Will there ever be complete equality between males and females in the U.S.? Should there be?What would constitute complete equality? Do you think the women’s movement is stronger or weaker today...

Will there ever be complete equality between males and females in the U.S.? Should there be?

What would constitute complete equality? Do you think the women’s movement is stronger or weaker today than it was in the 1970s? In what ways? In challenging gender stratification, do you think that feminists sometimes over-exaggerate the problem of sexual inequality in the United States? If so, how? The text offers a few explanations for the origins of patriarchy while ignoring religion. Given that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all patriarchal religions, do you think that the feminist movement is an attack against religion? Finally, what is a feminist? Are you a feminist? If so, why? If not, why? Be sure to use examples from the text in your discussion.


Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Complete equality is an ideal, especially when you consider the fact that not even people within the same group, males, females, blacks, whites, achieve complete equality with each other.  Certainly women have made significant gains in the workplace, the home, and government in the last forty years, with much room for improvement.

We are seeing more and more women enter politics, and Hillary Clinton came close to being the first female President of the US.  That being said, only 17% of the US Senate is women, and 17.2% of the House of Representatives, far below their share of the population.  Women still receive, on average, 77 cents in pay for every dollar received by a male worker.  Clearly some work remains to be done. 

A last thing to consider about women's rights and equality is that we are barely one generation removed from the advent of the birth control pill and women in the workplace.  When the children who grew up in an America with less sexism have more children of their own in the next twenty years, we may well see dramatic social progress in this area.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As you say, how you define complete equality is a huge factor in how this question is to be answered.  I would define complete equality as occurring when both sexes have equal opportunities to get ahead economically.

Given this definition, I think it is unlikely, but possible that there will ever be complete equality.  It seems possible because women already are going to college in higher numbers than men, which implies that their earning potential (on aggregate) will be higher than that of men in the future.

But biologically, there seems to be a major stumbling block, and that is child-bearing.  It seems likely that women who take any time off of work to have children will fall behind men in gaining promotions and advancing in their firms.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are enough questions here to drive an entire textbook or course of study.  The issue of gender equality is one that will have to transpire on social, legal, and economic levels.  This three- way approach to analyzing the issue of inequality can lead to a more thorough examination of the problem in gender equity.  In the social domain, the role of traditional values and religious beliefs can be examined, while the legal can examine if equality of opportunity and due process in both substantive and procedural issues are being followed.  The domain of economic analysis can study whether or not there is fair and equitable compensation for equal work by members of both genders, as well as whether or not there are equal opportunities for both genders.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Equality is really a very complex issue that will probably never be resolved. People have fought for equality for a very long time. I believe that we have come a long way and will continue to make progress towards equality.

I'm not so sure that the feminist movement is as passionate as it once was. Women of today are more independent than they used to be although there is still that glass ceiling that exists.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I hope there will someday be gender equality. I also hope for racial equality and equality for homosexuals. Who's to say that this is not possible? We don't know what major invent might happen n the future. We are moving very slowly, and it will take a log time for real change to occur at this rate. We did have a women make a legitimate run for candidacy in the last election, and that's progress.
krishna-agrawala | Student

To assess the extent of equality between men and women. This task becomes difficult because the possibility of confusion between being unequal and different.

Men and women are different in many different ways, and I believe that many of these difference are both desirable and unavoidable. The biological differences relating to bearing the off springs and giving birth to them are very obvious, But their are many other differences that are not so marked. For example body dimensions of women, except width of hips, are on average smaller than those of men. Similarly physical strength of men is on average greater than than that of women. Then there are significant differences in average psychological make up and behavior of men and women.

All these difference result in making men and women more suitable for different kinds of roles in life. Also what they value and enjoy in life can have significant differences, For example some people may consider the child bearing role of women a major risky and painful task for women. But there are many women who consider it an important and desirable part of their life that brings them fulfilment and satisfaction.

In the past, many societies permitted blatant abuse women in homes by their menfolk. Inequality between sexes to the disadvantage if women was quite obvious. But to consider every instance of disagreement between men and women, where one or the other is at some advantage or disadvantage, to be a sign of inequality can confuse the issue, lead to avoidable confrontation between sexes, and in the end make bot men and women unhappy.

I believe, the society as it stands today, at least in progressive urban India, has achieved fair amount of equality between sexes. This does not mean that in all homes men and women are exactly equal. It only means that in normal day to day life incident of men having upper hand over women is about as common as incident of women having upper hand over women. Making comparisons between husbands and wives, my assessment is again along similar lines - cases of husbands being more dominating than wives, is about as common as wives being more dominating than husbands.

They say "eternal vigilance is the price of freedom". It is wise to be careful to maintain the equality between men and women. Bur any insistence to increase the equality substantially beyond a point may result in equal division between men and women rather than equal partnership between them. This can be disastrous for both men and women.

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