Research paper on feminism

Feminist Theories of Gender Inequality Research Paper Starter

The term gender inequality refers to the disparities that exist among individuals based solely on their gender rather than objective differences in skills, abilities, or other characteristics. Gender inequalities may be obvious (e.g., not receiving the same pay for the same job) or subtle (e.g., not being given the same subjective opportunities for advancement). Despite the strides taken to eradicate gender inequality over the years, the fact is that it still remains. There are many feminist perspectives of gender inequality, including that of liberal feminism, socialist feminism, radical feminism, and multiracial feminism. Each of these perspectives views the issue from a slightly different angle and offers different insights into the problem in addition to different solutions. However, gender equality is more than a quest for equal pay for equal work. The social roles of females and males are often far from "different but equal." Much more research is needed in order to be able to understand the extent to which gender equality is a good thing for society and how this can best be implemented.

In twenty-first century Western society, it is often difficult to think of women as an oppressed minority group. After all, according to the US Census Bureau current population survey of 2010, females make up 50.8 percent of the total population of the United States: a slim majority, indeed, but a majority nonetheless (Howden & Meyer, 2011). In addition, one can see women in virtually every job and career throughout the levels of social stratification: women are no longer relegated to the positions of wives, mothers, or secretaries, but can and do become doctors, lawyers, and nuclear physicists, as well as truck drivers, welders, and factory workers. Yet despite such advances, women are significantly underrepresented in many segments of twenty-first century society. For example, of the 535 members of the 113th Congress, only 98 of these were women in April 2013 (Center for American Women in Politics, 2013). Although women have achieved positions in other important national leadership roles (e.g., Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Soto-mayor, and Elena Kagan becoming members of the US Supreme Court; Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, and Condoleezza Rice becoming Secretary of State), they still are significantly underrepresented when compared to their majority status in the population. Sociologically, a minority or a subordinate group is defined by five basic properties:

  • Unequal treatment;
  • Common physical and cultural characteristics that distinguish them from the dominant group;
  • Involuntary membership in the subordinate group;
  • Development of a sense of solidarity;
  • Intermarriage within the subgroup.

Women as a general classification fulfill virtually all of these characteristics. Women today still receive unequal treatment when compared to men.

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