Women: the minority

In 2011, women are state officials, senators, CEOs of major companies and scientists constantly making breakthrough discoveries.

Gender discrimination and the ignorant notion that women are incapable of holding prestigious titles and completing strenuous tasks seem things of the past.

Once carefully considered, however, it is apparent that these discriminatory attitudes still remain prevalent in society.

A journalism professor of mine recently asked our class what minority group is most underrepresented in the media.

Different ideas where thrown around, among them Asians, Native Americans and other various ethnic groups. None of these were correct, though.

Everyone seemed puzzled as to what the answer could be. When he told us it was women, the entire class was shocked.

According to Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, the media is failing to fairly portray more than half of the world’s population.

“Bias in the portrayal of women and men in news content has a detrimental impact on the public's perception of gender roles in society,” White said.

Of course, the media is not the only place where gender discrimination is practiced. It is well known that there have been cases of females receiving lower salaries than males doing the same job. The reason always relates to capabilities, supposedly.

According to the latest census data, women make 77 cents for every dollar that men make. From the workplace to sports, the military to public office, female figures are still being placed second to men in terms of credibility and opportunities.

Laws supposedly “protect” female employees from such discrimination, and maybe in a perfect world they would be enough, or not needed at all.

Sadly, these laws under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission leave much to go unnoticed and unattended to.

When I think of working females in society, the U.S. in particular, I cannot help but wonder why the number of women holding titles of prominence is so low.

It seems unbelievable that we are in a country that prides itself on being full of equality and opportunity, but we have yet to have a single female president.

Are citizens still holding onto outdated, sexist traditions, or are the women to blame for not stepping up to the job?

The same idea applies to senators, as only a low count of 17 female senators are serving the U.S. — a number that has not significantly grown in the past few years.

The obvious root of gender discrimination against females is the former roles they served in society. Physical capabilities and mental capabilities are two drastically different things that were, and still are, wrongly associated.

When practically all women were housewives 75 years ago, it makes sense that this progression is not yet complete. As for me, I would certainly like it to speed up a little.

I am by no means a feminist, but this does not mean I do not believe in equality in every imaginable sense.

If the reason why women are still not as active in roles of authority as men is due to lack of interest or ambition, then so be it. But if adequate and fair rights are not being given and laws are overlooked, there is something seriously wrong with the picture.

Contact Isabelle at inovak@asu.edu

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