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Is the fight for gender equality still relevant?

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Introduction

The fight for gender equality largely took place in the twentieth century. It was during these years that the vote was accorded to women in most countries around the world and feminism came to the fore. The opportunities that the twenty-first century woman enjoys are the direct result of the numerous battles that these feminists waged and won against the chauvinistic mindsets of the time. It can thus be said that in the modern twenty-first century, it is no longer necessary for women to resort to the radical methods of early feminists to realize their potential and achieve their ambitions. Gone are the days when women could not inherit and own property in their own name. Today, thanks to equal educational opportunities, women are able to pursue careers of their own in fields of their choice: regardless of how unorthodox. There are now more female engineers (engineering is a traditionally male-dominated field) than ever before while the National University of Singapore recently scrapped the quota on female enrolment in medical school. ...read more.

Middle

This is a reality that early suffragettes could only envision and aspire towards. Today, it is taken for granted by millions of women around the globe. In truth, this is an example of true gender equality: when the right of women to political empowerment and participation has become so common-place it is almost a non-issue. Of course, there are still glass ceilings in existence as the number of women politicians still only account for a minority in most governments but these glass ceilings are cracking and may soon be rendered a thing of the past as increasing numbers of women opt to take up leadership roles in their communities. Socially, the notion of gender equality has been key in debasing widespread assumptions and misconceptions. For example, women no longer automatically receive custody of their children during divorce proceedings. Courts are now more open to awarding custody to the father. The significance of this is two-fold. Firstly, the baseless assumption that fathers are less able parents while mothers are more capable simply on account of their gender has finally been deemed outmoded. ...read more.

Conclusion

But that is not to say that striving for gender equality is no longer important in today's society. In many traditional societies, gender inequality still persists. Women are often the victims of genital mutilation and honor killings and these practices are considered to be socially acceptable in these backward communities. It is imperative that the fight continue in areas where gender inequality has yet to be achieved for moral as well as practical reasons. In Bahrain, women are not given the vote and only a fraction of the female population is financially independent. This is a great waste of resources given the high literacy rate among women in Bahrain as illustrated by the fact that more than half of their university graduates are female. Of course, it is also morally abhorrent that women are not given the equal opportunities that they deserve. Hence, it can be concluded that while gender equality has largely been achieved in the developed world, it is only in the developing world that this battle is of great relevance and needs to be continued. After all, 'women hold up half the sky' (Mao Zedong). ...read more.

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