Women have been sidelined in the past as well as at the present. Degrading can occur in several ways. This issue of looking down upon women has been under great discussions. Some of the causes of this are the role of a woman in the society and her weak nature as stipulated by culture and religion. Society plays a great role in the oppression of women. Women have been socialized to be weak at all times and men to be strong and this has resulted to women segregation. Women have also suffered from discriminations in employment, politics, marriage, and media among others. Women degradation has been practiced way back in history as it is today though there are measures underway fighting for women’s rights.
Reasons for women degradation
The way women are perceived and treaded in many societies is based on several factors. Some of the reasons are based on Christianity where a woman is seen as the originator of sin on earth, following biblical account of creation and lives of Adam and Eve. St. Jerome said that a woman is the door of the devil and that she is the road where wickedness treads (AC 1). Women have also been seen to be the weaker sex and what men can do, women cannot do and if they do, no one believes that they can do better. When dealing with activities which need masculine power, women are usually sidelined. Men do not view such jobs like baby sitting, milking or cooking as worth involving. This is why they still discriminate women even in place of work. Unlike what men think, research show that women are able to endure pain much more compared to men. Women are also able to live for long when compared to men.
Another major reason which makes men degraded is that they say cultural constructions have confined women to the kitchen only. The motherhood roles have been a hindrance to many women especially in their pathways of career. Historical employment trends reveal that most women take up roles which are perceived to be related to kitchen and general housekeeping. For example most women will be employed to serve tea, general cleaning, secretaries, and other roles which are closely tied to motherhood. Still in motherhood, the bill of abortion shows that women are degraded because their lives are at risk. Owing to their biological roles, women are perceived to be dependant on men. In the past a man in America counted his wife and his children as objects and counted them as part of his properties (Isernberg 167).
The expectations put in place by the society of how a beautiful woman should look like is one of the reasons that have brought about the oppression of women. The norms which expect a woman to behave in a certain manner do not restrict a man over the same. A man has the freedom doing as he wishes yet the girl child or a woman has boundaries.
Poverty has also played a major role on the discrimination of the black American women (Meeks 1).This has led women to give in to exploitation by sex hungry men. For the black race, females attribute most of their degradation to bitter memories of slavery, unemployment and their failure to attain education. Approximately 1,000 black women as reported by the U.S Department of Justice Reports, suffer from domestic violence. Most of these victims are in the bracket of twelve years (Meeks 1). Shockingly, those who are in the bracket of 15 to 34 years are killed either by their husbands or by their lovers.
Areas of Discrimination
Women have been fighting so hard to be granted their rights of voting. They were granted voting rights in the past century, after centuries of degradation. In fact, American women have suffered fighting for voting rights. Some went as far as being jailed while other were physically tortured or divorced from their husbands. In the past, it was shocking to learn that the Government was more than willing to allow male slaves who had been released to vote but not women (AC 1). This led women to demand for their voting rights in a society claiming equality for all people.
In the past, American women were denied several rights including the right to be educated or to own property. Women were not granted the right to get employment. Today, women have been granted the right to education, ownership of properties, and others which in a way puts them on the same footing as men, although there is a lot to be achieved. The number of women in the parliament shows the fact that women are degraded even in leadership.
The media is one of the tools which have been used to degrade a woman. Various magazines show women nakedness, billboards used to advertise products have used women and women have been posted exposing their bodies. They are normally portrayed a sex objects and yet men if used in adverts rarely are they portrayed having exposed their nakedness like women. The expectation of women to be beautiful for their husbands or to the media has caused them health problems. Media construction of modern beautiful woman portrays a thin woman. Women spend their time daily putting up makeup and this has led to the struggle that women have had to be up to date with fashion (AC 1). Other, especially teenagers has resulted to psychological behaviors like bulimia to slim down and achieve the figure of a beautiful woman. In most case, this comes with adverse health effects.
It is surprising to learn that as much as many women have studied in America, the work places are flooded with men. This shows that women are still discriminated. It is also shown that places where majority of workers are women, salary is low compared to same employment in other places. It is also a fact that there are some laws in some states which prevent women from engaging in jobs. For example, there are laws regulating women on the amount of load they can lift and this restrict them on career choice (Steel 143). Other laws also stipulate that women should not work for more than eight hours. This becomes a limiting factor especially for those who would wish to work overtime. There have been disparities also in some careers. For example in the early 1989, the percentage of women lawyers was 22 and those in engineering was 7.5 while some careers like teaching carried many women. There are careers which women dominate including secretarial, clerical and typing related jobs (Steel 143).
In the past, most of the jobs which required decision making discriminated on women. In addition, married women did not receive good treatment from their bosses, they could be easily deployed or were not permanently employed stating that they had no job security. This was a common feature in the 1960’s in the States of America’s as traditionally constructed gender roles were slowly merging with the assertive demands from women rights movements.
In America, when people decide to get married and they are blessed to have a child, it is usually the woman who is forced to sacrifice her career for the sake of the child. The mother is forced to sacrifices her career to take care of the newborn. In areas where women dominate in a certain career, men who work with them tend to rise faster than them in promotion. This is degrading to women who might be committed to their careers. This might be interpreted as inefficiency by some of the women or that nobody cares about their efforts. Men promotion is not done out of good job performance but mostly because of gender.
It is about 30years since women were integrated into some careers like the army. Yet, most Americans still believe that the army is reserved for men and there are military rules that segregate women from fighting in the battlefront. Most people consider this wrong especially those who have practically supervised women in military. For example Colonel Johnson claims that it is good for women and that it won’t be right for them to be discriminated in this career. This has brought about several mixed feelings in many people especially with the war in Iraq which has led to tremendous loss of life attributed to American women soldiers (AC 1).
Law has been discriminatory on women. For instance, it was reported that in the 1960’s there were laws which discriminated against women. Some of these were law on prostitution. A woman would be detained and her man counterpart left to go his own way without legal proceedings. Considering that prostitution is an act that involves two people from both genders, legal proceeding against one gender is therefore discriminatory. When these women are out of prison, they go back to the same kind of behavior because there are no jobs for them to meet their daily needs (Steele 145).
Throughout history, women have been treated as objects of sex fulfillment for men. Marriage, being a union of two parties, should give equal opportunities of exercising marital rights. It is shocking that today women are still experiencing wife battery. They take their wives as objects of pleasure some exercise their manhood powers to demand for sexual pleasure without seeking the consent of the women. Women have experienced rape in their marriages (Isenberg, 167).This explains why there are several cases of divorce in America
Degrading of women has taken place for such a long time and it leaves people wondering whether this will come to an end one day. Women activists have been trying their best to fight for women rights though they have never achieved it fully. What women are fighting for is what men enjoy. This means that it will take time before men develop conscious to stop women degradation. May be one day this problem will come to an end but this will required concerted efforts from both genders.