Achieving Gender Equality: Challenges & Progress Across the Globe - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1839 Words
Date:  2023-01-04


Gender equality has been an issue of concern for many years across the globe. Gender equality refers to equal access and distribution of opportunities and resources regardless of one's gender and also being included in the decision-making process. Currently, most countries have made significant efforts to promote gender equality but there is still room for improvement. In addition, major international organizations such as the United Nations have been at the frontline to promote gender equality globally. That is evident in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals report which highlights one of the primary roles of the organization as to facilitate the attainment of gender equality and women empowerment. The United Nations achieves that objective through such efforts as the fight for equal pay for both men and women working on the same job. In the United States, such efforts have yielded in tremendous efforts in the 20th and the 21st centuries (given that women were not allowed to vote until 1920) as reported by the World Economic Forum Ranking which puts the country position 22 out of 144 countries in terms of attaining gender equality (Inglehart et al. 53). Apart from the United Nations, the Civil Rights Movements have increasingly raised awareness of unfair workplace practices against women like sexual harassment, unequal pay, and discrimination. Therefore, the combined efforts of the United Nations, the United States government, and the Civil Rights Movements have significantly contributed to the reduction of the gap in gender equality in the past two centuries. On that account, this paper presents specific efforts by the three groups that have resulted in the improvement of gender equality in the socioeconomic and political spheres in the United States.

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Efforts in the Political Sphere

In the past two decades, the United Nations, civil rights movements, and the United States government have rolled out programs aimed at increasing women's participation in politics and leadership. For instance, the EMILY's List, which belongs to a lobby organization called Political Action Committee (PAC), reached to thousands of women who then participated in marches across the country in 2017 (Brechenmacher). In addition, the rise of the MeToo has accelerated the national debate on sexual harassments and other practices that limit the ascension of women at work and in the political sphere (Brechenmacher). Also, the United Nations through its branch called "The UN WOMEN" has rolled out several flagship programmes such as "Step It Up" that strive to strengthen the voice of women as well as eliminate the structural barriers of women empowerment and gender equality (UN WOMEN). Further, the U.S. government launched the "Let Girls Learn" programme in 2015, which seeks to combine the efforts of the Department of State, the Peace Corps, USAID, and MCC to eliminate barriers that prevent young girls from obtaining a quality education that enables them to attain their maximum potential (USAID). These efforts have resulted in an increase in the number of women participation in politics and leadership. According to a report by the Centre for American Women and Politics, approximately 14% of the congressional seats were occupied by women and only 23% of elective seats were occupied by women in 2003 (Kabeer & Naila, 16). However, that number has increased in 2019 where women now hold 23.7% of the U.S. Congress seats and 25% of the seats in the Senate (Centre for American Women and Politics). That increase is due to several reasons such as continued government effort to encourage women to vie for various political positions within the country. Also, the civil rights movements mobilized women to engage in voter registration and turnout in large numbers. The high women voter registration and turnout as compared to that of the men within the country is a clear indication of the gains made for women to participate in politics. A large number of registered women voters tend to motivate women aspiring to join politics since they tend to count on the large number of register women to vote for them so that they can represent them in the various leadership positions. Although currently the majority of political seats are occupied by men, it is evident that the number of women in the political sphere is increasing every year (Eisenberg & Jeff Spinner, 76). This is a clear indication that the three entities have put tremendous effort towards gender equality. Therefore, it is highly likely that with the current trend, women will be occupying approximately half of the political positions in the near future.

Efforts in the Economic Sphere

According to the United States Department of Labour, the number of women in the labour market in 1980 was approximately 45.85 million people. By 2016, that number had increased to about 74.4million people. In modern America, almost every woman in the has either a part-time or a fulltime job. That has made it easy for the families to raise and support their children since both parents can cost share the expenses. The increased number of women in the workforce is as a result of increased government, business and societal support for the working women. Also, many state and local governments such as California and New Jersey have introduced a fully paternal and maternal leave policy as a way of supporting the working women in the United States (Asfaw, Pana-Cryan & Rosa 60).

Currently, cases of women being sexually discriminated and mistreated in the workplace have reduced significantly. Women are offered equal opportunities as men. For example, when applying for a job, a woman can equally qualify for the job a man because the job qualifications are not based on a person's gender but rather the person's academic qualifications and experience. This tends to motivate more women to apply for various vacant positions in different organizations without fear of being discriminated. Also, the government has passed strict laws prohibiting cases of discrimination in the workplace. The available jobs are equally distributed to people of both genders. For example, the participation of women in the STEM areas has increased mainly due to decline in discrimination. Besides the federal government, state and local governments have implemented various policies and regulations that are strongly enforced to ensure that no organization is practicing discrimination within the workplace. Although there still remains minor incidences of gender discrimination, the gains made by women in sectors previously considered masculine like engineering (Julio) illustrates the success of the efforts made by the United States government to achieve gender equality hence motivating more women to join the labor force.

One of the thorniest issues in the debate for gender equality is equal pay. In most countries, women earn less than men working the same job. However, this tendency has been on the decline especially after the enactment of the Equal Pay Act in 1963 (Kuhlmann and Ellen, 115). In addition, the MeToo movement has raised awareness against companies that pay women less than men. As such, many companies have agreed to implement equal pay policies for fear of negative backlash. For instance, Google and Apple implemented equal policies in 2012 and have been doing studies every year to ensure there are no incidents of unequal pay. In addition, the MeToo movement protested heavily and led a mass walkout after one of the executives announced that women could not be equal to men. The massive protest forced the company's management to rebuke that announcement and fire the executive (Wakabayashi). Such protests have been popular in the past eight years leading to significant gains for women in the workplace especially in areas highly dominated by men. These campaigns intend to enhance the public attention on the issue of gender pay and also to encourage the population to fight for their rights. The campaigns also intend to encourage various organizations to respect the rights of the workers by reducing the gender pay gap. Further, the annual gender gap reports help the American government to identify the state of the gender pay differences and also help in planning when and how the government will conduct awareness campaigns.

According to data by the International Labor Organizations, American women earned approximately 81% of what the men earned in 2010 (Lombardo et al. 186). However, this gap has reduced significantly in the recent past as a result of the mulita-agency efforts (Lombardo et al. 186). According to reports by the Pew research center analysis, women earned approximately 85% of what their male counterparts earned in 2018 (Inglehart et al. 54). The gains are much higher among younger women. The young women gender gap has also reduced over time. For example, in 1980, women aged between twenty-five and thirty-three years earned approximately thirty-three cents less as compared to the male counterparts while in 2018, women earned approximately eleven cents less compared to the males (Inglehart et al. 153).

Efforts in the Social Sphere

One of the factors reinforcing gender inequality is traditional social expectations and gender roles. The belief in these norms results in women being looked down upon when they choose to follow careers that are traditionally defined as masculine options. However, cases of occupation segregation have reduced significantly in the United States and this has been achieved through the government's efforts which promote equal distribution of both genders in all occupations across the country. This has been achieved through the government setting aside a certain number of slots for women to ensure they are represented in every field. Such affirmative actions have seen women start joining the male-dominated field such as vehicle mechanics while the males have also entered the female-dominated areas such as catering (Julio). These achievements illustrate the efficacy of the government efforts to enhance gender equality.

The combined efforts of the United Nations, the U.S. government, and civil rights movements have been highly successful in the education sector. These groups have championed the significance of education and in fact, view it as a weapon to fight inequalities in the society. Undoubtedly, educated persons face fewer difficulties climbing up the socioeconomic ladder than uneducated people. In addition, educated people have a higher likelihood to become economically empowered than uneducated persons. Therefore, the emphasis on equal opportunity to access to education stems from the idea that a highly educated society is more likely to achieve gender equality than a lowly educated society. A report by Roudi-Fahimi and Moghadam affirms this hypothesis by presenting evidence which shows that groups that are highly educated (above university degree) have higher levels of gender equality than lowly educated groups (below high school) (2). The same phenomenon is replicated in the modern world where Western countries that have high literacy levels have higher levels of gender equality than those with low literacy levels especially in the Middle East and Africa (Roudi-Fahimi & Moghadam 2). Based on that, civil rights groups have for long pushed for strict policies against bullying, sexual discrimination, and sexism in the education sector. Such efforts have focused on the creation of a safe learning environment for young girls and women by encouraging publishers to use gender-neutral words and introduction of courses that teach about sexual harassment and gender discrimination. In addition, such groups as the American Association of University Women (AAUW) offer scholarships to women with the aim of closing the gap on under-representation...

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Achieving Gender Equality: Challenges & Progress Across the Globe - Essay Sample. (2023, Jan 04). Retrieved from

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