex, are seen as having male genitalia, one X and one Y chromosome. However some individuals have combinations of chromosomes, hormones, and genitalia that do not follow the traditional definitions of men and women. In addition, genitalia vary greatly or individuals may have more than one type of genitalia, and other bodily attributes related to a person's sex (body shape, facial hair, high or deep voice, etc.) may or may not coincide with the social category, as woman or man. A survey of the research literature from 1955-2000 suggests that as many as one in every hundred individuals may have some intersex characteristic. Intersex phenomena are not unique to humans. In a number of species, even more striking examples exist, for instance the bilateral gynandromorphic zebra finch (half-male, half-female body along its symmetry plane).

Transsexual self-identified people sometimes wish to undergo physical surgery to refashion their primary sexual characteristics, secondary characteristics, or both. This may involve removal of penis, testicles or breasts, or the fashioning of a penis, vagina or breasts. Historically, such surgery has been performed on infants who are born with ambiguous genitalia. However, current medical opinion is broadly against genital assignment, shaped to a significant extent by the mature feedback of adults who regret these decisions being made on their behalf at their birth. Gender reassignment surgery elected by adults is also subject to several kinds of debate. One discussion involves the legal sex-gender status of transgender people, for marriage, retirement and insurance purposes, for example. Another involves whether such surgery is ethically sound.

The most easily understood case in which it becomes necessary to distinguish between sex and gender is that in which the external genitalia are removed - when such a thing happens through accident or through deliberate intent, the libido and the ability to express oneself in sexual activity are changed, but the individual's gender identity may or may not change. One such case is that of David Reimer, reported in As Nature Made Him by John Colapinto. It details the persistence of a male gender identity and the stubborn adherence to a male gender role of a person whose penis had been totally destroyed shortly after birth as the result of a botched male circumcision, and who had subsequently been surgically reassigned by constructing female genitalia. In other cases, a person's gender identity may contrast sharply with that assigned to them according to their genitalia, and/or a person's gendered appearance as a woman or man (or an androgynous person, etc.) in public may not coincide with their physical sex. So the term gender identity is broader than the sex of the individual as determined by examination of the external genitalia, but also includes the sex or gender one identifies with mentally.

Misunderstandings involving cultural norms relating to gender interaction can have severe consequences for the business. We offer suggestions on gender etiquette for employees moving to the US. Unrealistic expectations about American workplace culture can harm business. Often, when companies import specialists to the US on assignment, the transferees have no time to adjust to a new set of rules and socially acceptable behaviour. Socially acceptable behaviour varies across cultures what holds right in one society may not be so in another.

Gauging acceptability

Consider this passage by Laura Klos-Sokol, cited in Riall W. Nolan's book Communicating and Adapting Across Cultures:

Imagine a professional meeting beginning like this: a woman enters an office and introduces herself, extending her hand to shake only to have him kiss it. Next, he helps her off with her coat and takes her by the arm to usher her over to a chair three feet away. This is the Polish way: she could sue for it in the United States.

Many times I have encountered similar behaviour in my native Armenia. This was part of good manners and was considered 'classy' behaviour. In some cultures, males are expected to be dominant and gallant. On the other hand, when I first experienced the American 'bear hug' in Armenia with a man from the US, it made me very uncomfortable and I was relieved that my fellow countrymen were not there to witness such a gesture.

Expats who have been sent to the US must consider the unspoken rules of gender interaction accepted in this country. Not knowing the rules may have a traumatic effect and even be dangerous from a legal perspective the employer may be sued for sexual harassment. On the other hand, a female student of mine from northern Brazil once told me how she missed that whistle of admiration or tease, I thought from the men when she would pass by.

It may be normal in some northern Brazilian workplaces to whistle when an attractive woman passes by, but whistling is not something you would expect a man to do in the American workplace, even if you are Sophia Loren or Miss America. Men in Italy are notorious for whistling at attractive women in such a manner that would make many American construction workers blush. Italian, Brazilian, and Armenian women may not take offence at such behaviour and may even take it as expression of appreciation. As a rule, however, professional women in the US do not appreciate it. It can be very disturbing and threatening for North American women and they may deem it inappropriate and discriminatory. As a nation, Americans are committed to equal rights for women. For this reason, women are expected to be treated as equal to men.

Sexual harassment

Many countries throughout the world have laws guarding against sexual harassment in the workplace. However, different nations have different interpretations of them. That is why I define sexual harassment in my book, Ameri$peak, as inappropriate from an American standpoint behaviour when interacting with the opposite sex.

In the business world, lack of information about etiquette and unspoken rules on gender interaction and norms can create misunderstandings crucial for an individual success. Consider the following job interview situation, adapted from the book How to Get a Job in the USA:

Olga Petrovskaya did not understand why it took so long for her to get a job in America. She had graduated with honours from the top technical school in Ukraine, Kharkiv Polytechnic.

She had been the most valuable information technology (IT) manager in a very successful Ukrainian jewellery manufacturing plant for the last two years. When her family moved to the US, she was not worried at all about the transition. Her English, she thought, was fairly good and her profession was in great demand in America.

But things did not proceed as smooth as she had anticipated. Potential employers were impressed with her credentials, as well as her rsum, which she had created with the help of an American friend. However, even though she went to many interviews, she did not receive any job offers.

She could not understand why. She replayed her most recent interview in her mind again and again. Yes, she wore her best dress, the one with a little lace collar and buttons down the back; it went perfectly well with her new red patent leather shoes with silver buckles. She recalled that the recruiter, a man, seemed somewhat strange to her: he extended his hand for a handshake first. 'How rude, ' thought Olga. Should he not wait until she, a woman, extended hers first? Then he had smiled at her throughout the interview. Did that mean he fancied her? She tried to avoid his eyes and maintain a very sombre expression so that he did not get any ideas.

Clearly, those who are being relocated internationally need to understand gender issues. The following are some suggestions:

Consider the possibility that you actually have a problem. Do not assume that because expats travel a lot, they know the protocol in each and every country. Instead, ask your relocating employers to give their views on the role of women and men and how they are perceived in their cultures of origin. Never assume that your expats know the intricacies of gender interaction in the US or you will have a problem or even potentially face legal complications.

Think about getting a professional to conduct a training programme to set expectations about American workplace culture. I found this helps companies address gender issues.

2.2 Gender role of women in America

Gender roles refers to the set of social and behavioral norms that are considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex in the context of a specific culture, which differ widely between cultures and over time. There are differences of opinion as to whether observed gender differences in behavior and personality characteristics are, at least in part, due to cultural or social factors, and therefore, the product of socialization experiences, or to what extent gender differences are due to biological and physiological differences.

The physical specialization of the sexes is considered to be the distal cause of the gender roles. Men's unique physical advantages in term of body size and upper body strength provided them an edge over women in those social activities that demanded such physical attributes such as hunting, herding and warfare. On the other hand, women's biological capacity for reproduction and child-bearing is proposed to explain their limited involvement in other social activities. Such divided activity arrangement for the purpose of achieving activity-efficiency led to the division of labor between sexes. Social role theorists have explicitly stressed that the labor division is not narrowly defined as that between paid employment and domestic activities, rather, is conceptualized to include all activities performed within a society that are necessary for its existence and sustainability. The characteristics of the activities performed by men and women became people's perceptions and beliefs of the dispositional attributes of men or women themselves. Through the process of correspondent, division of labor led to gender roles, or gender stereotype. Ultimately, people expect men and women who occupy certain position to behave according to these attributes.

These socially constructed gender roles are considered to be hierarchical and characterized as a male-advantaged gender hierarchy. The activities men involved in were often those that provided them with more access to or control of resources and decision making power, rendering men not only superior dispositional attributes via correspondence bias, but also higher status and authority as society progressed. The particular pattern of the labor division within a certain society is a dynamic process and determined by its specific economical and cultural characteristics. For instance, in an industrial economy, the emphasis on physical strength in social activities becomes less compared with that in a less advanced economy. In a low birth rate society, women will be less confined to reproductive activities and thus more likely to be involved in a wide range of social activities. The beliefs that people hold about the sexes are derived from observations of the role performances of men and women and thus reflect the sexual division of labor and gender hierarchy of the society.

The consequences of gender roles and stereotypes are sex-typed social behavior because roles and stereotypes are both socially shared descriptive norms and prescriptive norms. Gender roles provide guides to normative behaviors that are typical, ought-to-be and thus likely effective for each sex within certain social context. Gender roles also depict ideal, should-be, and thus desirable behaviors for men and women who are occupying a particular position or involving in certain social activities. Put is another way, men and women, as social beings, strive to belong and seek for approval by complying and conforming to the social and cultural norms within their society. The conformity to social norms not only shapes the pattern, but also maintains the very existence of sex-typed social behavior.

In summary, social role theory treats these differing distributions of women and men into roles as the primary origin of sex-differentiated social behavior, their impact on behavior is mediated by psychological and social processes, including developmental and socialization processes, as well as by processes involved in social interaction (e.g., expectancy confirmation) and self-regulation.

For approximately the last 100 years women have been fighting for the same rights as men (especially around the turn from 19th to 20th century with the struggle for women's suffrage and in the 1960s with second-wave feminism and radical feminism) and were able to make changes to the traditionally accepted feminine gender role. However, most feminists today say there is still work to be done.

Numerous studies and statistics show that even though the situation for women has improved during the last century, discrimination is still widespread: women earn an average of 77 cents to every one dollar men earn (The Shriver Report, 2009), occupy lower-ranking job positions than men, and do most of the housekeeping work. There are several reasons for the wage disparity. Studies have indicated that many jobs that were traditionally perceived as masculine usually have longer hours, necessitate long periods of exposure to the elements, are higher risk, and require a fair amount of physical strength.

A recent (October 2009) report from the Center for American Progress, The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything tells us that women now make up 48% of the US workforce and mothers are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in a majority of families (63.3%, see figure 2, page 19 of the Executive Summary of The Shriver Report).

A recent article in The New York Times indicated that gender roles are still prevalent in many upscale restaurants. A restaurant's decor and menu typically play into which gender frequents which restaurant. Whereas Cru, a restaurant in New York's, Greenwich Village, decorated in clubby brown tones and distinguished by a wine list that lets high rollers rack up breathtaking bills, attracts more men than women, places like Mario Batali's, Otto, serves more women than men, as a result that the restaurant has been designed to be more approachable, with less swagger. Servers of both men and women at the same table still often go with the assumption that the male is the go-to person, as far as who receives the check and makes the wine decisions, but this appears to be a trend that is being used with more caution, especially with groups of younger people. Restaurants that used to cater to more men or women are now also trying to change their decor in the hopes of attracting broader equity.

Sociology is the study of cultures, and tries to understand how people act in a societal sense, rather than on an individual level. No culture is perfect, and each has both good and bad spots in its social structures and forces. The American culture honors and takes pride in the notions of democracy and justice for all, but it is not always applicable to everyone. Though throughout the ages racism has been substantially curbed and class structure is now nothing like the middle ages of Europe, there are still significant and extensive improvements to be achieved. Currently, the one of the most troublesome problems of this day is the modern gender, which is probably most famously epitomized in the post-war years of the 1950's. Though women are no longer seen as being only capable of a homemaker, modern gender is still a problem because it has very rigid and specific gender roles the one must conform to, and also is extremely degrading to the majority of the population - women.

There have been vast changes in women's rights in the last century. After fighting for years and years, endless picketing and jail sentences, women were finally given the right to vote on a national level. The later 1800's showed women exactly how lowly valued they were out of the home in the public sphere by granting the newly freed male slaves the right to vote, while women's efforts of political power were stifled and suppressed. For the entire history of this country women have found that rights which were automatically granted for men required an exhaustingly large amount of fighting to obtain for themselves. It is preposterous that the role of women had be devalued so much that they were not allowed to do what we now consider basic things such as receiving an education, holding jobs that did not involve children, or even own property. Though now women are able to earn college degrees, have careers, own property, vote, or even run for political positions themselves, there are still countless gender inequalities. Children are submitted to gender roles pretty much from the moment they are born. Baby showers involve a sea of pastel blues for boys and soft, delicate pink for girls. Female children are given dolls and doll houses and other cute toys, and are expected to play house, nurture and take care of their dolls, and play dress-up, while male children are typically given things such as G.I. Joes, sports equipment, and toy cars. In our beloved fairy tales women (unless evil) are increasingly beautiful, youthful, probably of royal blood, and often in need of help-which is usually because she is either oppressed by a man, or needs a man to save her. It is never another woman who saves the beautiful princess. Although there are female heroines in fairy tales, they compose almost an invisible minority of the stories. Different social messages are sent through these simple things of clothing colors, toys, and stories: For girls it's to be delicate, beautiful, and nurturing, while boys learn the need to be tough and athletic. As a result of this constant reinforcement of the modern gender, by age five children have a fairly comprehensive understanding of the modern gender and the roles which they are expected to conform. The mass media often objectifies women and in turn devaluates them. The women of Hollywood, catwalks, magazines, screens, and billboards are more often than not extremely thin, young, and beautiful, with a perfectly sculpted curvaceous frame. They are objectified for not only their bodies, but for parts of their bodies. They are often silenced by their hands over their mouths, passive positions, or composed as sexual objects. They are photographed in studios, with hours of makeup and hair styling by an army of cosmeticians and hairdressers, while the lighting specialists and camera crew set up their fancy equipment. During the shooting session they are endlessly retouched, and after the shoot is done they are touched up and again and again digitally. Pores and imperfections disappear, and all that is left is a perfection that is impossible to achieve. As former Supermodel Cindy Crawford said, Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford. Nonetheless, women strive endlessly to achieve the impossible ideal of beauty personified by the silver screens and glossy pages. Teenage girls' esteem plummets about when they turn 13, in part from these impossibly perfect images of beauty with surrounds them. Those feelings of inadequacy almost always lead to depression, and an alarming rate of girls develop eating disorders sometime in their lives. That number is also getting higher as the age of onset slides lower and lower. Though it may be a bit harsh to blame it solely on the media, they do definitely play a role. And although the aesthetic ideal for mean consists of fitness, muscles, and athletic ability, it seems that women are obliged to compromise their health and naturalness for beauty with layers of makeup, hair gel, tanning, surgical procedure, never-ending-diets, designer clothes and a plethora of many more things. Unfortunately, it is very hard to avoid the media, as it is everywhere: from the TV even if watching the news, to the airwaves, the magazine racks on the checkout line, or the billboards on the way to work. It is almost as if it is an inescapable omniscient force. Unfortunately, the omniscient force has a tendency to send messages to women about how they are never good enough.

Though there are more women in higher education than males, and more and more women pursuing careers than ever before, the work place is still largely male dominated. There is an inverse relationship between the number of women in a field of work, and the amount of compensation for it. In other words, as the ratio of women in a field increases, the average paycheck decreases. A few decades ago most secretaries were men, but now that they are predominately women the salary has declined rapidly. Men in a predominately female field are usually promoted faster, while the opposite is true of women in male dominated fields. These things send women another message of inadequacy as it implies that her work is not as good as a man's, solely because she was born of the wrong gender. Women who have full time careers also do most of the housework, also known as the second shift, such as the typical modern culture chores of cooking, cleaning, laundry and childrearing. If a couple decides to raise a family, it is almost always the woman who sacrifices some or even all of her career to take care of the child. It is almost expected for the woman to sacrifice her own career goals, at least temporarily, to raise a child if there is a plan to start a family while men usually continue their working lives as usual. These inequalities are very hard to just fix, as they've been taught to us since we were born, and there are constant reminders of social expectations of modern gender everywhere. From a sociological mindful view, though, there are ways to make these inequalities more just, and perhaps eventually be in perfect balance. Children should not be enforced so much of gender roles. Parents should buy them both male and female oriented toys, read them stories with an equal number of heroes and heroines, and try to reinforce as much as possible that the child does not have to conform to the modern gender, but can be anything they want. If all parents started doing this with their children, the next generation would be substantially more gender-balanced. As for the mass media and the workplace, it's even trickier, but there may be a couple things done. The mass media could stop or reduce the amount of objectification of women, or the general public could ignore it and stop responding to it. Either way, the media industry will change, and hopefully become less degrading to women. Along with ignoring or not responding to the media, there needs to be a development of confidence and self-acceptance with acts as a shield against messages of negative worth. In the workplace, women need to push for equal wages, and be paid the same as the others in their job status regardless of gender. Also, the glass ceiling is in need of a good shattering. Couples also should share the responsibility of raising a child; Each of them should sacrifice an equal amount of time from their careers for the sake of their family. Household chores should also be shared between the two partners equally. If only society would adhere to changes like these, it could be a lot more equal for the future.

2.3 Gender equality in America

An examination of gender inequality in the United States reveals some telling reminders that our nation is not as equitable as it could be. Though gender inequality has come a long way in the twentieth century, it is apparent that there is still a long way to go. While females have made progress and nearly attained equity in such arenas as education, areas such as income and political representation remain heavily slanted towards the males of our nation.

A 2000 U.S. Census Bureau report shows that women have almost achieved parity in education. In 1999, the same percentage of men and women in the U.S. graduated from high school. The percentage of women who completed a bachelor's degree was 23.7 percent, compared with 27.5 percent of men. While this study shows women slightly behind men in the completion of bachelor's degrees, these results demonstrate a marked improvement over the last thirty to forty years.

For instance, in 1970 the number of women who attained a bachelor's degree was 8.2 percent of the population, compared with 14.2 percent of men. By 1980, the percentage of women had risen to 13.6 percent compared to 20.9 percent of men. This trend clearly demonstrates that the educational status of men and women are leveling out, and studies that are more recent have shown that females have now overtaken males in the completion of bachelor's degrees.

While these educational statistics do demonstrate that gender equality is increasing, it has not translated to real world results. The median income in 2000 for females with a high school diploma was $21,963, compared to $30,868 for males with a high school diploma. Females with bachelor's degrees earned $35,408 in 2000, compared with $49,982 for males.

Women in the United States are also more likely to be in poverty than their male counterparts. 29 percent of households led by single females are below the poverty level, as compared with just 12 percent of households led by single males. These statistics can be attributed to several causes, but one of the primary ones is that females are still predominately employed in traditional female jobs, such as service occupations and administrative support.

The most effective way to gauge gender inequality in the United States is to compare it with other nations around the world. A comparison of the workforce statistics from a study by the World Bank Group between the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, and Mexico reveals that the statistics between the U.S., U.K. and Sweden are nearly identical. Sweden has 47 percent females in its workplace, compared with 46 percent for the U.S. and the U.K. Mexico, however, has much lower percentage, with 35 percent females in the work place.

Perhaps one of the most telling statistics used to gauge the status of women in any society is the percent of representation they have in the government. There are some surprising facts revealed from this category. For instance, in 2004 the United States had only 14 percent of its elected legislative positions held by women. The United Kingdom had a slightly higher percentage of women in office with 18 percent. Mexico, however, had 23 percent, while Sweden boasts the highest of the group, with 45 percent of its elected legislative offices held by women. When considering that women make up over 50 percent of the population in all of these nations, the lack of political representation is somewhat shocking.

It is clear from examining these statistics that there is no one pat answer that explains gender inequality throughout the world. For instance, one possible explanation for Sweden's 45 percent female legislature would be that Sweden has historically been considered more socially advanced than the U.S., the U.K, or Mexico. This line of reasoning does not stand up under examination; however, as the workforce and income statistics for Swedish females are nearly identical to those of the U.S.

It is the same case with Mexico's low percentage of females in the workplace. This could perhaps be explained by Mexico's low gross national product, or the fact that the familial unit, with stay at home mothers, is more entrenched in Mexico than it is in more industrialized nations. This line of reasoning also fails under examination because Mexico has more female political representation than either the U.K. or the U.S.

It is clear that a combination of factors, economical, sociological, and historical are behind the continuation of gender inequality around the world. Historically, man has been entrenched as the dominant gender for thousands of years. The one undeniable aspect of gender inequality around the world is that it is still a long way off. While the progress that has been made in the twentieth century is impressive, when viewed in a historical context, true gender equality has not yet been attained.

The United States was ranked 31st in the 2009 Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum. This places the United States far below most European and industrialized countries. The pay gap between men and women is considerable and higher than the OECD average and political participation of women at higher levels of government remains low, despite the important increases of female heads of department under the current administration Commitment to gender equality is evident, however, through legislation passed in the 60s and 70s protecting women's rights, and there remains great activism amongst women's organizations to improve the rights and opportunities for women of all ethnic and racial backgrounds. The United States has never ratified CEDAW. Opponents of ratification have argued that ratification would relinquish too much power to the international community as treaty provisions would supercede United States law and would force the US to legalize prostitution; since 2002, however, the Bush administration stated that ratification would be desirable and has received support from relevant government committees. The United States has enacted the following legislation to address issues of gender discrimination: the 1963 federal Equal Pay Act, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the passage of Title VII and IX of the Education Amendments in the early 1970s.


At 21.6%, the pay gap between men and women in the United States is high, and higher than the OECD average. Women are relatively well-represented in the labor market, with a female participation rate of 65.6%. According to the US Census Bureau, 1.1 million women work in educational services, health care and social assistance industries. About 37% of women work in management, professional and related occupations. Of these, 37 percent worked in management, professional and related occupations. The median annual earnings of women 16 or older who worked year-round, full time, in 2005 was $32,168. The median income in 2000 for females with a high school diploma was $21,963, compared to $30,868 for males with a high school diploma. Females with bachelor's degrees earned $35,408 in 2000, compared with $49,982 for males.


A 2000 U.S. Census Bureau report shows that women have almost achieved parity in education. In 1999, the same percentage of men and women in the U.S. graduated from high school. The percentage of women who completed a bachelor's degree was 23.7 percent, compared with 27.5 percent of men. There appears to be an upward trend for women in tertiary education: in 1970 the number of women who attained a bachelor's degree was 8.2 percent of the population, compared with 14.2 percent of men. By 1980, the percentage of women had risen to 13.6 percent compared to 20.9 percent of men.

Political Empowerment

Women in New Jersey received the right to vote as early as 1790, but this was overturned by 1807. All women received the right to vote in 1920 with the enactment of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Women's votes were a significant factor in President Barack Obama's victory, with a sizable gender gap evident in the election results, according to an analysis of exit poll data by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. White women voted 56% for Obama, 43% for McCain. In the 2009 Congress, women held 90, or 16.8%, of the 535 seats; 17, or 17.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 73, or 16.8%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Key female appointments made by President Obama were: Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State.


In the 20th century, in 1963 was published a book by Betty Friedan, called Feminine Mistique. In it she attacked the injustices women had to deal with because of the passive roles of housewives and dependence on males. In 1966 The National Organization for Women was founded. The time between 1920's and 1980's was the time of the second wave of the feminist movement, the time when the American females participated the most in the global feminist movement. It had its results: for instance, one of the most intensely developing segment of US Economy now is women-owned business, college enrollment of women is near that of men etc. But still the gender issue is still very much a live issue in the USA today. An example of this may be the fact that women are not represented equally in all professions, the overall market remains sharplysegregated by gender.

Originally, feminism was about giving a woman a perspective in social and any other area of life, from which she was excluded. But nowadays, many women who support the ideas of feminism do not want to be labeled as feminists. One of the main reasons for that lies in the 70's, when feminism came to be perceived as simply anti-family, anti-marriage, anti-children, and perhaps even anti-religion, not to mention anti-men. Feminism presented the family as a kind of prison, with a working career on the outside as a kind of freedom.

Many feminist movement activists are trying to change that image. One of them is Angela McRobbie, who, in her book, said the old binary opposition which put femininity at one end of the political spectrum and feminism at the other is no longer an accurate way of conceptualizing young female experience.. Of course, the whole body of the feminist movement doesn't solely consist of those somewhat rival groups - radical feminists and liberal feminists (so-called pod feminists). Besides them exists womanism, which distinct from feminism is often white-centered history, an alternative casting of the same basic beliefs about equality and freedom; few womanists would deny the link to feminism. Individualist Feminism (ifeminism - as it's often called) is a part of the feminist movement too. There's also an interesting movement called Riot Grrrl which can be claimed a part of a feminist movement. Joanne Gottlieb and Gayle Wald, in their book Smells Like Teen Spirit: Riot Grrrls, Revolution and Women in Independent Rock describe Riot Grrrl as: the introduction of self-conscious feminism into rock discourse and activity. In 1990's such bands as Bikini Kill and the Hole promoted an image of self-conscious, artistic and also attractive female on stage and fought with stereotypes of rock music as a genre ruled only by men. Nowadays the Riot Girl movement is on the wave again with bands like Sleater Kinney, Le Tigre etc. There are many magazines devoted to the feministic movement and even a worldwide festival, called Ladyfest, where only the bands, supporting the philosophy of feminism, play. Looking back, the American feminists may say how much they've achieved: women were given the equal rights with men and they are having high-paid jobs, conquering new fields. But still the attitude of the society towards working mothers, businesswomen etc. is a subject to change. Although the rights were given, many men still see women as housewives. At the same time, due to the opened career possibilities, women delaying having kids and marriage which lowered the birth rate. But feminism has undoubtly achieved its main goal - women now can decide what they want to do with their lives.


1. Acker, J 2000, `Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations', in M Kimmel with A. Aronson, The Gendered Society Reader, Oxford University Press, New York.

2. Auer, M.R. (1999) Women, the environment, and development assistance. International Politics, 36: 373-396.

3. Babette Francis, Gender bending: let me count the ways, 21 March 2011

4. Chant. S. The `feminisation of poverty' and the `feminisation' of anti-poverty programmes: Room for revision? Journal of development studies, 2008

5. David M Buss, The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy is as Necessary as Love and Sex, (New York: Free Press, 2000

6. Gender and the MDGS. Overseas Development Institute. September 2008

7. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Thinking Gender. New York & London: Routledge, 1990.

8. Glover, D & Kaplan, C 2000, Genders, Routledge, New York.

9. Joan Roughgarden, Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People, University of California Press, 2004

10. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, 1999

11. Lepowsky, Maria. Fruit of the Motherland: Gender in an Egalitarian Society. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993

12. Lerro, Bruce Power in Eden: The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World, 2005

13. Leslie E. Orgel, 'The Origin of Life on the Earth', Scientific American October, 1994.

14. Lorber, J & Farrell, S (eds.) 1991, The Social Construction of Gender, Sage, Newbury Park.

15. Michael Abrams, 'The Real Story on Gay Genes: Homing in on the science of homosexuality-and sexuality itself', Discover June (2007).

16. Ridley-Duff, R.J. (2010) Emotion, Seduction and Intimacy: Alternative Perspectives on Human Behaviour (Third Edition), Seattle: Libertary Editions

17. Steven Goldberg, Why Men Rule, Chicago, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, 1993

18. Wearing, B 1996, Gender: The Pain and Pleasure of Difference, Longman, Melbourne.

19. Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM)


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