What gender issues mark societies all over the world? 

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jerseygyrl1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most general gender issue, which is addressed in "A Doll's House," is that of the right of women to determine their own lives.

At the end of the play, Nora leaves Torvald. She does not leave him because he is a poor, inattentive husband or because he is unfaithful or abusive. She leaves him because she married him, less out of her own desire, and more out of a sense of obligation. She married him before becoming clear about her own needs and her own sense of identity.

Henrik Ibsen's play is feminist in that it gives Nora agency and control over her own fate. It also criticizes marriage and the limitations that the institution imposes on women.

In most Western societies, contemporary marriages are more egalitarian than they were in Ibsen's time. However, Western women continue to fight for self-determination, whether it be for reproductive rights, equal pay, paid family leave, or the insistence that husbands take equal responsibility for household maintenance and child care.

There is softer pressure in these societies for women to adhere to traditional roles. On the other hand, in developing countries, the pressure is more palpable. In those societies, women do not have bodily autonomy and are often forced to perform painful rituals (e.g., female genital mutilation). Some are forced into marriages, sometimes to much older men. Some Middle Eastern societies, even those that are more prosperous, limit the physical movement of women and force them to live under the rule of the men in their lives. Women who assert themselves publicly may risk ostracism or even death. 

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A Doll's House

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