Gender Equality In The 1990's
Uploaded by AtillaThaHun on Jul 05, 2004
Overall, the rights and status of women have improved considerably in the last century; however, gender equality has recently been threatened within the last decade. Blatantly sexist laws and practices are slowly being eliminated while social perceptions of "women's roles" continue to stagnate and even degrade back to traditional ideals. It is these social perceptions that challenge the evolution of women as equal on all levels. In this study, I will argue that subtle and blatant sexism continues to exist throughout educational, economic, professional and legal arenas.
Women who carefully follow their expected roles may never recognize sexism as an oppressive force in their life. I find many parallels between women's experiences in the nineties with Betty Friedan's, in her essay: The Way We Were - 1949. She dealt with a society that expected women to fulfill certain roles. Those roles completely disregarded the needs of educated and motivated business women and scientific women. Actually, the subtle message that society gave was that the educated woman was actually selfish and evil.
I remember in particular the searing effect on me, who once intended to be a psychologist, of a story in McCall's in December 1949 called "A Weekend with Daddy." A little girl who lives a lonely life with her mother, divorced, an intellectual know-it-all psychologist, goes to the country to spend a weekend with her father and his new wife, who is wholesome, happy, and a good cook and gardener. And there is love and laughter and growing flowers and hot clams and a gourmet cheese omelet and square dancing, and she doesn't want to go home. But, pitying her poor mother typing away all by herself in the lonesome apartment, she keeps her guilty secret that from now on she will be living for the moments when she can escape to that dream home in the country where they know "what life is all about." (See Endnote #1)
I have often consulted my grandparents about their experiences, and I find their historical perspective enlightening. My grandmother was pregnant with her third child in 1949. Her work experience included: interior design and modeling women's clothes for the Sears catalog. I asked her to read the Friedan essay and let me know if she felt as moved as I was, and to share with me her experiences of sexism. Her immediate reaction was to point out that "Betty Friedan was a college...