Has Feminism Created a Better or a Divisive Society?

Feminism is a popular subject in the modern society, which has received immense support as well as a series of criticism. The concept of feminism was conceived on the knowledge that all women were experiencing some form of exclusion and recognized the need for equal rights and opportunities for both genders. It has gained prominence in the recent decades, stimulating social, economic, cultural, and political changes in the society. The changes spurred by feminism have attracted mixed reactions in the society. Some have supported the concept of feminism, citing its achievements in delivering an equal society while others have claimed that feminism ideologies are misleading and discriminative. It is, therefore, important to evaluate the impact of feminism on the society. Feminism has created a balanced society by ensuring equal representation of men and women socially, economically, and politically.

Slightly more than half of the population in the world is composed of women (Ghorfati and Medini 28). This signifies that their role economically, politically, and socially is more than that of men. However, their potential to participate in these spheres had been undermined by the traditional male dominated society that confined women in the domestic setting. The place of the traditional woman was at home to raise children while the man engaged in economic and political activities. The advent of feminism has heralded tremendous changes, proving that women’s efficiency in society is equal to the men’s. Feminism has improved women’s participation in the economical, political, educational, and social sectors, which has not only benefited women but the entire society.

Feminism has ensured that women access education opportunities like their counterparts. Traditionally, women’s access to learning and education was limited due to their stipulated role of raising children. Also, they were barred from accessing education due to the belief that they would acquire knowledge and question their place in society and demand for freedom (Ghorfati and Medini 29). The wave of feminism helped to change these perceptions by raising awareness on the importance of educating both female and males. Education for both genders, according to Ghorfati and Medini, is the key to social and economic growth as well as sustainable development (29). As a result of this campaign, the society shifted its attention to raising the literacy and education levels of women in order to make them more productive members of the society. In developing countries, the efforts towards creating gender equality in the education sector particularly the primary and secondary levels plays a major role in reducing poverty. Governments all over the world are now encouraging parents to take children, both boys and girls. This has accelerated school enrolment figures for not only the female gender but also the males. For instance, in 2005, the World Bank found out that the enrolment ratio of girls to boys in Sub-Saharan Africa was 83.6:100 (Ghorfati and Medini 29). Women have benefited from the increasing opportunities of education, which has given them the power to be as competitive as their counterparts.

Feminism also strives to extricate women from the domestic setting and give them the platform to participate in the economic sector. In the early 1890s, women began to participate in the economic sector and by 2000, 20.5% of the women’s population worldwide were employed. Today, the workforce constitutes of 25% of women (Ghorfati and Medini 32). Women have been challenged to take part in the economic sector. Gilman Perkins, in her book, “Women and Economics”, noted that the traditional woman fully depends on a man for survival (Ghorfati and Medini 32). She, therefore, challenges females to change their cultural identity and seek employment to obtain independence. Women were not only faced by limited participation in the economic sector but also unequal pay. In the 19th century, most women earned less than men for the same work done (Ghorfati and Medini 29). Towards the end of the century, as pushed by feminism campaigns for equal rights and opportunities, legislations started eradicating barriers to women’s participation in the workforce. In Europe, for example, the government implemented a policy that required a minimum representation of 40% for women. By 2009, 42% of the Norway workforce comprised of women. In 2007, the Spanish government advocated for 40% representation of women by establishing a policy that required companies to provide equal employment opportunities for both genders (Ghorfati and Medini, 30). This trend of female inclusion in the workforce has been seen in countries across the world, creating a balance in the economic sector. Women’s participation, in turn, leads to economic growth of both the individuals and the countries.

Politics is another sector that has experienced a huge gender representation transformation. Before the campaigns for gender equality, women were severely underrepresented in the political arena. The increased fight for equal representation of genders has improved the number of women in politics. We now have female presidents, prime ministers, ministers, and members of parliament among other political positions across the world. Governments are now including women in decision making processes to promote gender equality. Maurice Duverger (as cited in Ghorfati and Medini 35) contends that gender equality in politics is established by laws, codes, and the constitution. He recognized that most countries have embraced gender equality in their systems although they maintain women at the secondary or subordinate positions. Gender equality has also enabled women to participate in politics as voters. Allowing women to vote has contributed to the increasing number of women in executive positions in the government.

While feminism has helped to create a balance in the society, other people perceive it negatively. There are various anti-feminism platforms online that oppose the concept of feminism. For instance, a website known as “Women Against Feminism” has numerous followers who express their negative feelings towards feminism (Pham). Followers of this website claim that feminists have put themselves above men by assigning more rights to women (Pham). I feel that such people who oppose feminism rely on the misinterpreted meaning of feminism. Feminism, inconsistent with their beliefs, ensures equal rights and opportunities for both men and women. Another wide spread belief is that feminism encourages women to neglect their roles at home. This is not true because employed women still play their domestic roles including cooking, washing, and nurturing their children. Feminism, therefore, has not divided the society nor encouraged women to neglect their family roles.

Feminism, which is a campaign for gender equality, has not only benefited women but also the society. Advocacy for equal rights and opportunities has improved women’s life by increasing their accessibility to education and participation in the economic and political sectors. Women who get education achieve means of survival, which eliminates their dependence on men. When increasing numbers of women join the economic sector, they not only acquire individual stability but also contribute to the local and national economic growth. While the concept of feminism has received criticism due to claims that it is misleading and discriminatory, feminism has played a central role in creating a balanced society economically, socially, and politically.

 

Works Cited

Ghorfati, Amina and Medini, Rabha. “Feminism and its Impact on Woman in the Modern Society”. University of Tlemcen, Faculty of Letters and Languages, pp. 28-48. 2015. dspace.univ-tlemcen.dz/bitstream/112/7902/1/amina-ghorfati.pdf. 26 Oct. 2018

Pham, Monica. “Women Against Feminism: An Analysis of Anti-Feminist Comments on Tumblr”. Department of Communication University of Washington. 2015. www.com.washington.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/…/Women-Against-Feminism.pdf. 25 Oct. 2018