Posted: November 27th, 2013
Women Gender and Race
Date of Submission:
Women Gender and Race
What is the biggest challenge to women’s rights, empowerment, and well-being today? What are some of the strategies of resistance and/or solutions to this challenge? What contributions have feminists made to address this challenge and how successful have their efforts been?
Today’s women happen to be more aggressive in terms of having their rights respected and being considered equal with men. Even as women get more and more aggressive, there are challenges that make their dreams not be fully achieved. These include cultural hindrances, economic factors and lack of morale together with self-esteem to have their agenda taken to fulfillment. These challenges have been a hindrance to many things that the woman population is capable of achieving in today’s society.
Education is a key tool to development in the society. Without educational empowerment, so many opportunities cannot be well utilized. In a society that has race rooted deep in the system, the education system is usually designed to favor members of a given race. This is a form of discrimination that makes members from the race discriminated against not to have the opportunity to get good jobs and take leadership roles. This discrimination in the education system could be in the form of poor educational infrastructure. The well-established race could have better facilities to learn from while the ‘other’ race has poor facilities. This will give the ‘superior’ race an upper hand in passing exams. Education in institutions that offer high quality education is made to be expensive. This blocks accessibility to quality education by the inferior race by virtue of the economic status. This makes the dominant race to be sustained in governance.
Women empowerment crusaders have been using various methods to facilitate their course. This involves putting up of women meetings that facilitate training on their roles as informed women. However, this meetings and workshops have not been able to bring effective changes in the society. This is attributed to most of the women not making it to such meetings. They therefore remain ignorant and are unable to fight for their rights (Khayatt, 2004, pp. 67). Feminists have been on the forefront in fighting for women’s rights. One of the best ways they have tried using is through facilitating education for women. However, these efforts have had hitches due to economic strains. Much of the wealth in the society is in the hands of males, leaving females with no choice, but to depend on the men. As long as women are not economically empowered, fighting discrimination against them remains a big task.
Gender equality crusaders have been in the forefront in preaching the gospel of gender equality. While this is meant to empower women, some have ended up being misfits in the society, as they do not know ways through which they can initiate such changes. Feminists’ crusaders have not been elaborating on how to go about bringing gender equality making this just a song that is sang in the society. Men too have a role to play as far as women empowerment is concerned. Women have discovered that without involvement of men in their search for empowerment, they would be struggling in futility (Chater, 2008, pp. 132). This has seen feminists organizing programs through which men are encouraged to empower women through allowing them to take up education and leadership roles.
How are women affected by gender and race? What are some of the barriers that women of color face? What unearned benefits do white women gain from white privilege?
Research has shown that men are more likely to discriminate others from a racial basis than women would do. This is because women tend to tolerate other races than men would do. This means that gender is a very important aspect when it comes to looking at racial discrimination. Women happen to bare the greatest responsibility when it comes to racial discrimination. Proponents on status quo in the society are a major obstacle to empowerment of women. This can be explained through the labeling theory. From the labeling theory, discrimination can be said to be some form of mental of the majority and the minority groups in the society. The theory argues that internal devaluation occurs whenever there is deviation from the norm. This devaluation and social stigma is seen as a form of discrimination. The theory describes the national social order where there is distinction between social democracy and principles of fascism. Women are denied certain rights in the name of maintaining the status quo (Mandell, 2010, pp. 147).
The laws in a society are important to facilitate equality. Part of women suffering is attributed to lack of legal framework that would give them a voice in the society. This trend is changing but it is still being faced with hindrances from males in many parts of the world. With proper laws in place, the social inequality that propels racism and gender discrimination can be greatly reduced. Laws are very important as they define the roles and the rights of an individual. Structural inequality comes in place when there are laws that protect members of a given race in the society. As such, the members of this race will get an advantage over the others in terms of rights and other provisions.
The Apartheid regime in South Africa is one such case of structural inequality that was supported by the laws of the government of the time. Some places were restricted for the whites, who were the colonial masters. Women have also been discriminated against, as there have been no laws that protect their rights. This means that whenever they feel that their rights are being infringed, they have no place to run to. White women have unearned benefits from white privilege as they are a show of women supremacy unlike black women.
Gender plays a great role in the work place in our society today. Given the fact that women behave in a different way from their males, such issues are highly considered even in the work places. Many organizations would prefer a female secretary to a male one. This is due to the nature of women as they are good at handling many tasks at the same time. This is not so with the males as they are likely to perform better if the handle a task at a time. As such, when it comes to recruitment of such personnel, the chances of the male applicants being discriminated against based on their gender is likely (Khayatt, 2004, pp. 96).
Gender plays a critical role in the type of families we have today. The current society has issues concerning gender equality being debated all over. However, the society cannot rule out the importance of the definition of gender roles in the society. For instance, one cannot talk of a man being in close care of a one week old. The mother is expected to facilitate breastfeeding and taking care of the young ones. As such, roles in the family will always be designated based on gender.
What are some of the differences in the power and privilege between women of different classes? In what ways does a woman’s class status affect her social status and shape her experiences?
Power and privilege play a great role as far as empowerment of women is concerned. As much as women are being grouped as one, they can be further put into class categories that would make their character and traits to be a little different. These classes affect the perspective with which a woman would view their world. Their levels of self-esteem would be very different depending on the class (Medovarsky & Cranney, 2006, pp. 211). A woman in power would behave very differently from one that does not have power. Power makes women to broaden up their perspectives of doing things. Women with power happen to have more self-esteem than those that are not. This self-esteem emanates from the fact that they have already achieved something in life. They would therefore open up their minds and be ready for greater achievements. Women in power would be a great source of hope, as they are a sign of what other women can achieve.
Economic freedom in women plays a great role in their status in the society. As pointed out earlier, women that have already achieved in life would be more willing to share it with others unlike those that are still struggling in economic hardships. An economically empowered woman would be a role model to those that want to reach or even surpass the achieved economic freedom. This would give such a woman a better platform through which she can influence others. Women tend to appreciated more and listen to fellow women that would positively encourage them by giving personal examples. This is only possible with economically empowered women.
Empowerment of women has in many cases been slowed down due to differences in class. This is because these women would have different priorities and perspectives of looking at life issues. What might seem important to a woman in one class is usually different from one in the other class. This makes them to have different goals. Unity of purpose between women from different classes is hard to realize, as they would be pulling their strings in different directions. Research has indicated that given the various classes, there are those women that are so such interested in the basic life fulfillment such as having a healthy family. On the contrary, there are those that want to go beyond the domestics and get to administrative positions. They would want to reach the self-actualization stage (Ristock, 1998, pp. 179).
Support from men plays a great role in determining the status of a woman in the society. It is something to reckon that women that are more recognized in the society by men would automatically have a larger female following. This is what many women would want to achieve. They would want to affect people from both genders positively. This gives women in power an upper hand in influencing behaviors of other women. It also happens that women are more sensitive and would easily emulate a celebrity than men would. This makes the high-class women to have a higher impact on other women in the society who would look at them for emulation.
Chater, N. (2008). Biting the Hand that Feeds Me: Notes on Privilege from a White Anti-Racist Feminist. New York, NY: SAGE Publishers.
Khayatt, D. (2004). The Boundaries of Identity at the Intersection of Race, Class and Gender. London, UK: Routledge.
Mandell, N. (2010). Feminist issues: Race, Class, and Sexuality. New York, NY: John Willey & Sons.
Medovarsky, A., & Cranney B. (2006). Canadian Woman Studies: An Introductory Reader. Vancouver: Express Pub.
Ristock, J. (1998). Taking Off the Gender Lens in Women’s Studies: Queering Violence Against Women. London, UK: Routledge.
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