Gender Inequality in 2014

no gender equalityThen

When I was a girl I had to wear dresses to school. Even when it was cold, you had to wear a dress or skirt – just put your pants on underneath it!

Sweat was frowned upon, don’t run, you’ll sweat. Don’t play sports, you’ll sweat. Don’t work at some manual labor, you’ll sweat.

We took Home Economics (translate that to cooking and sewing class) instead of shop.

The sports teams were filled with boys. The girls served hot dogs in the stands or competed for cheer leading spots.

There were no after school inter-school sports competitions for girls.

Student council was for the guys, girls didn’t get elected.

We weren’t given much (if any) encouragement to follow a dream, pursue a career, be a scientist or engineer, computer programmer, sports hero or pilot.

If we happened to get pregnant, too bad. You just dropped out of school or went to someone’s back alley shop for a coat hanger abortion. Once we did have kids, hey, it was our job to stay home and raise them.

In many countries, women’s rights were pretty non-existent. Cultural and historical mores allowed encouraged men to beat their wives, sell women for sex, marry off their daughters as children or just flat out get rid of the female babies.

And Now

We are still being raped.

We are still being mutilated – our exterior genitalia chopped off.

Some are sentenced to being stoned to death because they are pregnant. An 18 year old Ethiopian girl, pregnant, was gang raped by 7 men and she was charged with adultery and sentenced to stoning!

Our sisters are being sold into prostitution and slavery, in America and elsewhere.

We still debate the right of women to control their own bodies.

We are underrepresented politically – holding only 98 of 535 (18%) of seats in Congress.

We have never elected a female US President, or Vice President and have only just experienced the confirmation of the first female Federal Reserve Chairwoman. There are 25 high level government offices that have never been held by a woman.

We are underrepresented in high levels of corporate management  – holding just 23 out of 500 CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies and another 23 out of the remaining 500 CEO spots in Fortune 1000 companies.

We earn less than the guys.  Forbes reported:  “According to new numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 full-time employed women earned just 80.9% of the salaries their male counterparts did, down more than a full percentage point from 2011 when the number hovered over 82%.”

Some of us aren’t allowed to go to school. Malala Yousafzai, a young female Pakistani teenager was shot in the head by the Taliban for daring to object to the banning of girls in school.

Women in sports is still an oxymoron.  Title IX states (among other things) that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Although it has brought some equality to education, and allowed some addition sports resources to be spent on women’s athletics, the women still have far fewer resources and opportunities in the sports arena. If you went to college, did you see huge marketing efforts directed at female sports team events? Were there any female sports team events?

We still buy into all of this!

We still wear stilettos. High heels cause problems, make us look silly and make it hard to move, not to mention the health hazards.

We are still discouraged from and avoiding entrance to high paying professions such as engineering, computer programming, the law or medicine.

We, and society, teach our young daughters that they should be a ‘princess’ – yet teach our sons that they need to be a business mogul.

and our daughters still see mainly guys in their school’s student council.

 Teach your daughter to be equal.

Gender inequality is bad for business, bad for relationships and bad for society. Teach your daughter to reach for the stars! Help her find the way.  She is not a second class citizen.


Gender Inequality in 2014 — 10 Comments

  1. I have a seven-year old daughter and as earlier today I know she will grow up as a good citizen. She asked me if she can go to a violin and guitar class and we supported her, I know someday she would be a superstar violinist! 🙂

    • Everyone should follow their dreams and it is good to let kids explore, but if your daughter is serious about the music and stays that way, make sure she gets exposed to potential ways to support herself using it – just in case she misses that superstar status!

  2. I have two little girls and I am teaching them to be business moguls! They do get into the “princess” stuff but I have never encouraged it. I think they’re just girly by nature.

  3. I worked an industrial for a major financial firm a few weeks ago, the underrepresentation of women was staggering.

  4. Some of the things you listed are terrible, and show how far the human race still has to go.

    As far as salary discrimination, I know it is real, but I don’t think our company does it. My wife has three engineering degrees. I have two. (She had a dual undergraduate degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering.) We work at the same company. We both have the title “Senior Engineer.” I currently get paid more, but it’s because I have worked there over a decade longer. She typically gets higher percent raises than I do. I expect our salaries will be essentially equal in a few more years.

    Another very real issue for my wife, is that even though our pay may be on equal footing, she complains that she does not get the respect from other engineers in the company that I do. I have seen this happen, and it upsets me, too. Unfortunately, other than leading by example, and treating everyone with the same respect, I don’t know how to get others to change their attitudes. Our company does hold mandatory training on workplace discrimination, but I doubt that an annual briefing is enough.

    • I wonder if your wife started out at a higher salary – due to her three degrees as opposed to your two.

      Hopefully she stands up for herself in the respect department. Sometimes it is hard, but if you expect respect and act accordingly, you have a better chance of getting it than if you lick your wounds and crawl away (as I sometimes am tempted to do!).

  5. Horrid things happen to women; there are places where horrid things happen to men as well. Do you think it is getting better? We have a long way to go but still there is change for the better particularly in the Western world.

    Strangely today I was mentioning to a colleague that one thing I’d like to do as a researcher is to tell the stories of women who were excluded from the Nobel Prize after they did the core discovery. Bad!

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