The crusade for equal rights for women is often thought of as a thing of the past. The days of women protesting and burning their bras in the streets for equality no longer exist in the Western world. Women have the right to vote now, they can work in any job they want, and (for the most part) they’re treated as equals to their male counterparts. Gender equality is the thing now. Even if the genders aren’t entirely equal they’re well on their way to being so. Or at least it appears from the outside.
It’s obvious to any who look that women in developing areas such as the Middle East and Africa aren’t treated the same way as men. These women often don’t receive education, aren’t allowed to work, and they often don’t even have control of their own bodies. While the kind of gender inequality running rampant in these developing countries isn’t as present in more developed countries, there are other forms of discrimination on this side of the world.
There are many examples of sneaky stereotypes and expectations that are becoming more and more ingrained into society. Take the example of all the women’s magazines you can find at any old drugstore. In these magazines it is possible to find articles on new sciences or inspiring stories, but you’ll find that nearly all of the pages are filled with clothing and make-up advice, diet and workout tips, and loads of advice on how to attract the opposite sex. The message becomes: girls need to improve themselves to be attractive. There are many more examples. Girls are encouraged to ask guys out but often become unattractive when they actually do so. Guys can be praised and respected for hooking up with lots of girls while girls are thought badly of for doing the same thing with guys. The Sadie Hawkins Dance exists solely to let girls ask the guy to the dance. Men are still paid more on average than women. The list goes on and on.
The problem now is where to draw the line. If we’re pushing for gender equality – complete equality – where do we stop? The point is, even though we’re (mostly) past the days of housewives and “Make me a sandwich woman!”, we still have a long way to go before the sexes are actually equal. And it’s going to be an awkward transition.