Social, Cultural and Gender Inequality from a Global Perspective Essay
As the executive chef for this hotel and resort corporation, applications for vacancies in the firm fall under my jurisdiction. Most of the respondents for the recently advertised supervisory vacancies are females from your culinary institution. We are also privileged to have a majority of our male employees who are graduates from your institution.
What is however disheartening is the reaction of these male employees on hearing that many of the supervisory posts applicants are females. The prospect of them being under supervision of female(s) does not augur well with them. This is definitely a shocker and it is really unbelievable that such a mentality still exists in today’s world.
Gender inequality which basically refers to open or concealed inequality between persons on the grounds of gender should not be an issue in this modern world (Centra and Gaubatz, 2003, p. 17). Graduates, and especially males, from your kind of institution are expected to be enlightened and are not expected to show any form of discrimination. They are expected to be way above such unacceptable practices at these times.
I would kindly like to give an insight on how this can be dealt with through various practices and training of students while they are still in the institution so that such instances does not occur elsewhere in future (Centra and Gaubatz, 2003, p. 18). Slotting into evocative discussion about gender of the tutors or lecturers with students will serve to prepare these young men and women to operate in a society that has turned more diverse and universal. It is the duty of the tutor to craft a lecture-room environment that serves to enhance meaningful discussions concerning gender.
As the society progressively turns to be global, learning institutions have an obligation to embrace gender diversity. Such an inclusiveness calls for both tutoring and gaining knowledge about gender issues. The seriousness with which most of these institutions seek to root for gender sensitivity is often debatable (Hernandez, 2001, p. 12). However, there is little doubt that involving students in meaningful discussions on gender will read them to fit in a society that is progressively getting more diverse.
So as to participate in any meaningful discussion about gender, the learners first need check their own convictions and mind-sets. Quite a large number of them do join learning institutions with already biased beliefs concerning given genders (Boerman-Cornell, 1999, p. 66).
This attitude definitely is carried into the lecture rooms. In today’s interdisciplinary class set ups, this poses problems mainly due to the following; convictions touching on gender attributes are not supported by any evidence at almost all times and such beliefs are opposed to change.
What makes this even more serious is that once the learners have shaped convictions concerning gender, they are stubborn toward differing explanations. It has also been proved that when information to counter their gender convictions is presented to them, it actually serves to reinforce their biased beliefs. This means that the lecturers have to do what it takes to counter learner resilience when talking about gender issues.
It has earlier been stated that it is normally the tutor’s duty to craft a lecture-room environment that enhances meaningful discussions concerning gender. Learners should be readied for the twofold activity of scholarly proficiency and experimental understanding (Hernandez, 2001, p. 14).
A good beginning point for tutors is to develop an open discussion concerning gender by getting into a more broad debate on gender attitudes. This is normally attained by enhancing learner aptitude and at the same time promoting their critical reasoning about the hypothetical machinations that underlie debate on gender issues.
For both genders, participation in discussions on gender calls to mind negative emotions. This is despite the fact that when the learners are faced up to arguments to lessen their levels of justification means, a reflective interpersonal set up of learning and development comes up (Centra and Gaubatz, 2003, p. 32).
For tutors to engage in significant discussions about race with the learners there are usually three aspects they need to have in mind. The first one is the lecturer/learner interaction. Coming up with a constructive association with learners in any course needs to take place on two stages.
The first one is to recognize the learners as a set. The tutor needs to be aware of grouping adherence and arrange for the ones who find it hard to conform to group pressure (Hernandez, 2001, p. 23). The second level points to individual contact between the tutor and the learner. Learning best takes place when there is a good rapport between the learner and his or her tutor.
The second aspect that tutors need to facilitate is attentive skills. This is achieved by way of voicing and body language (Boerman-Cornell, 1999, p. 69). Body and voice language also includes eye contact and the tutor must be attentive for nonverbal reactions from learners.
The third and final aspect that tutors need to embrace is different teaching styles. This is due to the fact that students learn best in various ways. There are those who are at home with visual presentations, those comfortable working in groups and those who get the points best by way of reading (Boerman-Cornell, 1999, p. 69).
Boerman-Cornell, W. (1999). “The five humors.” English Journal, 88: 66-69.
Centra, J. and Gaubatz, N. (2003). “Is there Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Teaching?” Journal of Higher Education 70 (1) 17-33.
Hernandez, H. (2001). “Multicultural education: A teacher’s guide to linking context, process and content.” Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 12-23.
Are Women Important in Gulf Politics? What are the Main Barriers to Gender Equality? Research Paper
Majority of the countries in the gulf region, are countries that are undergoing rapid political, social, and above all economic revolutions due to many changes that are taking place in varying spheres of life of their citizenry.
Changes in the leadership orientations or styles have accompanied such radical changes, whereby presently, majority of nations are realizing the role of women, as concerns political and economic development hence, encouraging women participation in fields that many considered suitable for males previously. Such is the case in the gulf politics, whereby women are actively involved in the politics in present times.
Although this is the case, it is important to note here that, still the struggle for gender equality faces many challenges, a fact, which many attribute to the superiority in males’ nationality rights. Such superiority and many other societal forces have acted as major backward pooling forces on women’s endeavors to achieve gender equality.
Although many may argue that, the currently existing women organization are fighting to ensure Gulf countries minimize such disparities, still as Krause (p. 1) argues, such efforts face many obstacles, with the currently existing forms of antagonism towards such efforts by Muslim fanatics. This paper will discuss the importance of women in the Gulf politics and main barriers, which the war against gender discrimination faces in countries that belong to this region.
Primarily, countries belonging to this region encircle the Persian Gulf, and form a section of nations, which form the Middle East. Examples of nations belonging to this locality include Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Palestinian regions, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Syrian Arab Republic. It is important to note that, there is a difference between these nations and nations, which belong to the Far East region for example, Taiwan and the republic of China (Gulf Today p.1).
Gender and Politics in the Gulf
Although to some extent women belonging to this region are making some progress towards liberation from gender discriminations, still their efforts face many challenges.
This is because, research findings by the Nazir (p.1) clearly depicts that, in many ways, still patriarchal laws and many existing societal traditional practices constrain women efforts. Although this is the case, still many organizations that fights against such discriminations have been in the frontline in ensuring countries within this region accept the importance of women participation in all spheres of development.
It is important to note here that, such struggles by gender discrimination fighting bodies have not been fruitless, because currently there is apparent political, social and economic freedom enjoyed by women in some countries, which belong to this region such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
On the other hand, although these countries have achieved such mileages as concerns achievement of gender equality, other countries within this region for example, Saudi Arabia still have high levels of such discriminations, a fact that many attribute to the cultural restrictions, which this country has imposed on women.
Politically still women in this region face many challenges with majority of them loosing parliamentary seats to men, something that research has also attributed to the currently existing cultural and social impediments.
As Shanahan (p.1) argues, such societal forces and many cultural barriers since time memorial have been the greatest impediment towards women’s struggle for representation. He further adds that, the political scenario in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Oman is worse.
This is because; in these countries, women are purely underrepresented in the all-political arenas. Although individuals may argue that, in some countries such as Bahrain the gender based political orientation has shifted, still the disparities are clear primarily because, women form less than six percent of the entire parliament population.
As Shanahan further states, majority of nations in this region still respect the olden “hereditary male rule.” In addition, majority of societies within this region believe in the polygamy concept, something that has been the main contributing factor to the disparity that exists.
This is because; such traditional embraced practices have denied such societies female role models, and in case such role models occur for example, Sheikha Lubna (the United Arab Emirates foreign trade minister) then, there rise to power must have some support or connections to some ruling elites.
Are Women Important in Gulf Politics?
As Peterson (34-35) argues, the minimal participation of women in politics is not an indication of lack of ruling supremacy. This is because, critically examination of the roles, which women played in the old Arab societies clearly show that, since time memorial, women have been active participants when it comes to issues that affects the family.
In this regard, regardless of the way the society presents the image of women as concerns politics, women have a crucial role to play. Therefore, this makes it necessary for any ruling system to include women, being the vulnerable group in the community. In addition, it is only through such participations that women can have a stake in the decision making process on issues that affect their well-being.
Due to the currently existing gender discriminations existing in the Gulf countries, majority of countries within this region overlook the role women can play as concerns political-economic development. This is because, when comparing literacy and educational achievement between women and men, both have achieved a lot.
For example, the difference between literacy levels between men and women in the United Arab Emirates is 4%, whereby the men literacy achievement percentage stands at twenty five percent whereas, the women education and literacy achievement percentage stands at twenty one percentage. In other countries for example the republic of Qatar, the enrollment levels of boys and girls in the elementary school level stands at 95 % and 96 % respectively.
The argument that such women achievements occur at lower level learning levels to some extent are wrong due to the increased number of female participants in higher education learning institutions. For example, in Kuwait, majority of students in higher learning institutions are women, a case that is almost similar in Bahrain, whereby more than 72% of students in higher learning centers are women (Krause, p. 8).
Comparing this figures and the nature of contributions such educational achievements can make to these country’s politics is a clear indication that, women too have a role to play as concerns the political development of these countries. This is the case primarily because; there is a close correlation between educational achievement and economic development. Further, economic development depends on the nature of the ruling elites, for they are the main decision makers in any national scenario.
In addition, to such educational achievements, as Abano (p.1) argues, majority of women in this region have the potential to perform and deliver quality results politically. She defends her position by arguing that, gender differentiations are products of many societal forces originating from some groups, a case that is evident in Kuwait, when it comes to the beliefs held by the Fundamentalist Islamic Groups.
She further adds that, considering the continuous advancement, as concerns winning of some parliamentary seats by some women parliamentarians, it becomes necessary for global societies more so the gulf countries to reformulate their policies as concerns gender differentiations. This is because; there is a lot that women can play as concerns the political development of these countries.
Clear manifestation of the importance of women in any political scenario in this region is apparent in Omani. As Fatany and Talei (Para. 3-4) argue, majority of women actively involved in politics have a sense of commitment, as concerns the economic development of their countries.
They further add that, there presence in the political arena has seen the country develop most of its economy sections that the country had previously neglected. Although this is the case, it is important to note that, it has never been easy for women to attain such achievements because at all times they have to strictly adhere to men dominated governmental imposed policies hence, the little achievement associated with their efforts.
On the other hand, it is important to note that; majority of voters in some countries in this region is women. For example, research findings by the Yale Global Center on the voting patterns of Bahrain in 2002 showed that, more than fifty-one percent of the voters were females hence, clearly showing the importance of female when it comes to politics of this region (Janardhan, P. 1).
Main Barriers to Gender Equality
Achievement of gender equality has been one of the greatest challenges for bodies fighting to ensure societies within this region abolish gender differentiations (which are clear from the simple social systems, to the complex political systems). As in any society, traditions play a central role when it comes to defining roles suitable to different individuals of different sexes in the Gulf region whereby, depending on the political orientation of countries within this region, the Sharia laws finds wide applications.
Although these laws find wide application in many Gulf countries, culture forms the main basis of all role assignments. In addition, it is important to note that, with the increased gender balance campaigns, the war on gender discrimination has gained many achievements as concerns liberating the Gulf women from social, political, and economic oppressions. Such advances are clear in countries for example, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Although this is the case, like any other war, the war of women’s liberation politically, socially, and economically still faces many challenges due to the nature of policies (traditional, social and political), which the Gulf countries have adopted (Janardhan p.1).
Islam as the main religion of this area has been one of the main contributors to the clear role disparity that exist between men and women. This is because; the religion appreciates the gender differences that exist between men and women. This to some extent has been the greatest impediment towards achieving gender equity, because religion forms one of the core factors that determine any society’s lifestyles (Al-Yousef p.2).
For example, cases of the misuse of the Islamic law are prevalent in Bahrain; a country that does not have an integrated family law. On the other hand, it is important to note that, current efforts by gender discrimination fighting bodies to eliminate some personal status law that are discriminatory have always hit a snag, as such efforts receive strong opposition from Islamic extremists (Dunne p.1).
Many societal forces also have been the greatest obstacles towards achievement of gender equality. This is because; there exists a conflict between modernization and globalization with the old embraced values. The religious-tribal aspect forms the main backbone of practices adopted by inhabitants of these regions. Such religious-tribal held values by societies have been greatly jeopardized globalization and modernization efforts.
This is because at one end traditional values create many gender differentiations when it comes to role assignment, participation in labor, and educational attainment among male and female, whereas modernization endeavors to eliminate them. The scenario is even worse when it comes to political and economic developments, due to the fact that, there exist few programs geared towards women empowerment (Dunne p.1).
As Nazir (Para. 22-23) argues, lack enough information to women in this nations is another great hindrance towards achieving gender equality. Lack of information as concerns global leadership, is prevalent in these countries, although to some extent women organizations have tried to bridge the gap. Majority of researchers attribute the lack of information to the media, for many research findings show that, governments control most media houses hence, dictating what people receive.
On the hand, it is important to note that, although such impediments exists, majority of the Gulf countries have come up with initiatives to counter this problem, although some countries still have remained adamant in changing their gender policies for example, Saudi Arabia (Wagner p.1).
In conclusion, considering the importance of women’s participation in economic and political development, it is important for countries within this region to try to alleviate the prevalent gender differentiations, which exist presently for better development of these nations.
These countries can achieve this through adoption of policies, which will support women development and innovation efforts in al spheres of development. In addition, these countries should come up with women empowering programs and legislations measures that will oversee protection and respect of their rights by all individuals in the governments. This is because; achievement of this will ensure that, societies eliminate the traditional beliefs, which have imprisoned majority of Women’s innovative initiatives.
Al-Yousef, Nourah. The status of women in the Arab gulf countries. 2010. Web.
Abano, Joyce. Many Gulf women qualify for political careers. Zwaya, 2010. Web.
Dunne, Michele. Women’s political participation in the Gulf: a conversation with activists Fatin Bundagji (Saudi Arabia), Rola Dashti (Kuwait), and Munira Fakhoro (Bahrain). Arab Reform Bulletin, 12 Aug. 2008. Web.
Fatany, Samar and Talei, Rafiah. Perspectives: Gulf Arab women breaking the glass ceiling in politics. Common Ground News Service, 2009. Web.
Gulf Today. Gulf countries. 2010. Web.
Peterson, John. The political status of women in the Arab Gulf States. Middle East journal, 43(1) (1989): 34-50. Web.
Janardhan, Meena. In the gulf, women are not women’s friends. Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, 20 June. 2005. Web.
Krause, Wanda. Kuwait program on development, governance, and globalization in the Gulf state: gender and participation in the Arab Gulf. The Center for the Study of Global Governance. 2009. Web.
Nazir, Sameena. Challenging inequality: obstacles and opportunities towards women’s rights In the Middle East and North Africa. Freedom House. 2010. Web.
Shanahan, Roger. Women in Arab politics. The interpreter, 2009. Web.
Wagner, Cynthia. Progress report on discrimination against women. All Business, 1 May. 2008. Web.
Equality of Men and Women Essay
Despite campaigns in developed and developing countries aimed at creating awareness and respect for women rights, their participation in employment remains low. International human rights fights for equality in men and women, their employment act says women should be given equal opportunities; it is of the opinion that at least a third of a company’s employees should be women.
Sweatshops policies are some of the policies made in some countries to increase women employment to informal and formal sectors. This argumentative paper discusses why sweatshop labour opportunities for women in developing countries are better than no opportunities, or the limited opportunities, that are currently available to women in those countries.
One of the major reasons why men have been able to look down upon women is women lack of economical empowerment. They are left to depend on men for their livelihood. In Africa, women were required to cultivate and produce food for the family, however in today’s increased population, which have resulted to farming land fluctuations farms can no longer feed a family.
Another factor that has affected this old “women” profession is global warming, seasons are no longer predictable. If the countries start sweatshops programs, women will at least have some income other than depending on men wholly.
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in their book “Half the Sky” gives the example of China as one of country that have used sweatshop policy to incorporate women in their production. According to the authors, the moves have shown an increased participation of women in economic development. Though the policy offers low wages and mostly is in the informal sector, women are able to meet their basic needs.
This is the start point. According to Abraham Marlow (1908-1970), hierarchy of needs theory, Psychological needs are the foremost needs that human beings require; these are the basic needs that a person should have they are food, shelter, health and clothing. When these are given by sweatshops, women will be able to focus on higher things and be able to fight for their needs.
When fighting for rights, there is always a sacrificial group, when today’s women are included in these low paying jobs, they will create an avenue to future girl child, as they are involved in production, men will note that they are equally and sometimes more productive than men and thus in the future, they will trust them with higher responsibilities.
In Canada, clothing industry, women dominate as labourers and casuals. This has given them exposure and experience that they require to establish their own small businesses which has resulted to their financial empowerment.
When African economies, embrace this move their economies will adjust to this economic policy; then with time, they will feel they can move without them. The result will be a foundation of fight for women rights. When these rights are respected, this is the start point of women empowerment. In Kenya-Africa, there was a move by the countries government and Italian government to have Export Processing Zones (EPZ) in the country which had a similar approach like sweatshops programs.
The zones were termed as areas of oppression in the late 1990s but in early 2000, C.O.T.U. (Central Organisation of Trade Unions-Kenya), intervened and currently the teams of the employment is better; they even have access to loans through the policy. This is a real example that shows how sweatshops programs can start small but end up benefiting women.
To recognise the talent in a person, it is good to expose him/her to a challenging task. When women are given the low earning jobs; in the process their talents will be recognised and used for the good of the economy.
I thus support the statement that “sweatshop labour opportunities for women in developing countries are better than no opportunities, or the limited opportunities, that are currently available to women in those countries”.
African American Women and the Struggle for Racial Equality Report
The main argument of the article
The article under consideration deals with the role played by African American women in the struggle for racial equality. Sanders (2007) claims that although African American women made a great contribution in the movement, historians still do not mention great female fighters for racial equality.
Sanders (2007) also argues that sometimes the impact of these women’s activities was even larger than that of famous male fighters, like Martin Luther King, for instance. The researcher portrays several bright examples of such female fighters which makes her claims valid.
The evidence provided in the article
Thus, Sanders (2007) depicts the major activities and achievements of the most influential representatives of female fighters for equality. These activities and therefore the achievements were revealed on different levels, however, all of them contributed to the development of movement and helped to raise “one-third of America’s black population to middle class status” (Sanders, 2007, p. 27). To support her statements Sanders (2007) reveals the activity of one of the most famous African American female fighters Ida B. Wells.
Wells was an activist who fought for equality rights. Her campaign against lynching was very effective and even led to the diminishing of that inhuman tradition. Wells also mobilized other women to participate in the movement, she took an active part in establishing Chicago branch of “the first black trade union” (Sanders, 2007, p.23).
Whereas Wells was rather a local activist, Sanders (2007) depicts another remarkable African American female fighter who played an important role in the movement on the level of the entire country. Thus, Mary McLeod Bethune was one of those who tried to change the situation on the national level. She was president of National Association of Colored Women, and later established National Counsil of Negro Women. She tried to obtain the support in Congress which, she believed, can change the situation dramatically.
Sanders (2007) points out that Bethune became the head of New Deal’s National Youth Administration. This position enabled her to make numerous changes which contributed greatly the movement for equality. Sanders (2007) provides more examples, including Condoleezza Rice, stating that women made a considerable impact in the struggle, which is still not totally completed.
The major strengthen of the article
To my mind, the article’s major strengthen is its precision. Sanders precisely states her main objective and then proves it with valid arguments. It is easy to follow the article due to this precision. I would also like to point out that Sanders uses very good examples to prove that women not only took an active part in the struggle but reached definite results.
The article portrays the major achievements of African American female fighters which are significant. Thus, Sanders does not contemplate on the unfairness of historian’s attention to different sexes, but provides certain facts to reveal it.
The main shortcoming of the article
Of course, apart from great precision and comprehensiveness of the article there is a downside. To my mind, in the very end of the article Sanders is too imprecise. She notes that for the “two-thirds of black women” the equality remains “elusive” (Sanders, 2007, p.27). However, it is not clear what is meant: social status or personal life and rights. To my mind, this part is quite uncertain and should have been more precise, since the ending is one of the strongest parts of an article which should not contain such obscurities.
In summary, the article under consideration deals with the importance of African American women in equality struggle and the lack of historians’ attention to it. Sanders is very precise which makes the article valid. However, the weak place of the article is its uncertain ending.
Sanders, V. (2007). African American Women and the Struggle for Racial Equality: Viv Sanders Corrects the Male Bias in the Study of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. History Review, (58), 22-27.
Gender Equality in the United States, China and Egypt Research Paper
This piece of work examines role that economic growth, education opportunity and cultural values can play in increasing gender equality. This paper shows that increased in educational level of women tend to boost gender equality in employment and politics. In addition, it depicts that education in the overall population is critical for increasing gender equality. the literature review provide a comparison between three countries signifying different levels of economical development, including agrarian, industrial and postindustrial societies.
Theses countries are Egypt, China and the United States respectively. The literature indicates that economic growth tends to produce expansion in gender equality and in the employment sector. Thus the role of education is to help boost gender equality in various aspect of the society, including employment sector, politics and contribution in economic development.
There are various disparities in the gender equality concern across different communities of the world. This paper will compare different factors which affect gender equality in the United States, China and Egypt. First, we will determine whether gender roles were dictated by religion.
Second, the study will determine whether the trend in gender roles have been changing within the aforementioned countries through out time. Third, the research will establish whether there are differences in gender and equality in specific societies within the target groups. Fourth, we will determine whether geographical situation effect on gender and equality. Finally, this study will examine whether people in religiously conservative societies tend to have less equality between men and women.
Economic growth and gender equality
Egypt’s labor market is currently facing a difficult moment. Joblessness is increasing and women comprise a disproportionately tiny component of the labor force. The civic sector is as well undergoing considerable reforms, which present a specific risk for women, since they make up a comparatively high percentage of the workforce in the civic sector (Morsy 2).
On the other hand, in China, gender equality with respect to wage employment in critical for attaining growth with equality. Econometric evaluation china economic transition income disproportionately increased in both the gradualist stage and radical reform stage. In the gradualist stage state enterprises sustained job guarantor position and social service suppliers, this boosted the projection for wage employment in urban centers.
In the late 1990s reforms in the public sector emphasized effectiveness of productivity and overlooked women’s responsibility in reproduction. Such reforms intervention caused “a drastic increase in gender disparity in employment rates, which decreased the share of wives earnings dispersion of wives to husbands”.
In the United States there is inadequate proof attributing increased gender equality imposed by the legislation to a faster economic growth. Increase in gender equality in the United States has been accounted for by economic growth, concurrent increase in affluence and establishment of specialized market producing increased prospects benefits from human resource investment, makes limitations of women rights increasingly expensive (Morrison 33).
Impact of modernization on gender equality
A wide range of social, cultural, economic and political indicators associated with women’s lives, vary systematically within agrarian, industrial and post industrial nations globally. The transition from agrarian to industrial civilizations poses dramatic implications. This phase changes the traditional family, that is, the doubling in the proportion of marital women using contraception, as women take increased control over child-bearing as well as family proportion and the considerable decline in the dependency quotient.
Women have recorded gains in administrations and managerial positions, and in careers. This shift also affords women ability to participate in the economic market share by doubling literacy rates with an increase in enrollments of girls in schools (Inglehart and Norris 8). Considerable expansion in the UNDP Gender-related Development Index has been reported.
The shift from industrial to postindustrial stage, as is the case with US, favors increased gender equality in cultural outlook as women procure increased chances in tertiary education and climb the career ladder in management and the professions. Moreover, this phase perceives considerable gains towards bigger political influence among elected and selected bodies, for instance doubling the ratio of women in parliament and rapid expansions in the UNDP Gender Empowerment Measure.
Finally, cultural perceptions of gender roles react to, and interact with such social trends. The five-item gender equality index, such as items on job, family and the politics, indicate far more egalitarian outlook for residents in prosperous postindustrial, such in the US, relative to those communities in less affluent agrarian societies, such as in Egypt. However, the religiosity index indicates the reverse pattern, with exceedingly strongest faith is expressed among communities in the agrarian societies.
This concept comprises a broad scope of beliefs and standards. A core component concerns the divergence of materialist and post-materialist values. These standards reflect an intergenerational change from a focus on economic as well as physical protection, towards a growing importance on self-expression, personal well-being, and quality of life obligations (Morrison 4).
The current crisis in Egypt has its roots in food security, survival. Inflation in food prices has substantially affected food importing nations such as this. In this country majority of the population earn less than $4 per day, which make them insecure on basic concerns such as food (Pitch par. 2).
On the side of china, half of its population is miserably poor. And the Chinese policy that prohibits rural-urban migration aggravates the situation because it ensures that the rewards of the countries economic growth further divides the country into two worlds of abundance and scarcity. Food insecurity can cause such societies to deteriorate socially and economically. Obvious unfairness and dismay for a better tomorrow spoils the bond between the rulers and the citizens (Pitch par. 6).
Similarly, although the United States does not suffer widespread poverty and hunger, many members of communities experience stagnated living standards, and the opportunity to cross over from poverty to affluence have decreased. Higher education is no longer a means to better living standards but rather has started to augment the gap between social classes (Pitch, par. 8).
Politics and gender equality
Although women in Egypt were given citizenship and complete political rights by the 1956 constitution, practice of these political rights have been undermined by the social and economic atmosphere in the country. Principles motivating the involvement of women in politics have coexisted with more diehard standards, and the clash between them has diversified with time.
In the past two decades this disagreement has increased, mainly because of the political and economic status of the country (Abu-zayd, par. 3). Similarly, women in China have equal rights with men particularly areas including politics, economy, family life, status in society, and culture (Li Xiaohua par. 4).
On the other hand, women in New Jersey started to exercise their right of voting since 1790 but later it was revoked in 1807. Nevertheless, 1920 all women were accorded the right to vote following the implementation of the 19th Amendment of the federal Constitution, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” (The National Archives 11-27).
Study process will be in compliance with the ethical requirements of the answerable committee on human survey of the respective countries. We applied a standard questionnaire and observational methods to collect data on age, sex and ethnicity as well as the socioeconomic data including educational stage, annual household earning, information about the number of women employed in both informal and formal sectors and the man-to-women ratio in politics.
There is substantial evidence supporting the hypothesis that gender equality in a certain society is dependent on the level of a countries development. Empowering women economically contributes significantly in increasing gender equality
Abu-zayd, Gehan. Women in parliament: Beyond numbers. International Idea. 2010. March 10, 2011. http://archive.idea.int/women/parl/studies1a.htm
Inglehart, Ronald and Norris, Pippa. Rising Tide: gender equality and cultural change around the world. 2007. Web.
Li, Xiaohua. Gender in-equality. China through a lens. China Internet Information Center.
Morrison, Andrew. Gender equality, Poverty and economic growth. The World Bank Gender and Development Group Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network September 2007. WPS4349. Print.
Morsy, Maya. MDG-3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. Pp. 1-2. Print.
Pitch, James., Egypt and its lessons to the world. The Washington Times, January 31, 2011. Web. https://www.washingtontimes.com/communities/
The National Archives. The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27. 2010. March 10, 2011. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs#19
Hobbes and Locke on the Issue of Equality Compare and Contrast Essay
The concept of equality is significant in the discussion of liberty, property, and the role of government in the lives of people. This is seen in tribal groups as well as in oppressive societies wherein political leaders treat the people under them as if they were mere objects.
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are two of the best philosophical minds during the Age of Reason and they both had differing opinions with regards to the subject of equality. Hobbes argued that there is no practical application to the concept of equality. He said it can only lead to chaos. Locke on the other hand can only envision a prosperous and stable society when all men are treated equal.
Thomas Hobbes was born into continent embroiled in a bloody civil war. The brutality of war led Hobbes to the conclusion that men are like animals that needed to be controlled. Hobbes went even further and said that there was a need for some form of coercive power that should force people to do what is right. Equality according to Hobbes is seein in the equal use of power needed to force men to do the right thing.
Hobbes was clearly bothered and terrified by the prospects of war that he was willing to justify whatever coercive action that a leader needed to impose on people. This is for the simple purpose of creating a stable government and the creation of a prosperous nation under the rule of law. However, the use of a compelling force means that men and women must be prepared for coercion and the loss of freedom.
They have to accept the fact that a superior power has to rule over them. This absolute power has the authority to do what it pleases in terms of deciding the fate of a town, community or individual. In other words the judgement is final. There can be no appeals. It is therefore a system that can easily produce a dictator. Aside from that there is the danger of increasing the power of the dictator and he can no longer remain as the arbiter and guardian of the people. He will become the absolute ruler of his domain.
Hobbes even made a clear argument that the people who are under this regime must not do anything to upset the balance of power. The citizens must learn to submit meekly and without question because this is the only assurance that peace and stability can be achieved. Freedom of expression and creativity is stifled for the greater good.
Equality according to Hobbes is all about the equal distribution of man’s capability and propensity to destroy one another. This form of equality Hobbes accepts to be the main reason why men and women must not be allowed to do as they please.
According to Hobbes equality among men is seen in their common desire for destruction and power and he wrote: “I put forth a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power that ceaseth only in death” (Hobbes, p.58). In Hobbes’ mind men are equal only in their ability to destroy and subdue one another.
When Locke began to write down his ideas, the world has undergone a tremendous transformation as it tried to break away from its mediaeval past. Locke and his contemporaries are therefore more confident to go against established ideas about politics and social life.
While Hobbes preferred to surrender human rights and offer people freedom under an absolute ruler, Locke on the other hand made his disagreement known. Locke cannot accept the fact that kings and queens are given blanket authority over people’s lives. Locke said it is against the natural order of things that men should become the slave of another.
Locke was one of the first to elucidate that there is no such thing as a divine right to rule, no one was born to be a king and rule over others with an iron hand. Locke could not accept Hobbes proposition that only absolutism can establish a progressive and stable government.
Although Hobbes and Locke differed in their perspective of equality both men are in agreement when it comes to the necessity of a State. They also agree that man should be under the authority of a just ruler. The only difference is that Hobbes did not give provide an avenue to resist against acts of despotism. Locke is in agreement only as long as the government’s role is limited to the management of the collective rights of people for the establishment of an egalitarian society.
Hobbes’ fear of chaos and utter destruction due to incessant warfare is matched by Locke’s fear of dictatorship and abuse of power. Locke also argued that absolutism as a form of government can easily lead to the corruption of the government. It is therefore important that Locke is able to shoot down the argument that monarchs have the divine mandate to rule.
In the 21st century Locke’s view has been proven to be closer to the ideal form of government needed to create a stable and prosperous society. It is therefore interesting to note that when Locke completed his treatise there was no other form of government that he could have used to prove his point.
European societies are only familiar with the monarchical form of governance. Absolutism is the main feature of European governments. It is therefore important to point out the source of knowledge that Locke utilized to help him arrive at his conclusions with regards to equality.
It is not surprising to know that part of his understanding of politics has a theological basis. Locke used the Bible to prove that even in the very beginning there was nothing that could provide any basis to the claim that there are those who are born to subjugate others and that there are those destined to be under the control of another human being.
Locke argued the following points and he wrote: “Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood or by positive donation from God, any such authority over his children, nor dominion over the world, as is pretended… That if he had, his heirs yet had no right to it” (Locke, p.1). It was an idea that did not take effect soon enough but later on it became the basis for freedom loving people who found a way to prove that indeed all men and women are created equal (Burke, p.347).
The conceptual framework that Locke presented is easy to grasp. He was referring to the basis of traditional lineal authority and his writing proves that there is none. A present day King does not have the mandate from heaven. He does not have authority to rule over another person.
It must be made clear that Locke did not talk about a leaderless society but a society governed by laws and the King himself is under that law. Locke made a clarification that rules are not changed based on the caprice and whim of the ruler but it is based the rule of law. Everyone is under the law and no one is above it. This is the only way to live under a society with rules and yet never in danger of someday being under the absolute control of a despot.
It would be impossible to understand Hobbes’ and Locke’s assertion regarding equality without considering the context of the times. Hobbes was justified in his understanding of equality because he saw people killing each other on a regular basis. The destructive nature of war was so real that Hobbes sought a way out of it.
For him a life under absolutism is better than a life of constant warfare. Locke on the other hand lived in a time when rulers and powerful monarchs are so corrupt that it spurned him to write against their abuses. Locke’s arguments were way ahead of his time because for centuries, absolutism has been accepted as the only method to effectively govern men. Thus, the modern world and democratic governments are indebted to Locke and his treatise.
Burke, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France. CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1994.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2004.
The Fight for Equality in Martin Luther King’s Life and Writings Research Paper
Many leaders have had inspiring literature but not many have been inspiring than Martin Luther King Junior. Since his death, King’s works have received criticism from many quarters. Some of the criticisms portray him as a larger that life character.
King’s early life experiences shaped his faith, later life, career and even marriage to a very large extent. Martin Luther King Junior was born and brought up in a strictly religious family. His family; father, mother and grandparents were leaders in the Baptist church in America. For instance his paternal grandfather was a pastor in this church where his father later became a pastor.
Due to their active involvement in church Martin Luther King Junior spent much of his childhood in Ebenezer Baptist church. As he grew up he was saddened by the notable differences brought about by racism. At the age of six he discovered that he could not go to the same school as his white play mate and best friend. This and such experiences lead to the realization of how unjust the American society was. Gradually he engaged himself in civil rights movements to become a renowned religious human rights activist.
He wrote articles and gave inspiring speeches. Even though his works proposed non-violent protests, they still attracted sharp criticism, both positive and negative from various quarters. His writings have come under heavy criticism especially from Africana Studies scholars who question whether they contained the necessary intellectual content to be declared academic.
Furthermore King has also been declared a plagiarist. However not all criticism has been negative. It has been claimed that he was a great leader whose activities had massive effects on the historical human rights movements. Despite all the criticism leveled against him, his works greatly influenced by his early life experiences, have had a large impact in the clamor for equality amongst all races.
The history of inequality in the 1950’s and 1960’s
The foundation of true democratic society that respected the basic freedom, liberty and other basic rights can be traced back to the grate American civil war of 1860s. The south was defeated and as such one of the effects of the war was to help reconstruct this region by putting in democratic laws.
The American human right and equality movement had gone on for quit a while prior to the 1950. The black American had fought courageously for equality and thus ended the inhuman slave trade and labor. However, an equality revolution occurred in the 1950s and 1960s.The revolution heightened in the 1960s, but the events of that was shaped by what had happened in the1950s.
The 1950s America was more peaceful in terms of protest. Americans were fairly tolerable of each other. The economy was good as it was driven by the power of the middle class. However, deep a seated cold war between races eventually gave way in the 1960s. The revolution grew out of the increasing oppression, there rising poverty levels, racial and cultural divisions as well as risk political pressure and tensions (Lewis para 3).
The tensions underlined were heightened in the 1950s by increasing opposition to legalization of racism and inequality by The Jim Crow laws. The laws legalized racial segregation and inequality. The blacks were also denied basic needs such as the right to vote, decent education and jobs. This inequality was justified by its supporters who argue that the whites economic prosperity depended on keeping the blacks at the lowest ebb of the society ladder (Lewis para 4).
Other than the economic reasons, some other factors lead to the increase of human rights revolution in the late 1950 to 19 60s. Some of the blacks had moved from the south to the northern states which had not legalized racism. The blacks in northern states were treated well and enjoyed equal treatment as the whites. As such this motivated the southern blacks to demand for equality. Finally the events after the World War II also inspired the equality movement in America.
This is because America declaration for justice peace and freedom for all. The black in the south thus demanded that the American government hold true its promise of freedom and equality (Lewis para 9- 11). The revolution was lead by a number of activists such as Martin Luther king junior, Malcolm X among others. Early life experiences of martin Luther king influenced his involvement in search fro an equal society
Kings earlier life experiences that influenced his later life
Martin Luther King Junior’s early life experiences had a very large impact on him and his career as a human rights activist. Like all the blacks in the southern states he came into contact with racial inequalities at a very early age. However, there is no record to show that he was unaware of the social inequalities before he was six years old. This is despite the fact that he went to an all blacks Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
However, when he turned six and it was time to go to school, he for the first time experienced the ugly reality of racism. At that time he was told that he could not go to the same school as his white best friend because he was colored. This shocking revelation came from the parents of his white best friend. Upon inquiry from his parents, they responded well by explaining to him the history of the racism in America (Fleming 6).
Growing up under strict Baptist parents was another significant and influential development that shaped his life. He grew up under a very strict father who almost forcibly taught his children to respect the Christian commandments and have an absolute belief in God. It is reported that by the time he was five he could recite the Ten Commandments (9). Martin Luther king junior was close to his grandmother than to his parents.
He would therefore accompany her to church and sing alongside her in the church choir. It is probably this early exposure to singing in public that enhanced his commendable oratory skill that later became his chief asset in his works. His opposition to social inequities was evident in his earlier life, such as when he refused to buy shoes from the colored section in a shoes shop as well as when he with his white music teacher refused to sit separately in a bus. Thus his early life experiences prepared him for his career.
An overview of kings works in relation to the fight for equality
One of the characteristic factors of all Kings’ writings is the determined and unhindered fight for equal rights. His writings as well as his speeches justifiably assert the notion that equality of all races is the responsibility of all people. His works fought for equal treatment by providing equal employment opportunities.
He lamented, however that the under privileged had been denied basic education. As such this put them in an unduly disadvantaged position that would only qualify them for poorly paid menial labor. The black, especially, were the largest victims of this unjust treatment in a country that had implemented the equal treatment for all more than a hundred years ago.
The denials of basic education thus automatically put them in lower level jobs t. As such they were relegated to only do menial jobs. Such inequalities are however brought about by the misunderstanding and the different interpretation of the term “equality” (King, King and Harding 8). As such these differences in definition exposed the gaps between the existing realities and the intended goal of an equal society.
King in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail also accused the white of being democrats but practicing the “antithesis of democracy” (King, King and Harding 21). Even though the letter had some religious messages, Martin Luther opted to adopt the intellectual approach in his argument about the need for the church, lead by its clergy, to be at the forefront in the fight for an equal society.
In this letter, he drew many examples on how the church had failed the same society it claimed to serve. He argued that the church’s refusal to support efforts to stem racial inequality was equal to preaching water and drinking wine (King para 25).
His works continued to highlight that the effect of the legalized racism were greater and went beyond the social protests. The economic burden of racism was too big a burned to handle.
Employing the uneducated black in American companies would lead to low quality goods which are an economic waste. Furthermore, the black had to be economically empowered to have the necessary buying power. This is because American as becoming a master of mass production and as such hard to search for markets for its goods. The black community provided a lucrative market.
Doing this would mean empowering the black through education, provisions of better jobs that would lead to better buying power. Furthermore king lamented that the distribution chain of manufactured good had to be improved so as to serve black neighborhood (King, King and Harding 21).
It would have been easy to accuse King of only fighting for equal rights of only blacks in Americans. he proved his critics wrong by also highlighting the need to not only have social equality but also economic equality amongst all members of the society. King was shocked by the fact that white and black civil rights workers had been brutally killed for demanding a justice course for all (King, King and Harding 2).
Scholarly criticism of King’s writings
Martin Luther King Junior‘s works has drawn much criticism from many quarters (Carson 1). His writings have received both negative and positive criticism.
Anthony Cook, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Florida asserts that King, like many of the Critical legal Scholars who have bravely sought to transform the great American society wrestled with many of the theoretical dilemmas that were the basis of the equality movement (Cook 985).
King did not just stop at that: he and engaged himself in gainful experiences as well the social struggles of the equality movement. Cook adds that martin Luther king junior drew his inspiration and thought from religious as well as the politics of the time. The result is that king created a superior and ideal society devoid of all the social evils that existed in the 1950s and 60s America. Thus his works were beyond mere words.
Carson (1) agrees with Prof Cook and adds that King’s writings contained deep religious messages of love and peace. However, religious messages were less evident in his writings as they were in his oral speeches. This is because most of these speeches were constructed as summons.
As such they had to assume a religious perspective on the issue of inequality. In many of his speeches he pleaded with the masses not to adopt a philosophical approach to understanding God. This, he reasoned, would add to their confusion. Probably his unspoken conviction is that the uneducated black American would have had a problem philosophizing God.
Not all black scholars have whole heartedly accepted King’s writings as purely scholarly. These include some of the most respected Africana Studies scholars such as Molefi Asante and Maulana Kalenga.
These two among many others argue that it is no doubt that King was a respected religious philosopher, well established in his own right. Furthermore they add that King’s leadership skills are unquestionable. However King’s works according to these two is subject to evaluation on whether it contains the intellectual content to be included in Africana Studies (Keatts ii).
Many of the African scholars argue that even though King’s works played a major role in the fight for equality in America they cannot be equated to the works of early human right activist such as W.E.B. Du Bois (6). Scholars are almost in agreement that Martin Luther King Junior’s contribution to the search for an equal and just American society was more prophetic than academic.
Kings activities, which included his preaching’s, his writings as well as social protests on equality have inspired many people over the years. However whether they can be used as valid scholarly sources is a debatable subject. Some of these scholars assert that such prophetic works lack the intellectual validity to be cited as academic sources. As such so many of the Africana Studies scholars have had to ignore king and embrace other black and equality rights activist such as Garvey, Nkrumah and Malcolm X (Karenga 3).
The contributions of Martin Luther King Jr., have had great impact not only on him as a person but also on many other people. His works and thoughts are documented in his writings. Scholars have applauded his works as prophetic as they crated a vision of an ideal society. However such woks are debatable whether they can be included as academic sources as they lack the scholarly content. This is not intended to take away any criticism away from his works. They have still inspired the search fro equality in America.
Carson, Clayborne. “Editing Martin Luther King, Jr.: Political and Scholarly Issues.” In palimpsest: Editorial theory in the Humanities edited by George Bornstein and Ralph G. Williams, 305-316. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993.
Cook, Anthony. “Beyond Critical Legal Studies: The Reconstructive Theology of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Harvard Law Review. 1990. Web.
Fleming, Alice. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Dream of Hope. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. 2008. Print.
Karenga, Maulana Introduction to Black Studies, Third Edition. Los Angeles, CA: University of Sankore Press. 2002. Print.
Keatts, Quenton. “A Discourse Analysis of the Centered and Critical Scholar-Activism of Martin Luther King Jr.” 2010. Web.
King, Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Mlkonline. 2011. Web.
King, Martin Luther, King, Coretta Scott, Harding, Vincent. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos Or Community? Massachusetts: Beacon Press. 2010.
Lewis, Chris. The Black Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. 2002. Web.
Liberty, Equality and Power Essay
The US has had a number of colorful events in its history as regards to liberty, equality and power. Many have lost their lives while fighting for the three social values. Actions aimed at restoring democracy and human freedoms can be traced back to the works of classical scholars.
The social contract that is alleged to have been signed by men brought about the fundamental rights and freedoms. People agreed to live together and co-exist harmoniously. Liberty is the freedom to do anything desired by an individual. Such freedoms however should not interfere with the rights of others. It is true that as an individual claims to be free, he/she has a responsibility of behaving according to societal laws and regulations (Owens 97).
The US has a long history of struggle towards liberty. The first major struggle was against colonialism in which the US managed to liberate itself from the colonial rule. During colonialism, Native Americans were not allowed to take up jobs in government with the reason that they were illiterate. The only thing they could offer was manual labor. The whites exploited Americans for long before they organized a revolution to liberate themselves.
Democracy and respect of human rights are some of the important tenets of liberty. Democracy means that each individual should be allowed to participate in governmental decision-making. Usually, people participate in governance by electing their representatives. Americans have constantly engaged in conflicts, with an intention of being recognized and treated equally.
Murrin and Johnson do not appreciate the fact that justice can be achieved through violence (40). Americans fought for their rights, they never acquired them through soft means. Again, the writers are ignorant as regards to the rights of the minority in US. The black race and other people of color have not enjoyed the rewards of sovereignty.
Ever since, Africans have supplied their labor free or at very lost cost. Their struggle to liberation resulted to a deadly Civil War which cost the lives of many, including senior government officials. The inconsistencies between the Southerners and Northerners will remain as one of the most important historical events in the US. Through the Civil War, Southerners were lastly freed but their social interaction in society has not been pleasant. The American society still feels that African culture is inferior to other cultures.
During the World Wars, agitation for liberty and equality reached at a surpassed level whereby other members of society previously neglected started demanding for their rights. Women in particular capitalized on the President’s speech, which posited that the war intended to restore democracy and equality. This implied that despots such as Benito Mussolini of Italy, Adolf Hitler of Germany and monarchic regime in Japan had to be overthrown.
The allied forces indeed managed to do this, which further gave women courage to fight male patriarchy. Women were determined to pursue their rights since they knew that it was possible to achieve equality. Men erected barriers that derailed women from achieving their rights for a long time (Robertson 21). The world war provided a good ground for a revolt. Women were granted some rights and freedoms that untied them from male domination.
Even though American people have achieved rights as well as freedoms, the society does not recognize the existence of some members. The societal structure is so rigid and skewed to an extent that citizens do not have options but to comply.
Just like in earlier years, women are still economically powerless. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening. The minorities in society continue to face the injustices implanted by societal structure. People of color have little capital, which impedes them from participating in economic development.
They are incorporated in the economy as underdogs meaning that their role is provision of labor. The owners of the means of production are the Whites. Therefore, women and African race are compared to the proletariat who produces goods for the rich. This trend is not expected to change soon due to development model employed by the state. Capitalism will always generate few rich individuals and several poor people.
Another problem that interferes with individual liberty is state power. The state claims to be sovereign and for that case, it has the power to exercise jurisdiction over life and property. The state has a right to terminate life or to recover individual property when state security is in danger. In real terms, state sovereignty or power is incompatible with individual liberty. The state is seen to exercise authority over individuals in a number of ways.
It can therefore be concluded that state power and capitalism subjugates and oppresses the poor, including women. The state is a property of the ruling class that is employed to protect property. The bourgeoisie co-opts the state because it has coercive powers. State machineries have always been used throughout history to perpetuate the poor and women. Governments come up with laws that prohibit certain behaviors from individuals. The American states have recently enacted immigration laws that repress other races.
Murrin, John and Johnson, Paul. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People since 1863. 3rd ed. New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 2003.
Owens, William. Freedom: Keys to Freedom from Twenty-one National Leaders. Memphis, Tennessee: Main Street Publications, 2008.
Robertson, Henry and Merrills, Graham. Human Rights in the World: An Introduction to the Study of the International Protection of Human Rights. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996.
American Africans Action in the Struggle for Equality Research Paper
These are protests that came to prominence in the course of 1950s, which raised concern against the incessant discrimination and racial segregation experienced by the American Africans and other marginalized groups in the southern America.
Continued oppression against people of different color, race, politics, or even religion had inspired many young American Africans to join action in the struggle for equality (Chong 23). Some of the prominent figures in the Movement include Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois and Rosa Parks among others.
Although the civil rights mass protest was officially formalized in the 1950s and 1960s, the fight for equality in various institutions of the U.S. had started long time ago. Community leaders in various segmentations of the society had showed resistance to the white supremacy and domination against the African Americans which had been abounded in some states. ‘Everyday’s Use’ written at the peak of the transformational movement, is a perfect expression and reflection of the issue of the aspects surrounding the civil rights movement.
Set at the height of the social issue, the story is a real representation of the key aspects of the day. Here, the writer applies writing to highlight some of the main issues surrounding the Black Power Movement. Walker’s purpose on the story is achieved through the creative formation of characters who symbolize the plight of blacks and women as observed during those times.
The movement was initially facilitated by the progressive efforts of the descendants of African slaves who had always tried to resist the institution of slavery upon them. Regular protests and campaigns of resistance were some of the common characteristics associated with this movement. Civil disobedience and activities of nonviolent demonstrations and protests were also common. Sometimes, these would bear crisis scenarios between government authorities and the activists resulting to confrontations.
Although it took many years for the issues highlighted in the movement to be addressed, the protests had significant impact to the modern world. Many changes were realized owing to the pressure of the movement. For instance, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were introduced in the years 1964 and 1965, respectively thus granting all American citizens basic civil privileges, regardless of their race and ethnicity.
Alice Walker is a renowned female activist who was born and raised at a time when the Civil Right Movements in South U.S. was taking shape. At the height of the transitional movement, Alice, then a college student at Spelman, was lucky to meet and rub shoulders with some of the prominent players in the movement, such as Martin Luther King Jr. This inspired her to become one of the strongest female activists in the American history.
Her contribution in the struggle for human rights and equality has continued to raise strong impact to the world. According to Tuten, Alice is a woman with many records in life and her largest contribution in life can be perceived through her countless struggles against discrimination and oppression (126). ‘Everyday’s Use’ is just one of her many writings about race and gender which raised much alert in the civil rights movement.
Racism, feminism and the many issues frequently raised by young American Africans who’d tend to lose respect to the culture that gave birth to them are some of the issue that Alice explores in ‘Everyday’s Use.’
As it would be observed, the story in this essay is Walker’s response to the social discourse of the 1950s and 1960s, when the civil rights movement took place. The writer has vividly expressed some of the issues that continue to plague modern American communities, as expressed through the lives of the characters in the story (Whitsitt 448).
Economic, social, and political issues are illustrated in the story, through the family of the narrator, who is referred by the title of ‘Mama’ or Mrs. Johnson. The story strongly illustrates the big contrast between the narrator and Maggy, one of her two daughters who still share the same conservative life with her, and ‘Wangero’ or Dee, the educated daughter who scorns the culture that gave birth to her.
As observed from this story, the writer has based the two sisters on aspects constituting her own character. Whereby Maggy represents her difficult childhood, Dee remains to be a vivid reflection of her latter life which is characterized by education and success; the two aspects that would enable her to take part in the civil rights movement.
The two different positions represent the culture and the progress of the American Africans in mid-to late-twentieth-century times. The story is set in a time when the lives of American Africans were undergoing a radical transition.
These groups of people were able to gain freedom of civil rights at last, through the glory of civil rights movement, after many years of oppression and discrimination from the whites (Gianturco and Tuttle 18). The final outcome reached on the story, is a representation of the results which succeeded the movement as American Africans started gaining recognition in various segments of the American society.
This freedom would see the emergence of a new generation that has contradicting views about crucial aspects of life. As a matter of fact, the writer has used the story to defend the legacy of her family and culture and to pay homage to the initial inhabitants of the South, where she grew up.
Chong, Dennis. Collective action and the civil rights movement, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. Print.
Gianturco, Paola, and T. Tuttle. In her hands: craftswomen changing the world, New York: PowerHouse Books, 2004. Print.
Tuten, Nancy. “Alice Walker’s Everyday Use.” The Explicator 51. 2 (1993): 125-128. Print.
Whitsitt, Sam. “In Spite of It All: A Reading of Alice Walker’s Everyday Use.” African American Review 34. 3 (2000): 443-459. Print.
Chaucer and Sophocles Views on Gender Equality Essay
Chaucer and Sophocles are some of the new generation writers though their writings are based on a number of centuries ago. Their works, “The Canterbury Tales” and “The Three Theban plays,” respectively, are innovative piece of writings and are used as vehicles for serious history and story telling.
Their main agenda is to attempt to show their readers what it was like to be a woman in the United States, particularly during the Ancient Greek period and the Middle Ages. These authors shed light on women’s life, and therefore want the readers to understand a term that comes with many underlying meanings: gender equality. As the authors delve into this issue, they present the readers with a view that women also have the ability of a second thought.
The Status of Women during this Period
Beforehand, women were perceived as inferior and lived according to the rules stipulated to guide the family settings, making them lack a sense of identity in the society. The gender inequality has been addressed where the authors concentrate on the psychological mind of the women as well as their expressive aspects. The minds of the women are probed in an attempt to determine why they behaved as such. The authors attempt to compare their mindsets with that of their male counterparts.
Chaucer (1990) illustrates how the Wife of Bath commences her tale with a rape case. This depicts the presence of male dominance over women, since rape serves the purpose of gratifying male sexual urge and, at the same time, humiliating the women.
This incident in “The Canterbury Tales,” thus, brings to light the issues to do with gender dominion, with men dominating the women in the family setting. The women involved play a critical role in representing women’s voices. The writings further show that the women cannot fully entrust any ruling made by a male judge since he always treated women’s plea in contempt.
Sophocles (1984) illustrates the manner in which Antigone expresses her views, stating that the current ruler of Thebes, Creon, on grounds of carrying out family affairs, has humiliated her. And even as Antigone expresses displeasure over the manner in which the current king treats her, Creon, who is also her uncle, continues to defend his status, claiming that women cannot fully understand men’s point of view unless the men decide to disclose their thoughts.
His assertion, therefore, is a clear indication that women were marginalized within the family settings. Likewise, this incident brings to light the issue of gender inequality with a view of revealing the women’s position: failure to entrust state laws simply because men who have a total disregard for women in the society make them.
Authors’ Opinion on Women
The ideas presented by the Chaucer’s works try to portray the writer’s point of view: that the Wife of Bath, under all cost, pursues gender equality, and more so, dominating the male gender. This is evidenced by the fact that her speech is characterized by self promoting words, which portray a picture of aggressiveness that attempts to be equal with men and even rule over them. This is clearly portrayed when she quotes that she endeavors to make her husband a debtor as well as a slave (Chaucer 1990).
Likewise, the idea presented by the Sophocles works discloses that Antigone is ready to contest with Creon in as far as gender equality is concerned. This is confirmed by the fact that she believes in divine powers, which act as the final arbiter to her decisions, not the king’s laws (Sophocles, 1984). And as such, she went ahead and buried her brother, claiming that the king’s judgments are inconsequential in as far as family issues are concerned.
With this information at hand, it is clear that the authors are trying to portray that issues of gender dominion fostered the problems that women faced during this period. This stems from the fact that the women demanded to have their voices heard, but the men would not hear of it. The authors further reveal that women experiencing gender inequality always have a second thought.
How the Authors Expressed Themselves
The authors expressed their views in the best image and were considerate on the interests of all the women with regard to typical issues affecting them in the society.
This is evident in the “The Canterbury Tales” as the queen states that a judge cannot rule over the case of the loathly lady because he is biased against all women (Chaucer, 1990). This is also evident in “The Three Theban Plays,” as Antigone declares that she does not recognize state laws because they take less concern on the welfare of all the women in the society (Sophocles, 1984).
However, Chaucer ridicules the manner in which women behave, stating that even though the Wife of Bath portrays a burning desire for ruling over men, she finds herself using all the gender dominion acquired to provide men with all they long for (Chaucer, 1990).
And even though Sophocles shows empathy for Antigone, the author ridicules the manner in which she tries to attain women rights, stating that it is not worthwhile to take away her life because it does not, in any way, add value to her life and to the life of the loved ones in the family setting(Sophocles, 1984). Thus, this makes the authors negative in relation to how women finalized their pursuit of fighting for their rights.
The Period Most Favorable for Women
The Ancient Greek Society, according to Woelfel & Trulove (2002), marks a period when women were degraded and mistreated in marriage as well as in the political sphere. The marginalization of women in the family setting was evident from their childhood, and as such, girls were considered as women and given in marriage at a very tender age, putting them at risk of death during child delivery.
The elder women were also marginalized within marriage as evidenced by the fact that, besides acquiring inheritance from their brothers, they could not acquire any wealth during marriage, or any inheritance from their husbands, or even handle other jobs apart from the domestic duties. However, even though these women could inherit property from their brothers, such property was entirely controlled by their husband.
On the other hand, the Middle Ages period, according to Woelfel & Trulove (2002), is marked by an emergence of women’s voices in an effort to acquire equal opportunities with their male counterpart in marriage as well as in the political sphere. As such, women were given opportunities to work in industries, though they handled unskilled labor, which paid very low wages.
Additionally, women were in a position of gaining limited grounds in political as well as in religious sphere. But even though women could marry someone of their choice, their marriage was jeopardized by harsh working conditions, leading to death of many at an early age. The women, however, were entitled to inherit their husband’s property in case they were widowed.
Given the difference in status of women during the Ancient Greek period and the Middle Ages period, it is clear that the degree to which women were marginalized is lower in the Middle Ages than in the Ancient Greek period, because majority of women acquired limited freedom in the family setting as well as in the political sphere. Despite the unfavorable working conditions during the Middle Ages, the right of inheritance freed a number of them from economic hardships, unlike the Ancient Greek period when all women suffered.
Chaucer and Sophocles works focus on the position of women in the society with regard to their social standing in the family setting. The books express how women were treated in the past, the challenges they faced while fighting for their rights, as well as how they applied partiality while fighting for their rights.
Since then, the American women have an urge of protecting their gender and not being classified as weak anymore, as they perceive that doing so enhances their equality with men and gives them an obligation for their family and, indeed, their entire country.
And while the idea of gender equality is rational for the female gender, remember, too, that it creates a number of dilemmas and pressure, as women have to leave their babies behind without an adequate care in an effort to acquire equal opportunities with their male counterparts.
Chaucer, G. (1990). The Canterbury tales. Toronto: Bantam.
Sophocles, A. (1984). The three Theban plays. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.
Woelfel, J. W., & Trulove, S. C. (2002). Patterns in Western civilization, Vol.1 (3rd ed.). Needham Heights, Mass: Ginn Press.