Diversity Organization Essay

1276 words - 6 pages

Throughout most of history women generally have had fewer legal rights
and career opportunities than men. Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as
women's most significant professions. In the 20th century, however, women in
most nations won the right to vote and increased their educational and job
opportunities. Perhaps most important, they fought for and to a large degree
accomplished a reevaluation of traditional views of their role in society. Since
early times women have been uniquely viewed as a creative source of human
life. Historically, however, they have been considered not only intellectually
inferior to men but also a major source of temptation and evil. In ...view middle of the document...

Laws concerned with welfare, crime,
prostitution, and abortion also displayed a bias against women. In possible
violation of a woman's right to privacy, for example, a mother receiving
government welfare payments was subject to frequent investigations in order to
verify her welfare claim. Sex discrimination in the definition of crimes existed in
some areas of the United States. A woman who shot and killed her husband
would be accused of homicide, but the shooting of a wife by her husband could
be termed a "passion shooting." Only in 1968, for another example, did the
Pennsylvania courts void a state law which required that any woman convicted of
a felony be sentenced to the maximum punishment prescribed by law. Often
women prostitutes were prosecuted although their male customers were allowed
to go free. In most states abortion was legal only if the mother's life was judged to
be physically endangered. In 1973, however, the United States Supreme Court
ruled that states could not restrict a woman's right to an abortion in her first three
months of pregnancy. Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution women in
Europe and North America have made considerable progress towards equality
with men, although much remains still to be done. Of course, the industrialization
of Western countries at first had not improved the status of women, but had
degraded them even further by exploiting them and their children in factories as
cheap labor. In the preceding relatively prosperous agrarian culture women had
worked on an almost equal footing with men and had been skilled in many
occupations. Families were still "producing units", and women received
recognition for contributing their substantial share. The factory system changed
all that by breaking up the traditional extended family with its large household
and by giving people specialized monotonous tasks behind perpetually moving
machines. Women and children were, however, paid much less for such work
than men, and thus their economic "value" declined. It took many decades of
struggle before unionization and legal reform ended the crassest form of this
discrimination. Note that these sorts of concepts are culture-specific. The ones in
modern Western culture are different than in Western culture throughout history
and from other parts of the world now and in other times. Some common
expectations now: Masculine: blue, military, enjoying violent entertainment,
athleticism, not caring too much about physical appearance, short hair. Feminine:
pink, chastity, dolls, always looking fashionable, wearing makeup, long hair,
being soft-spoken and sentimental, cooking, cleaning, wearing skirts/dresses.
Yes, they're stereotypical. That's the point. It also goes without saying that
women are expected not to have masculine characteristics and vice versa. I think
most of this is total crap, of course, but most people still raise their children...

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