A continuing struggle

Women have still been unable to gain respect in today’s society


Cartoon by Alexis Bahensky

The continued inequality between women and men has caused a sense of disrespect among all females and needs to be corrected.

Alexis Bahensky, Opinions Editor

As March comes to an end, so does Women’s History Month. This month is dedicated to recognizing influential women from the past and present that have made contributions to our world. While this is a time to celebrate women and their achievements, it is also a time to reflect and wonder if women truly have the respect they deserve.

Women have always struggled to gain equality in many different ways from owning property to gaining the right to vote. As a society we have come far in gaining more rights for women year by year; however, the lack of respect for them within our society casts a shadow upon those advancements. Rather than only giving recognition to women who have made an impact in our world and preaching about equality of gender, we should put those things into practice by respecting women

In a Gallup poll taken in 2019, around 51% of men feel as if women are treated as equals to them; however, women hold a different stance. Only about 32% of women believe they are treated equally and 48% think they are given the same respect as men. If we let the women in our lives believe that they do not have and can not earn the same respect as their male counterparts then we have failed them.

People often use the term feminism in a negative connotation. When people think of this type of activism, most of the time they reference the radical side of the spectrum. This side of feminism places the blame of women’s struggles on men; however, this is not the only or most common type of feminism. Liberal feminism is what most people follow which strives to let people know men and women are alike in many important ways so they should be treated equally and given the same respect. They do not say that men and women are the exact same; however, highlighting those important ideas created a gateway for more gender equality in our society. 

Many topics are included on the feminist agenda. Many of those topics pertaining not only to getting equality for women but also to gaining respect. Without this respect, the advancements made to ensure women have equal opportunities to their male counterparts are set back furthering the gap between the two genders.

One large inequality leading to a sense of disrespect would be paychecks. As a teenage female who works a minimum wage job alongside other coworkers who are men, I have yet to experience this type of inequality. As we grow older, however, we start to realize that women in specialized fields of work make less than men. While it may not be by a lot, it is still a sign of disrespect. Just recently, the women’s U.S. national soccer team was able to gain a $24 million equal pay settlement. The women’s team has gone to and won more World Cups and brought home more medals than the men’s and they are only now getting paid the same. While still a huge landmark for equal pay for women in sports, it’s sad that it took this long to do so. The same thing needs to be done for women who work in other fields such as medicine, engineering and much more before we can truly say women are respected in our economy.

Women are also disrespected within our schools. The dress code is supposed to go for both male and female students; however, it seems to target mainly females. As girls, we are taught from a young age that how we dress in school will affect the learning capabilities of the boys in the classroom. While in recent years dress coding has become less strict, most schools still apply them to their regulations. A large problem with this is that it tends to oversexualize the female body. Girls should have the freedom to wear tank tops when it is hot, the same way the boys can. They shouldn’t be treated any differently because adults think that we purposely dress for the male gaze, which is not true. Girls with more mature bodies face the large majority of consequences because of this over-sexualization. 

Transgender women and other aspects of the LGBT+ community are also affected by dress codes, specifically those in the workplace. Splitting dress codes between females and males causes problems for those who wish to express themselves through their clothing. Those codes can allow a higher up to send someone home, or write someone up because they wish to wear an outfit that goes with what they want to identify as, not what gender they were born with. Problems for these women don’t only stem from the dress code. Most people still refused to call these women by their new proper pronouns and gender identity, which is a large sign of disrespect. If we want to respect all women, that means putting respect in the women who also identify with the LGBT+ community or else inequality will still remain.

Of course, we also have the double standards women face in society. These cause women to face a negative connotation for the same thing a man is potentially rewarded for. For example, most women who are assertive are considered bossy, while men are called the boss if they show the same assertiveness. Another would be a woman having many sexual partners are stigmatized, while men seem to be praised for it. I’m not saying there are no double standards that men face; however, the majority of them in society are turned toward women. If women are to be respected in our society then the double standards that have been created need to come down to thin the wall of the lingering inequalities between men and women.

While women are equal in many political aspects of American society, they have yet to receive the same equality and respect socially. This needs to be changed if we want true gender equality within our nation. Voicing these concerns is the first step and the next is carrying out the action that has been held back for so long.