Charlotte Bronte, one of the iconic novelists of the 18th century, once claimed that “women are supposed to be very calm generally” but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do”. Before the 1920s, women positions in the United States were limited in nature. Mainly, household activities were done, political scene could not be participated and public forums were further disheartened. It was not until 1920 that women were extended to the male members of society all their rights and obligations. Nonetheless, despite the immense leaps that have been made in the 21st century with regards to gender equality, women continue to suffer the vice in both the social, economic and political segments of the society.
To begin with, pay inequality in the labor force provides one of the primary indicators of women inequality in the modern day society. Essentially, women are extended lower wages than is the same for their male counterparts who undertake similar responsibilities. Consequently, “by the time a college-educated woman turns 59, she will have lost almost $800,000 through her life due to the gender wage gap” (Smilowitz). In the work settings, women are often the subject of limited bonuses and pay packages despite having similar academic credentials as their male counterparts in the work setting. Similarly, upon graduation, many of the women seeking employment are often extended lower pay packages than is the same for the newly graduated members of the male sex seeking similar employment opportunities. This thinking is predicated on the notions that men are more productive than men in the work setting. Intrinsically, individuals with the same academic qualifications ought to be extended similar pay packages since they all provide similar levels of productivity and project similar levels of skill. Similarly, women often take leave for child rearing purposes. This negates the incomes that they are allowed by their employers. For instance, in the United States, the leave policy “makes it hard for both parents to take leave after having a child” (Gillespie 9). Consequently, women, given that they are allowed longer leave terms are compelled to halt their commitment to their work which in turn curtails the incomes that they earn. Thus, ten percent of wage gap against women is a direct consequence of pregnancy and work leave in the United States (Gillespie 9). Similarly, there are more men in employment than is the same for women in labor market. Many employers tend to recruit men than women in high-paying employment opportunities. According to Smilowitz, “women tend to be concentrated in fields that lead to jobs with relatively low wages” (n.p.). This statement is a reflection of the challenges that beleaguer women with regards to employment and wage in the labor market. It is a reflection of women inequality in the 21st century society.
Alternatively, women inequality is also observed in the political scene where women are underrepresented. Essentially, there are more men than women for any political position in the US and globally. According to Lawless and Fox, “only 17% of the senate seats, 12% of the gubernatorial seats, 8% of the mayoral seats and 23.6% of legislature seats were occupied by women in the United States by 2012” (1). This is a consequence of social indoctrination which negates the woman’s ability to manage a public office. Lawless and Fox establish that “women are less likely than men to receive the suggestion to run f0or office – from anyone” (11). Encouragement plays a pivotal role in influencing one to run for a public office. The fact that more men are recommended for political positions while women are left behind is reflective of the persistent gender inequality against women in the 21st century. Most of the motivation to run for public offices, is not a result of external recommendation. Unlike is the same for the male political contenders, women have fewer organizations that are responsible for the identification, grooming and financing of women political candidates. Thus, the absence negates the presence of women in the political positions which leads to underrepresentation in the government. Additionally, the underrepresentation of women in the political scene is a result of societal impositions on child rearing. Thus, “women are still responsible for the majority of childcare and household tasks” (Lawless and Fox 13). Essentially, despite the academic and professional leaps that have been made by women over the century, women still “conform to gender roles at home (Lawless and Fox 14). Women are tasked with the daily functions of the household and thus may not be easily allowed the time to pursue political interests. This hinders their representation in the political fields. Thus, the balance between maintaining the household and professional life impedes women’s political desires. Underrepresentation of women in political positions constitutes another evidence of pervasive women inequality in the 21st century.
The prevalence of gender violence provides the next insight in the women inequality discourse. Women make up the majority of the victims of domestic violence. Gendered violence is reflective of the culture of oppression against women in the society. The prevalence of sexual violence against women in countries such as India provides an indication of the persistence of women inequality. Whereas the majority of the women are the victims, the majority of the perpetrators of the vice comprise members of the male sex. Essentially, the trends mirror the assumptions of superiority that are engaged by men towards women in the society. According to Sigal and Denmark, “violent males believe that they are entitled to obedience and ownership of the women in their lives and that if they use violent tactics against others, it is only because they deserved it” (247). Similarly, most of the violent males accept no responsibility for the violence that they mete out upon the female individuals in the society. Essentially, violence against women is predicated on the definitions that are often engaged in the definition of masculinity. Currently, the definition is based on the metric that reinforces the ability of the male individual to impose their authorities on those around them. Furthermore, until legal frameworks are created, which reinforce the need for accountability among individuals found guilty of violence against women, women inequality will continue to thrive in the 21st century society
Recent years have seen a significant increase in women wage rates and a further reduction in the wage gap between the male members of the society and the females. According to Blau and Kahn, “there has been a substantial increase in women’s relative earnings since the late 1970’s (7). The increase in wage rates for women negates the notions that wage gap is increasing in the 21st century. The growth of women incomes occurred in an era when:
Overall wage inequality was rising. That is, the difference in pay between workers with high wages and workers with low wages has widened considerably over the past 25 years or so. And yet, women a low paid group, have nonetheless been able to narrow the gap with a relatively higher paid group, men (Blau and Kahn 7).
This statement is a reflection of the efforts that have been extended by members of the 21st century to mitigate women inequality in the 21st century. Alternatively, the implementation of legal and operational frameworks such as Green Dot has significantly lowered sexual violence that is extended towards women in the modern society (Coker et al. 16). Such programs expose the male members of the society to the concept of victimization and seek to review the definitions of masculinity in order to prevent the manifestation of violence against women. These arguments are a reflection of the reducing women inequality in the society.
Jane Eyre Gender Roles
The characters in Jane Eyre break the norms of traditional gender roles and rebel against them. In this classic novel, Jane asserts her own unique gender role. She does not conform to society’s expectations of women, and she is determined to hold onto her distinction within her marriage. Women can have their own choices, but men are not allowed to force them to do so. However, there are some problematic issues with Jane Eyre gender roles.
The author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, uses perspective to show how gender roles can be a problem. By telling the story from Jane’s perspective, she gives the reader a sense of connection to the character. While the novel depicts gender roles as deeply rooted, the Victorian era shaped the positions and behaviors of both men and women. Jane, as a woman, must fight against gendered oppression and gender-based correspondence.
In the novel, Jane’s behavior is progressive, compared to the norms of the time. However, this doesn’t mean that she is unfeminine. She has strong opinions and asserts her individuality. Her decision to marry Rochester is contrary to traditional gender roles. And she is right. Despite her sexism and lack of self-confidence, she chooses to remain true to herself and hold onto her autonomy.
Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, is set in an era when gender roles were still very strict and strictly enforced. Unlike today, women were expected to be passive and domesticated, while men were expected to be assertive, confident, and capable. A woman protagonist was rare in literature at the time, and leading women usually committed suicide. For these reasons, Jane Eyre has a strong message about gender roles in society.
Gender inequality against women still constitutes a major impediment in the 21st century. Women continue to experience oppression in the labor markets. They are often subjected to lower wages than the males regardless if the similarities in academic qualifications. Additionally, the prevalence of gender against women is indicative of gender inequality against women. The topic reinforces the need for the reevaluation of the gender inequality mitigation efforts that have been instituted through the century. It also provides a framework through which interventions can be established to counter the spread of the vice.
Additional Information on Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, originally published under the pen name Ellis Bell, is a classic tale of love and war. The novel centers on two families of landed gentry living in the moors of West Yorkshire. The Earnshaws and Lintons, members of opposing sides in the war, have turbulent relations with the Heathcliff family.
The novel, published in 1847, was immediately controversial. Its open description of desire and use of unreliable witnesses to tell its story caused widespread outrage. Today, fans of the novel can find it in everything from food to dry-cleaning. Wuthering Heights remains one of the most popular books in English literature. But how has it survived the test of time? And what does it say about society?
Wuthering Heights is a dark novel, full of unpleasant characters. However, the novel’s prose and plot are both powerful and compelling. The novel’s detailed descriptions and complex cast of characters will make readers feel emotionally invested in the story. Ultimately, Wuthering Heights is a masterpiece of literature. Its unique legacy and debt to later writers makes it a must-read for any fan of Gothic fiction.
The 1992 movie Wuthering Heights starred Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, and Charlotte Riley. Although the story is based on a Bronte novel, the film focuses on a different time and place. It is sultry and a little darker than Bronte’s original novel, though it preserves many of the story’s main characters. In addition, the story is set in the 1930s in France.
Blau, Francine and Lawrence Kahn. “The Gender Pay Gap: Have Women Gone as Far as They Can?” Exchange (2007): 7-23.
Coker, Ann, et al. “Evaluation of the Green Dot Bystander Intervention to Reduce Interpersonal Violence Among College Students Across Three Campuses.” Violence Against Women (2014): 1-21. http://vaw.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/08/13/1977801214545284
Gillepsie, Kathleen. “Unequal Pay: The Role of Gender .” Honors Theses (2014): 1-32.
Lawless, Jennifer and Richard Fox. Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics. Washington, D.C.: Women & Politics Institute, 2012.
Sigal, Janet and Florence Denmark. Violence Againts Girls and Women: International Perspectives . ABC-CLIO, 2013.
Smilowitz, Ariel. “For U.S. Women, Inequality Takes Many Forms.” 2015. Huffpost. 9 May 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/?icid=hjx004