Women,History and Change
Women,History and Change
Formore than two centuries now, the women’s rights movements aredriven by the two main goals. They are mainly concerned with creatingan equal status for women in politics, economics, and social areas.Furthermore, they intend to influence the formation of legislativeprotections against gender-based discrimination (Gotell & Crow,2008, p. 63). The American women’s rights movement was initiallyjoined with the struggle against slavery. It mainly included womenfrom the middle-class families. Thus, the movement shared in thespirit of revolution that shaped the lives of many middle-classyouths during that period. The Canadian women’s rights movementstarted in the 19thcentury as women attempted to redefine their status in the society byattaining equality and justice (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 60).Similar to the condition in the United States, the movement mainlyfocused on education, pregnancy rights, economic independence, andsuffrage. Moreover, the members were divided due to differences onideas and class constituency. Since then, the women have attainedsome formal equality through political and legal means.
Feminismworks on numerous levels to reduce inequalities based on ethnicity,gender, social status, and age (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 63).Additionally, it maintains that women should contribute to issues incultural, sexual, political, and economic areas in the society. Theseideas started the first wave movement characterized by demands forwomen’s voting rights. Due to the suffragist movement, the womenacross Canada acquired voting rights, which gave them the opportunityto take part in the country’s political activities (Gotell &Crow, 2008, p. 60). On the other hand, protests were increasing inthe United States owing to the civil rights movement. Thus, it gavethe women a platform to express their issues. After the second wavefeminism, there were allegations that feminism was longerfunctioning, which facilitated the formation of the third worldfeminism from late 1980s. The third wave feminism recognized thediversity among women (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 60). Consequently,they no longer operated as one analogous group, but instead theyintegrated fundamentally different methods.
Feminismis continually changing in its efforts to include several views andwithstand the differences in the society. As such, women have foughtfor equal rights through different means such as print and massmedia. From the 1950s to 1960s, more women were entering theworkforce, but their earnings were considerably less than what theirmale colleagues earned. They started articulating their discontentusing articles and magazines. The feminism reached its highest levelin the early 1970s. Women journalists founded new magazines toarticulate more issues regarding women. Moreover, the zines werebecoming a more popular medium (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 157).They showed the feminists’ views and opposition to mainstreamculture while discussing the alternatives. The zines written andpublished by women integrate and present new ideas of public debateswhile joining women together to explore new issues in the society.Feminists used zines to communicate their understanding of politicalawareness while simultaneously uniting with other women who sharesimilar views and principles (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 161).Besides, the zines offer feminists the chance to spread their view towomen beyond the academic circles.
Thewomen’s rights movements have had a positive impact on thecommunity. Today, the number of women taking part in conservativepolitics is high. In the 1980s, only 13% of women took part inCanadian politics. The number increased to 18% in 1993, and later to20% in 1997(Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 104). The statistics show astable rise, which will probably to continue even in the future.However, looking at the current trends, the women who have gainedpolitical power are mainly from affluent backgrounds, which thensignify the issue of inequality in women politics. Therefore, thereforms have not provided substantive representation because thegovernment and some political parties do not consider the inclusionof diverse women in different political positions. The inequality isalso evident in the national programs such as childcare. Most womenwould support the childcare programs due to the accompanyingbenefits, but they are unable to do so because the program remainsexclusive (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 105).
Accordingly,childcare is one of the most critical issues facing women today. Thenotion of childcare is of special concern to women depreciated bytheir rights (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 127). Nonetheless, evenafter sixty years of the fight for equality in Canada, still thecountry does not have free, public-funded, non-profit, 24-hournational care system. Most developed countries such as United States,express the ideas of early childhood education and excellentchildcare as equal and assistance to young children is highlyacknowledged. In contrast, the religious right in Canada attack andoppose such ideas (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 127). As a result, theCanadian childcare falls behind compared to other nations in theWestern Europe and even in Anglo-American countries (Gotell &Crow, 2008, p. 127). The lack of a well-developed childcare system inCanada means that women are still struggling to balance work,personal life, and family (Gotell & Crow, 2008, p. 131). Hence,women are not yet satisfied with the opportunities they have inpolitical and economic sectors.
Anotherissue facing most women is the lack of control over income.Statistics proves that men have primary control over incomedistribution. Women produce between 75 and 90% of food cropsglobally, but men have the responsibility to sell these items (Ward &Edelstein, 2013, p. 125). Although women are considered essentialworkers, it is evident that they still positioned as dependentindividuals in the society. Currently, over 75% of women reside inthe developing nations where gender-based work surpasses culturallimits (Ward & Edelstein, 2013, p. 237). In different cultures,men are highly reluctant to carry out tasks that are regarded aswomen-specific duties such as parenting. Today, the society belittleswomen’s vital role in farming and directs the profitable schemestowards men.
However,even with Feminism the working conditions have not fully transformed.During the 19thcentury,the family wage ideology was formed to stipulate thesalary levels for both male and female workers (Brettell &Sargent, 2012, p. 32). The family wage practices indicated that theman received an adequate salary to support his family. Therefore,they operated under the assumption that the women had full access totheir husband’s salary (Brettell & Sargent, 2012, p. 33).Consequently, it was believed that the woman did not require anequivalent pay as a man because they do have the sole responsibilityto support the family. Even to date, such ideologies still applybecause most women earn a significantly less salary than their malecolleagues do.
Presently,women are choosing lives characterized by freedom where they haveprogressed financially and publicly acknowledged as opposed to beingviewed as an invisible addition to their husbands (Ward &Edelstein, 2013, p. 123). As a result, women are using the modernfeminism as a tool to reject such customs and patriarchal rules thatimpose domination (Ward & Edelstein, 2013, p. 141). Initially,the change from matrilineal cultures to male-controlled industrialsocieties was a misfortune and causes disadvantages for the women.The men were now controlling the homes while the women’s positionreduced to subjection. Besides, monogamy made women’s workimperceptible and unpaid as they were perceived to be a man’sproperty (Ward & Edelstein, 2013, p. 249). In the factories, thewomen were free to work, but under the authority of the men.
Womenare acquiring power by refusing to submit to gender-biased socialnorms. Nonetheless, attaining power does not necessarily mean thatthey will be in control of other people in the society. Instead, itsignifies their independence in personal decisions. Womenincreasingly participate in the public employment sector andcooperatives. Thus, it allows their involvement in the publicdebates, where they are free to express their problems while seekingsolutions to eliminate them. On the other hand, the men are forced toundertake parenting activities because women are now more involved inpublic activities (Ward & Edelstein, 2013, p. 131). The feministmovement gives women the power to influence male opinions on someissues.
Brettell,C. B. & Sargent, C. F. (2012). Gender in Cross-CulturalPerspective (6th ed.). Pearson Education.
Gotell,L., & Crow, B. A. (2008). Openboundaries: A Canadian women`s studies reader(3rd ed.). Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Ward,W. C. & Edelstein, M. D. (2013). AWorld Full of Women(6th ed.). Pearson Education.