E. Friedl sex roles and societyWHAT EVIDENCE DO WE HAVE THAT GENDER INEQUALITY EXISTS IN AMERICAN CULTURE? Thank you

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I can't address the theory to which you apparently refer, but I do know this--if "equal" means "same." the genders aren't equal, so they can't have equality.  Any discussion of this subject has to be done in generalities, and there are always exceptions to the rule,

Men and women are not the same, even if they have nearly every skill and bit of knowledge in common.  They generally have different perspectives on the world, different priorities, and different motivations--and it's not being judgmental to say so, because different does not imply better or worse.  Given that, and given exactly the same knowledge and skill sets, they will not be equal--not on the job, and not anywhere else.

To that extent, there is gender inequality everywhere.  The one place they should be equal (same), it seems to me, is in the law. 

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If we are using Friedl's analysis, then we would probably have to examine how the public and private distinction play into gender perception.  The cause of women's rights only received a large level of advocacy and support when women began to own their own share of the "means of production" in terms of entering the realm of the public and earning income.  Issues such as spousal abuse and sexual harassment were only legislated when women became vociferous public participants in the decision making process and when their ability to step outside of the private and into the public were present.  Friedl's argument is that the public realm and its ascendancy for men is what helps to create gender barriers, biases, and separation.  The more men were in the public realm and benefitting from the crisis of female representation, the greater the sexual inequality exists.  In contrast, when men and women are able to lay equal claim to the realm of the public, there is a greater chance for power parity amongst the sexes.

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