Women are the essence of society; nonetheless, prejudice and oppression have constricted their potentials. Factors such as culture, religion, marital status, and patriarchy contribute significantly to the oppression of women (Hentschel et al., 2019). In the socioeconomic environment, there appears to be a great transformation between men and women in American society, given the obligations granted to women at the expense of males. The underplay of women is primarily ascribed to oppression from the larger society as it is typically patriarchal.
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How The Society Views Women
Men and women frequently internalize gendered roles; hence, perceptions of distinctions between men and women are influenced by how society views the various genders in terms of stereotypical qualities. According to social role theory, gendered roles result from the unequal distribution of men and women into social positions in both economic and social situations (Hentschel et al., 2019). Gendered role divisions have existed for a long time, both in foraging cultures and more socioeconomically sophisticated societies. Women are perceived to conduct the bulk of everyday household labor and be the primary caregivers; in the workplace, women tend to be employed in people-oriented, service roles rather than task-oriented, challenging occupations, which have historically been dominated by men (Cerrato & Cifre, 2018). Women’s traditional occupational tasks are tied to caring for others and necessitate community values such as compassion and empathy. In most societies, women are perceived to be affectionate and sensitive; therefore, women are gendered as caretakers in society.
How Women Were Viewed in The Past and How It Has Changed
According to Sekścińska et al. (2016), traditionally, women maintained the social role of being the housewife, family caretaker, being focused on children and their happiness. Society perceives women through gender stereotypes. Gender stereotypes are both descriptive and prescriptive, expressing what a typical woman or man is like and what women and men should be like, respectively (Lips, 2017). Societal perceptions of women are primarily due to prescriptive stereotypes. Lips (2017) states that the prescriptive aspect of gender stereotypes can be broken down into four categories of traits that differ in how desirable they are deemed for women and men. Prescriptive gender stereotypes are the constructs of a patriarchal society, hence the perception of women as being psychologically fragile. Women, unlike men, were regarded as being more charitable, responsive to others, and fostering relationships.
The first category, gender-intensified prescriptions, ascribes warmth, kindness, loyalty, and sensitivity to women. Gender-relaxed prescriptions consider that traits such as intelligence, maturity, and principles should be more desirable in women. At the same time, men are given more leeway when they fall short on these traits. In the third category, gender-relaxed proscriptions, specific attributes are not socially acceptable but are more desired for one gender than the other; women were assessed to be yielding, emotional, naive, superstitious, and susceptible. Finally, under gender-intensified proscriptions, some qualities are generally regarded bad and more so for one gender or the other; for women, the attributes were arrogance, rebelliousness, and controlling. Generally, society viewed women as timid gender that had to comply with the provisions of the patriarchal world.
However, how society perceives women has been evolving in modern times. In the United States in 1967, for example, the male provider worked away from home while the female caregiver stayed back at home in 36% of married couples; however, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017), more women are exploring traditionally male careers, and more men are assuming the role of the family caregiver. While the perceptions of women are changing, women continue to be concentrated in jobs that are regarded to need communal but not assertive characteristics, such as nursing, secretarial responsibilities, and administrative assistance. According to sociological studies, women remain underrepresented in jobs that are highly competitive, rigid, and demand high levels of physical competence, but they are extensively employed in occupations that emphasize social contributions and need interpersonal skills (Hoffman & Averett, 2021). While the perception of women in recent times has taken a shift for the better through empowerment to partake in traditionally male activities, some aspects of gender stereotyping still exist and limit the proficiencies and aptitudes of women in the socioeconomic contexts.
Oppression Of Women in Education and In the Workplace
According to Hazel and Kleyman (2019), in the United States, women represent 47% of the workforce while women with children are the primary earners for 40% of households with children. However, women earn just 82 percent of men’s typical full-time or weekly wages (Meara et al., 2019). Gender wage gaps directly result from gender inequality in economic involvement and opportunity. Women continue to be economically dependent on males worldwide and are more likely to be jobless or work in unpaid roles (Hazel & Kleyman, 2019). Furthermore, women are less likely than males to take positions of leadership. Despite contributing significantly to the country’s economy, they are still greatly oppressed in the workforce.
Part of the explanation for the persistent workplace oppression of women is that women remain underrepresented in educational programs traditionally regarded for men, such as Career and Technical Education (CTE). Unlike men, women get disproportionately admitted to programs such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) due to gender inequality, therefore, hindering their advancement in technical roles at the workplace. (Makarova et al., 2019). Even though STEM disciplines are among the most sought-after and profitable, women are less likely than males to acquire a college education in these subjects and much less likely to take courses in STEM programs (Makarova et al., 2019). The female oppression and sexism in education, and the potentially hostile environment of academic departments, continue to discourage women from pursuing these lucrative employment options.
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Oppression Of Women in Politics
Women make up a small percentage of decision-making positions in politics and institutions worldwide. Gender expectations and biases restrict the number of female candidates while also contributing to women’s barriers in elections (Milazzo & Goldstein, 2019). The nature of politics contributes to women’s subjugation in the political field. According to Paxton et al. (2020), the low number of women in the political area contributes to political gender blindness; the organizational position of women propagates the field’s socially constructed prejudices. Second, privileged men created political categories and ways to address issues that were important to them. Women-led positions are particularly vulnerable to male criticism and sabotage. The patriarchal dominance of politics is mirrored in the very restrictive and dogmatic conceptions of politics, which ignore the importance of women to the field. Women’s engagement in politics has been hampered by claims of inferiority at both the micro and macro levels.
Patriarchal ideology is one factor that nurtures the oppression of women in different socioeconomic and political spheres, thereby promoting gender inequality. The patriarchal worldview oppresses women in various ways, undermining their importance while supporting male dominance. From recent developments in the socioeconomic and political contexts, it is clear that women and men are equally capable and should, therefore, be treated equally. With the guarantee of equal rights to both men and women, the latter will have greater exposure to opportunities to realize their potentials without patriarchal hindrances.
Cerrato, J., & Cifre, E. (2018). Gender Inequality in Household Chores and Work-Family Conflict. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. Web.
Hazel, K. L., & Kleyman, K. S. (2019). Gender and sex inequalities: Implications and resistance. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 48(4), 281–292. Web.
Hentschel, T., Heilman, M. E., & Peus, C. V. (2019). The Multiple Dimensions of Gender Stereotypes: A Current Look at Men’s and Women’s Characterizations of Others and Themselves. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. Web.
Hoffman, S. D., & Averett, S. L. (2021). Women and the Economy: Family, Work and Pay (4th ed.). Red Globe Press.
Lips, H. M. (2017). Sex and Gender: An Introduction, Sixth Edition (6th ed.). Waveland Press, Inc.
Makarova, E., Aeschlimann, B., & Herzog, W. (2019). The Gender Gap in STEM Fields: The Impact of the Gender Stereotype of Math and Science on Secondary Students’ Career Aspirations. Frontiers in education, 4. Web.
Meara, K., Pastore, F., & Webster, A. (2019). The gender pay gap in the USA: a matching study. Journal of Population Economics, 33(1), 271–305. Web.
Milazzo, A., & Goldstein, M. (2019). Governance and Women’s Economic and Political Participation: Power Inequalities, Formal Constraints and Norms. The World Bank Research Observer, 34(1), 34–64. Web.
Paxton, P., Hughes, M. M., & Barnes, T. D. (2020). Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective (4th ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Sekścińska, K., Trzcińska, A., & Maison, D. A. (2016). The Influence of Different Social Roles Activation on Women’s Financial and Consumer Choices. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. Web.
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017). Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.