What is Inequality?

Chloe Nurik

What is inequality? One only has to look  at the disproportionately low number of women who serve as world leaders to understand this concept. Of the 196 national leadership positions listed by http://www.filibustercartoons.com/charts_rest_female-leaders.php,only 19 of them are filled by females. This means that most women involved in politics operate behind the scenes, supporting men who take center stage as global leaders. Rather than having their own voice, the socio-political views of women (including interests related to gender) are delivered indirectly through male-dominated governments where men do the talking for them.

Gender inequality in government politics is seen around the globe, and one of the worst offenders is the United States. While many democratic nations have been led by females, the highest offices in the U.S. have been exclusively occupied by males. Currently, women hold only 18.3% of the seats in congress (http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/levels_of_office/Congress-CurrentFacts.php) and only 20 % of those in the Senate. In spite of the fact that women have had the right to vote in the U.S. since 1920,  there has never been a female candidate for President and there have been only two female nominees (by major parties) for Vice-President. In her essay, “The Social Construction of Gender,” Judith Lorber notes that “In countries that discourage gender discrimination, many major roles are still gendered…men dominate the positions of authority and leadership in government…” That is precisely what is occurring in the United States, a country that seemingly prides itself on equality. Women remain grossly underrepresented in the political process, especially in positions where they would have the greatest influence. This glass ceiling negatively impacts our nation as it limits access to one of our most valuable resources: a pool of talented, bright, and articulate women who could offer a different perspective and serve as agents of positive social change.

“Facts.” Congress_Current. Center for American Women and Politics, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.

“Female World Leaders Currently in Power.” Female World Leaders Currently in Power. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.

Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender.” Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. By Estelle Disch. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 113-20. Print.

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