I was at a family dinner when I first realized it. I was announcing to my relatives that I wanted to pursue international relations studies in order to become a diplomat. Following my announcement , my aunt told me ” you can’t be a diplomat, this is a man’s job” . When I asked her why this was a job only men could do , she responded ” You ought to have a family. Who’s gonna be the man to follow you all around the world?”. This was my first encounter with gender inequality, as well as with sexism. Don’t get me wrong , I had heard that all of these things existed but I didn’t believe that people that I encountered in my every day life could think like that. So I’ve done a little bit of research . You see, there are so many things that we consider normal that are in fact signs of gender inequality , let it be workplace , family , law, or society .
In the workplace, women’s unemployment rate is far higher than men’s, sometimes reaching the unbelievable rate of 1:2 ! There are many women working part-time jobs or jobs where health insurance and pension credits are not included. Women are victims of the so called ” gender payment gap” , as they are paid much less than men for doing the same job . This happens even in Hollywood, as the difference between the highest- paid actor and the highest paid actress is shocking ( world’s highest paid actress salary in 2015 is 52 million dollars whereas that of her male counterpart is 80 million dollars) Moreover, it is far more difficult for a woman to get hired if she is not considered physically attractive than it is for a man . There are so many cases where women are not valued for their knowledge and intelligence but for the way they look. Women are also victims of sexual harassment in the workplace by their bosses or colleagues . It is very sad to realize that women are sometimes forced to put up with this kind of behavior in order to keep their jobs. They often can’t even talk about what is happening out of fear of being blamed of dressing provocatively or of flirting .
There are countries where women are deprived from education , as it is not seen as a valuable tool since their only purpose is to get married. There are other countries where women can and must go to school , but they are always faced with derogatory comments about their gender. In western societies, doing things “like a girl” is a way of saying that someone is acting weak and therefore without dignity . Girls are taught that being pretty is more useful than being smart , and are also taught that they have or don’t have the ability to do certain things . For example , a girl cannot do math or science , but excels at linguistic subjects. There are countries where women do not have the right to drive , but there are others where women might be allowed to drive , but they always have to put up with derogatory comments about the way they do it. In some countries , a woman driver is the butt of every existing joke about driving . In some parts of the world , women cannot walk alone . In the western world, women and girls are almost always faced with sexual harassment and cat-calling while walking alone .
But what can be done about it? How can we end gender inequality? It is obvious that solutions to that matter are hard to find. But yet , they exist , and we shall try them . The first , which I personally consider crucial , is the change of culture . It is more than obvious that if a boy is taught that acting like a girl is shameful , and that girls are inferior to boys , then that boy is going to grow up being a sexist , and is going to promote gender inequality. What is more , school should treat students equally , despite their gender, and should encourage girls to do everything they’ve set their minds too . Families and friends should not enforce the belief that women are only useful as housewives but that they are as valuable as men . What is more , all the members of the family should help with the household chores , in order not to make the girl believe that this only a woman’s job . In that way , women are going to be freed by all these stereotypes that hold them back from doing what they really want to .
Concerning the inequalities women face at the workplace, special committees should be created in order to examine thoroughly the percentage of women employed in each company . If not enough employees are women , a lawsuit should be filed against the company . This should apply also to politics . Every parliament should have a minimum percentage of women , or else it shall be unable to function . Companies should encourage women to apply for higher posts without being afraid of rejection . We should also rethink the way we are interviewing prospective employees . When employers are asking applicants what do they think their salary would be , women are always asking for less than they really deserve, which gives the opportunity to employers to underpay women.
Finally , I believe that women deserve to know and to feel valuable . They deserve to understand that they can achieve everything they put their minds to . It is a shame that so many talents are lost just because these talents happen to be in women’s bodies . It is time that that changes .