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Are Women Equal?

April 12, 2011

Last week in class we read Mill’s The Subjugation of Women in which he argues for the equality of women. After reading this I wanted to know how far we have come from the days in which women had no rights. Since the first Women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, there has been a strong women’s rights movement in the United States. In 1920 Women are given the right to vote by the 19th amendment. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act prevents employers to discriminating employment based on sex and race. Over the past 160 years we have made great strides in the equality of women, but are they truly equal.

As of the 2010 census women comprise about 49.6 percent of the total U.S population. If women are equal then shouldn’t they also make up about the same percentage of jobs held in the U.S? Women only hold 88 of the 535 seats in congress or 16.4 percent. Why do so few women have jobs in congress.? Taking another look at this problem, only 15 companies in the Fortune 500 and 28 in the fortune 1000 are run by women. Why are there atrocious discrepancies in these numbers?

If women are truly equal then why are these numbers so low? In order to find out we must look at the role of women in the modern world. In this modern world women are seen as homemakers and child raisers. Of working age women whose youngest dependant child was under 5, 57 percent were in employment. 71 percent were in employment whose youngest child was between the ages of 5-10 and 78 percent for those whose youngest child was 11-15 years old. Conversely 90 percent of men were in employment regardless of the age of their youngest dependant child. In this modern world more women stay at home then men.

Women have fought tooth and nail for every right that they have. The western nations have come a long way from the time were women had no rights at all.  Even though according to the law women may have the same rights, there are serious inconsistencies in the number of women working in the United States. It has been an uphill battle from the beginning, but even though the summit might be near, women still have a long way to go.

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