What is Inequity?

Inequity, a lack of fairness or justice, is at the root of every gender issue. Any gender issue—for example, the degradation of women, objectification, sexism, and unequal opportunity—can be traced back to the historically established inequality between men and women. In Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, Beauvoir quotes Aristotle’s definition of women, which is an indication that gender inequity is a long-standing issue. Aristotle says, “the female is female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities, we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness.” This definition explains why inequity exists. It is a mindset. The idea that women are defined in relation to men and that they are the “Other,” as Beauvoir puts it, makes it impossible for fairness and equality to exist. Inequity, in terms of gender, stems from the deep-rooted belief that men are the dominant sex and women are passive and “afflicted with a natural defectiveness.” In order to eradicate inequity, therefore, we need to recognize that women, while they do lack certain qualities that men possess, are deserving of fairness and equality.

de Beauvoir, Simone. “2. The Second Sex: Introduction.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Ed. McCann and Kim. New York: Routledge, 2003. 33. Print.

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