Women's Issues Emily Knutte, Leah D'andrea-Nigro, Kristen Hackiewicz

Women of all ages around the world are faced with struggles brought upon them by society.

Issues in Employment

Women represent the majority of the population, yet have the minority in the workforce. Women suffer hardships in terms of employment compared to men. Women face unequal pay and are less likely to be hired with the same experience compared to a man. Much progress has been made since 50 years ago in terms of gender equality, but women still face inequality in the workforce.

CQ researcher showed that companies remain underrepresented as CEOs of large American corporations and other executive and political leadership positions (Greenblatt). For example, they only account for 11% of the executives in Silicon Valley, California, a major site for technological companies. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows that the share of employed women who work in government- best paying industry for women- only accounts for a maximum 29.2% by state for that sector. Also, employed women are more likely to work in finance, insurance, and real estate which have the widest gender earnings ratio. This is gives evidence as to why action is needed to allow women to make the same income as men. In addition, men are more likely to believe that women have achieved equality in the workforce, hindering efforts towards equality (Joness).

The progress towards equal job opportunities is limited from past cultural barriers that only had women taking care of the house and economic barriers because of the less experience women had working outside of home lead to earning less money overall to benefit their company (Johnson). The inequality in employment leads to other factors that pose as obstacles including health factors, as studies show employment is associated with greater power in a family in which limited female power links to greater health concerns (Rosenfield).

Employment relates to Great Expectations because the novel was written in the Victorian era in which females were not expected to have jobs other than relating to taking care of a household. These expectations are broken as Biddy wanted to be a teacher from her great aptitude in education. The novel also shows that women are not supposed to have jobs, especially women with greater status and power, like Estella and Miss Havisham had servants attend to them.

Overall, women’s issues with employment are extensive from terms of pay and health that factor into the inequality women face. Today, Americans are becoming more optimistic of women having equality in the workforce in the future.

Map of the US showing the wage gap in each state.

Emily's Works Cited

Greenblatt, Alan. "Women in Leadership." CQ Researcher 23 Sept. 2016: 769-92.

Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Johnson, Michelle. "Women and Work." CQ Researcher 26 July 2013: 645-68. Web. 25

Apr. 2017.

"Glass Ceiling Commission: Summary of Recommendations (1995)." American History,

ABC-CLIO, 2017, americanhistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/298732.

Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.

Rosenfield, Sarah. “The Effects of Women's Employment: Personal Control

and Sex Differences in Mental Health.” Journal of Health and Social

Behavior, vol. 30, no. 1, 1989, pp. 77–91., www.jstor.org/stable/


"Gender Differences in Sectors of Employment." Status of Women in the States,

goo.gl/j2paQj. Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.

Jones, Jeffrey M. "Gender Differences in Views of Job Opportunity." Gallup,

goo.gl/VdG2SK. Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.

Issues in Adolescence

Women of all ages, especially adolescents, are faced with struggles from societal standards. For example, as stated in Gender Stereotypes for Girls, “Beauty has become a willowy, waif-like shadow of a woman wearing almost nothing and never smiling, a doll on which clothes and makeup...society points out women’s flaws. The media may offer solutions, effective or not, but the flaws remain and forever change women’s self-perception” (Rosen Publishing). The general overview is the fact that women in general are treated differently compared to men, but teens specifically are put under a lot of stress. At a younger age, they are still developing and learning the demands of society. When girls are first born, people their age don't put as much pressure on them as society does as they grow because flaws are pointed out and stereotypes created by earlier generations take hold of people's minds and twist them to believe that if they don't follow the rules, they are in the wrong. Society edges into our brain specific rules that men and women must follow and if they do not, they are judged and presumed as outcasts.

Society is failing the teenagers of today. As said in 5 Harmful Ways We Fail Teenage Girls as a Society, “teenage girls are stereotyped as superficial, vain, silly, manipulative, and/or overdramatic.” These stereotypes cause many young girls to believe that they are imperfect but really society is not providing them with certain needs. Such as proper sex education in some places which puts them in a very vulnerable situation because they are unsure of how to prevent sexual diseases and such. Girls are often called “too young” for sexual things but this doesn't excuse them from sexual harassment and assault. They are also ignored politically. Their opinions are normally dismissed because they are superficial which can lead to the feeling of helplessness because their voice cannot be heard. Not to mention the stereotype that they are unable to feel or think deeply causing issues everywhere because they are considered lower than they are affecting their mental state. This could lead to the idea that they are unable to think for themselves. These stereotypes teach young girls at an early age that this is how they are suppose to be and for someone to change that would be incredibly difficult so most ignore or submit to the demands.

Media often pressures teenage girls to try to be "perfect".

Leah's Works Cited

Hamid, Shahnaz, and Rehana Siddiqui. “Gender Differences in Demand for

Schooling.” The Pakistan Development Review, vol. 40, no. 4, 2001, pp.

1077–1092., www.jstor.org/stable/41260378.

HUNTER, JANE H. How Young Ladies Became Girls: The Victorian Origins of American

Girlhood. Yale University Press, 2002, www.jstor.org/stable/


Karpowitz, Christopher F., and Tali Mendelberg. The Silent Sex: Gender,

Deliberation, and Institutions. Princeton University Press, 2014,


SPERLING, GENE B., et al. What Works in Girls' Education: Evidence for the

World's Best Investment. Brookings Institution Press, 2016, www.jstor.org/


Zahn, Margaret A., editor. The Delinquent Girl. Temple University Press, 2009,


Issues in Other Countries and Cultures

People in the United States are generally unaware of the difficulties women face in other countries, but the reality is, women in other cultures and countries face struggles brought upon them by society. For many women outside the United States, society guides them towards a life of abuse and cruelty, along with lack of education and career opportunities. The main parts of the world where women are severely discriminated against are Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. “Under the Taliban government, women were shut out of virtually all aspects of public life, largely denied the opportunity to hold a job or seek medical care, and prohibited from receiving an education” (“Afghan Women and Girls”). In this case, women and girls in Afghanistan aren’t only being held back by society, but by the government too. Keeping basic rights from women isn’t solving any problems or accomplishing any goals. “An estimated 160 million female fetuses or newborns have been aborted or killed in China, India, and other parts of Asia over the last three decades, largely due to a cultural preference for boys” (Yee). Due to this preference for boys, society puts a very tough pressure on women to abort or kill their daughters. Not only is this a tremendously difficult decision for the mother, but it is taking away lives of people that could have grown up to change the world.

There are some countries where you would never expect to see great deal of discrimination. Honor killings, which take place when a woman “dishonors” her family, take place all over the world. “Police in the United Kingdom estimate that up to 17,000 women are subjected to some kind of “honor”-related violence each year, ranging from forced marriages and physical attacks to murder” (Foerstel). Society is practically requiring women to abide by certain rules, and when women try to break these unofficial rules, they get punished for it. As mentioned previously, forced marriages are an issue for women and they are happening all the time. Although the thought of forced marriage alone is disturbing, several consequences come along with forced marriage. It reduces a woman’s likelihood to get an education, it may affect the pregnancy process, and it increases the chances of an abusive partnership with their spouse (Glick). Society is allowing terrible events such as these forces marriages to happen and they are not giving women the ability to stand up and fight against it.

Hopefully, future laws and acts implemented in these countries can reduce the amount of discrimination and cruelty against women and allow women to have vast range of opportunities.

Women in India fighting for their rights.

Kristen's Works Cited

"Afghan Women and Girls: Building the Future of Afghanistan (2010)." Issues:

Understanding Controversy and Society, ABC-CLIO, 2017, issues.abc-clio.com/

Search/Display/1749890. Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.

Erkut, Sumru. “The Journal of Education.” The Journal of Education, vol.

166, no. 1, 1984, pp. 117–118., www.jstor.org/stable/42742043.

Foerstel, K. (2008, May 1). Women's rights. CQ Global Researcher, 2, 115-147.

Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/

Yee, A. (2015, April 17). Girls' rights. CQ Researcher, 25, 337-360. Retrieved

from http://library.cqpress.com/

"The Worst Places in the World to Be a Woman." CBSNews, 14 June 2011, goo.gl/

qIwi5k. Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.

Glick, Hans. "9 Key Issues Affecting Girls and Women Around the World."

Global Citizen, 15 June 2015, goo.gl/LUdczi. Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.

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