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In the biological view, there are only two known genders in the world, one in which is male and the other is female. Everyone regardless of gender receive a form of oppression in our daily lives. Oppression is a state in which a person is subjected into cruel or unjust treatment in a way that prevents one from having equal opportunities and freedom. Throughout time it is evident that treatment between the two genders are not distributed equally, although it is presumed that it is. Even before the 19th century, it can be proven time and time again that the ultimate goal of equality between genders has not been fully achieved and thereby leaving one side oppressed, primarily the female.
In today’s society there are established patriarchy systems where men are given all or most of the positions of supreme, authoritative power and/or importance. This system has given a perception of women that they “are less qualified and less competent than men” (Glover). Despite a woman’s capabilities or qualifications, the nature of the patriarchy system discriminate women of this century to almost the same degree as their predecessors since many women still face similar problems. Another reason why women are restricted in the patriarchy system could primarily be due to the underrepresentation of woman in government. According to the Women in Congress: Statistics and Brief Overview, ever since women were given the right to office in the 1900’s it has stated that only, “a total of 365 women have been elected or appointed to serve in the U.S. Congress.” Although some may claim that there are many famous faces of women viewed in politics around them, they are still numerically underrepresented in politics due to bias and sexism conjured by oppression.
In recent times, the social role of women has fundamentally changed. Typically in traditional social roles, a wife or a woman are presumed to take on the duty of nurturing and raising her children, supporting her husband, and the responsibility to take care of the household duties. Even though times have changed, many women are still subjected to this stereotypical social role that would eventually lead to marital oppression. An example of martial oppression can be found in the flash story “A Story an Hour” by Kate Chopin, which although was published at the end of the 1800’s it is, nevertheless, still deemed relevant to today’s main issues. In the story, the main character, Ms. Mallard, is suppressed by her husband’s supreme control and his ‘right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature’ (Chopin). She is restricted to an unhealthy matter that undoubtably led to her prematurely upon death.
In 1963, The U.S. Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act to protect employees from sex discrimination from their employers. The act forbade employers from giving either a female or male a different wage or benefits. But despite the efforts made by the U.S. Congress, the act had not worked as it was originally intended due to the fact that many women remain to earn a significantly lower pay than their counterparts for the equal amount of work. For example, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research it is stated that in an, “ analysis of women’s and men’s earnings over 15 years found that women made just half (49 percent) of what men earned.” To illustrate how vast of a difference there is in regard to wages, there has been an entire day dedicated to raise awareness of the gender pay gap called the “Equal Pay Day” (April 4). The “Equal Pay Day” is a symbolic day that represents “how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year”(US Census Bureau). A woman must work an equivalent of about a year and 4 months to earn as much as a man would in a single year.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), as “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship”. IPV can encompass many forms such as the most commonly known physical abuse and sexual abuse to more complicated forms like emotional abuse and financial abuse. In “A Story of an Hour” even though domestic violence is not physically shown, there is evidence of emotional abuse in the thoughts and reactions of Mrs. Mallard. For example, when the news of her husband’s death had reached Mrs. Mallard, she gave a surprisingly calm reaction when most would have thought she was would become heart broken. Ms. Mallard then proceeds to say out loud that she is ‘Free! Body and soul free!’ (Chopin) as she is immensely relieved and thrilled to finally be liberated from her husband’s oppression. A normal person would never say or act this certain way if they had not been emotional abused or have gone through a traumatic situation.
With numerous amounts of data received by research and examples of literature about the oppression against women, it confirms that the lives of women has remained unchanged in the 21st century. The need for the alteration of the disproportion nature of the gender structural power must be revised due to many situations that have risen throughout time. Some examples may include: the patriarchy system, martial oppression, differences in wages, and domestic violence.
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