The social problem I have chosen for this research paper is gender inequality. Gender inequality has been an ongoing social problem in the United States for many years. Gender inequality has certainly become less from changes in history, however we are still dealing with different issues spiraling from the social problem. Some of these issues are large and some are small, but even if the small issues could be fixed then we are making progress in the United States.
Macro perspective is looking at the big picture in society and micro perspective is looking at the smaller details of the same picture. The macro perspective of gender inequality is the opportunities you can have or miss out on whether female or male. This persists in employment, promotions, higher pays, gender roles, sexual assault and harassment. The list could keep going, but we will just mention a few. An example of a micro perspective, “Many studies emphasize that socialization leads children to adopt the gender roles associated with femininity and masculinity. Parents interact with their sons and daughters differently. The children continue to learn their gender roles from their peers, schools, the mass media, and religion.” (University, 2016) Out of the example above the macro perspective would be the gender roles associated with femininity and masculinity, but it is a micro perspective example because it goes into detail about gender roles with children and parents.
The first sociological theory that most sticks out when you think of gender inequality is conflict theory. “Conflict theory is the theory revolves around concepts of social inequality in the division of resources and focuses on the conflicts that exist between classes.” (Investopedia, 2018) Information stated in our textbook that really relates to this social issue is in the statement below. “This theory emphasizes that different groups in society have different interests stemming from their different social positions. These different interests in turn lead to different views on important social issues. Some versions of the theory root conflict in divisions based on race and ethnicity, gender, and other such differences, while other versions follow in seeing conflict arising out of different positions in the economic structure.” (University, 2016) This theory relates to gender inequality because the conflict theory wants society to change and change needs to happen to get rid of or reduce gender inequality.
The second sociological theory that would relate to gender inequality is symbolic interactionism. “Symbolic interactionism focuses on the interaction of individuals and on how they interpret their interaction.” (University, 2016) As it was mentioned earlier in an example above, gender roles are a big part of gender inequality. In the past the woman did not work and did all the house work and took care of the children. The husband worked and did the strenuous work. Today it is still present, but not as much as it was in the past. When parents tell their child/children they are supposed to act a certain or fill a role, then that is an example of symbolic interactionism. It is the parents job to shape the mind of their child, this is symbolic interactionism. How children grow up thinking from their parents plays a role in how others are treated. In researching for the topic of females and males in gender roles I have found this chart which tells you about jobs with men and women. “Women and men tend to work in very different occupations. And overall “men’s jobs” are better paid than “women’s jobs.” (Blue is jobs held by women and Red is jobs held by men)” (Standford, 2008)
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009. Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2008. Report 1017. See http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2008.pdf.
Prejudice and stereotypes have contributed to the ongoing gender inequality of people based on race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. All issues like sexism, racism, patriarchy, and discrimination are related to gender inequality. Society started to see a change when two movements happened by feminists: the first movement got women in society the right to vote and the second movement brought attention to women’s rights. This was a huge step in society for women. Gender inequality has been a social problem for many years. “It goes back to the 1800’s and the 1900’s prehistoric societies, two major social roles existed (1) hunting or gathering food to relieve hunger, and (2) bearing and nursing children.” (University, 2016) I have found on this website a statement for a policy that is put into place: “In 2012, we released our Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy, cementing our commitment to supporting women and girls. Building on this critical foundation and decades of experience, we’re ensuring all our strategies and programs are shaped by a gender analysis, and establish metrics that measure the gender impact of our programs.” (USaid, 2018)
I found out by researching that Switzerland is one of the world’s most successful economies. Some things they put into place for solutions are of the following: to make gender equality part of job training and education, be proactive about having men and women making the same pay and being on the same level. “Make flexibility and work life balance a part of the wider company culture.” (Weforum, 2014) Whether male or female do not put a limit on a specific gender and use the power of technology and networking. Another solution that I keep running into is take away gender roles.
Biological factors take place with gender inequality and it is hard for it to disappear. Women need to be loud and let their voices be heard. When I researched it also suggests that the fight for gender equality will have to be waged at the level of how people think, even as laws and institutional policies. Our assumptions about what women and men can and should do have a long way to catch up with the new possibilities created by education, economic innovation, and equal legal rights especially in young minds. Some households do not have gender roles and they worked hard to make things fifty-fifty. Majority of people have said we are better than in history, but we do have a long way to go.
There are four stages of social movement and they are emergence, coalescence, bureaucratization, and decline. Stage one is emergence and this is when people figure out there is a problem and others start to feel like there is a problem. The second stage is coalescence and this is when they reach out to everyone and get groups together to increase their groups and these groups start to strategize on a plan. The third stage is bureaucratization and this is when the movement goes into motion. The fourth stage is decline and that is when the goal is finally completed whether there is success or not. Women or men can do a social movement for gender inequality like women have done in the past, however they just need to make sure they put the time and effort into it.
My opinion of gender inequality is it won’t be going anywhere for a while. I do believe that men get favored over women on certain occasions. I don’t think it’s fair about men getting paid more than women dealing with employment. Maybe if a woman ran this country it would be a little better than the situation we are in now. Again, I believe if we shape young minds to be open and treat everyone equally then the world will get better. It will take many years for this social issue to be resolved.