For decades, gender inequality is an issue that has been reverberating through societies. This issue can be divided in two big fields. The first one is economic inequality, and the second, social inequality. As women’s behavior varies in according to what culture they are from, maybe the root of this problem could be cultural. In order to examine this possibility, two interviews were performed in Manhattan, New York, asking people how gender inequality occurs in their countries and in which area – business, social relationships, family – it happens more often.
The first interviewed person was Charlotte, a 20 year old American girl that studies art and design. According to her, gender inequality is very often found in North America. She used to go out at night to pubs and parties, and said that she is usually judged because of the clothes she wears. “People think that women dress just to provoke men, and that it is our fault if we are abused or even raped,” she said. It is estimated that the prevalence of women being raped (number of women that experienced rape at least one time in their lifetime) in the USA (United States of America) is between 15 – 20%. Charlotte thinks that this is because of some women behaving associated to the sexist society where we live, and not because of the way some women dress. “Men already see women as sexual objects, and because of some women’s behave, they objectify themselves even more” – she said. This means that if women want to change their image in society, they need to stop accepting and practicing objectifying habits.
While Charlotte was being interviewed, her mother, Mrs. Allen, appeared and took the opportunity to say her opinion. According to her, the biggest problem in American’s gender inequality is the prejudice that women have on each other. “They do not accept women that choose not to live objectifying themselves” – she said. She also said that in her job there is no woman working as managers or in high-level administrative positions. “It is very hard to get a job if you are a woman and have more than one child. If you succeed, you will probably make less money than a man even if doing the same job.” – said Mrs. Allen. A research did with 9,300 Americans showed that working women today earn an average of 80 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, and it is being relatively consistent like this since the beginning of 21st century.
The second interviewed person was Luiza, a 23 year old Brazilian girl that studies Medicine. According to her, gender inequality in Brazil is also very frequent. “In my country, most of the women are always seen as weak and vulnerable” – she said. She related that women make less money than men do, even if working in the same jobs, nevertheless, there are more women working in domestic services for their families them in other jobs. As it is showed by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and statistics), 56% of the women in Brazil are unemployed. Seventy eight percent of the 44% that actually work earn less than five minimum salaries, 18% earns between 5 and 10 minimum salaries and only 4% earn more than 10.
“In families, men have their roles and women theirs. I do not see this as gender inequality, but as gender differences. We are not the same.” – said Luiza. Brazilian is a predominantly Christian country, and it has great influences in the way people think and behave. According to the Holy Bible, men have the duty of providing money and food to their houses and women to be submissive to their husbands. As the USA is also a Christian country, maybe it could be one of the reasons why genders have so close behaving in both countries.
Gender inequality or not, women and men are treated differently in many cultures around the world. Some of these differences could be disastrous, and some of them could help in the balance of social relationships. However, it is unquestionable that women suffer prejudice in many situations, and it is important to identify and change them. There will always be differences between genders, but inequality must be corrected to give to women the rights they deserve as much as men do.