Feminism can be traced back to seventeenth century (Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 77) with a common goal to achieve equality among both the sexes and this movement slowly spread all around the world with many different voices being raised time after time. From a very time, women were thought to be better suited for household work, sexual pleasure of men, raising children many assumed that women cannot stand on an equal footing with men. Everyone believed these misconceptions to be true due to the biological differences between man and women because of which men were made to look biologically stronger which interpreted into them better suited to work outside home to earn money. On the other hand, a woman genetical structure made her better suited for taking care of children. All this led to women depending on men for wealth and protection. Continuation of this over a long period of time gave men a certain sense of superiority in the society and thus left women underrepresented and lacking in Jobs, education, and especially in politics etc. In order to keep their superiority in the society men suppressed, dominated and demoralized women to let the same patriarchal system prevail where men held supremacy over women and the society where women were dependent on men. As time passed and women stated demanding recognition, respect and equal share in the society. Which led to the rise of feminism. Due to the sheer efforts and willpower feminists all over the world have been able to shrink the huge gap between men and women. Thus, leading to a world where women now have rights and women has achieved tremendous success in many fields, some even greater than what men could achieve and yet there are many fields, many countries and many walks of life where even in modern era women are still under represented and discouraged. In the modern era the continual underrepresentation of women in most of the sectors of world is the reason for relevance of feminism in today’s world. In the following essay I will shed light on the reasons for the requirement of feminism in modern day and age.
In the 21st century where we have somehow made many improvements in the acceptance of the LGBTQ community we are still leaps away from the acceptance of women as equal to men. In this era of huge technical advancements there are parts of world where women especially a girl child is thought to be a burden on the household and society whereas if a boy born it is considered a blessing which has led to huge number female infanticide “unlawful killing of very young girl babies”(BBC 2014, np). in many such parts of the world. There are many reasons for an unprecedented growth in desire for a male child over a female. One such reason is dowry system which is still very prevalent in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and many such countries. In the dowry system family of women had to pay a huge sum of money to man or his family when a marriage happens this has led to a boy being more desirable as he will bring wealth. And the patriarchal system helps to hide all these social evils and injustices toward women “In Pakistan, in spite of very high frequency of domestic violence and frequent cases of stove deaths, dowry related violence is neither perceived nor recognized as an accepted form of violence nor documented in social science literature”(Bhattacharya 2014, 190).And further more in this patriarchal society where “power is in the hands of men and many aspects of a women’s lives are controlled by men”(Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 77) even after a girl is born she is deprived of the opportunities to show her complete potential because of restriction by her parents when she is single and husband after she is married ” Pakistan ranked 134th out of 135 countries , among the worst places for women in the world”(Bhattacharya 2014, 180) for example in some parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and many such countries as women is not allowed to go to school and receive education which leaves them no choice but to be house makers and child bearers as an educated women has access to employment and a much higher chance to make their own wealth (Sundaram, Sekar, Subburaj 2014, 83). And in many places a boy is thought to carry the family name and is expected take care of the parents in old age whereas a woman will get married and leave the house, parents and family name to take on the family name of her husband leaving her home and parents behind. All these factors have led to a culture where birth of a boy is more desirable. Feminism, “equal rights and opportunities for women”(Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 77) and policies which will lead to huge punishment for such crimes are required to tackle and totally eradicate this huge problem that persists in our society.
Liberal feminists with their view that in the fields such as education, employment, rights politics both women and men should be equal and have equal opportunities (Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 80), with their efforts over a long period of times has been successful in bringing about some change in the mentality where men were the only one to work outside homes and women took care of children which has led to the increasing number of women in the work force thus bringing a sense of equality between both the sexes. Liberal feminists with their efforts brought about a huge change since the start of feminism and have been able to bring about unprecedented changes in status of women for example” In 1970 marries women in England could not sign a hire purchase agreement without their husbands’ consent” (Evans 2017, 97) which is not at all true for today’s world. But still Even in today’s world where more women get education there is till “35.1 per cent of Canadian women had university degrees in 2015, compared to 13.7 per cent in 1990” (Israel 2017, np) .Women are still deprived of proper representation and opportunity to move forward in the world, “women makes up only 18% of the Canadian highly paid officials and rest are still men”(Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 80).
For some women even when both men and women do equal amount of work at equal positions and responsibilities women are still earning less “Women earn 87 cents to every 1 dollar earned by a man for the same jobs with same position and responsibilities”(Israel 2017, np). More effort is needed to reduce this wage gap even further to the point where none is left This change will help promote and improve the condition and status of women in society and helps women to be on equal footing with men. Social feminists believe that male dominance in the society and capitalism are the major reasons for women’s oppression (Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 81). Sexual division of labour in which woman were and still are thought of as home makers and child bearers(Burton, Brudner, & White, 1977,229) because of the biological abilities they possess and yet for taking care of the children and mending the house a woman is paid nothing at all and men are tasked to go out and earn money because of this sexual division of labour women are dependent on men to provide them with money and goods ,This makes them unable to be independent on men as they do have any wealth of their own. And Social feminists believe that overcoming this sexual division of labour and capitalism is the only way to get equality for women. Abuse is on the major reason for the relevance feminism in today’s world. Woman are abused sexually, mentally and physically in their own homes and outside.
Radical feminists their views “society as based on the oppression of women and seeks to liberate women through the fundamental transformation of social institutions, values and personal relationships”(Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 82). A professor at university Texas Stauffer says that “A household as aimed solely at the satisfaction of daily needs” (Stauffer 2008, 930) the essence of Stauffer’s saying is that a house is only means to and end and is a place where one goes only to sleep but to keep it that way women are have been led to believe in a society and culture where men are supreme, and this so-called supremacy has been embedded in minds of women from early ages. To maintain this supremacy women are brought up in a system with male dominant values and in many times, force is used against women to keep them under control (Minitz, Close and Croci 2018, 82). Even today the age-old debate of right to women’s own body is persists which should have been resolved decades ago politicians and governments have been trying to control women’s body from a very long time in the name of family planning in some places and Right to abortion at others. In many countries where overpopulation was thought to be the biggest concern politicians tried to convince women to have as few children as possible to reduce burden on society but in doing so they were they were taking away women’s right to give birth for example “In 1965 Egyptian president Jamal’ Al-Nasir launched a national family program, believing that high birth rates strained states resources”(Walter 2018, 12) and even now in the twenty first century there are still places where women do not have the right in abortion and many countries which do have these rights are trying to change it “In a closed session at the UN, due to pressure from the USA and the Vatican, the overarching reproductive health goal was removed from the Millennium Development Goals, leaving in only three of its constituent parts – maternal mortality, contraceptive prevalence and HIV/AIDS “(Berer 2002, 01). The right to abortion should be worldwide and women everywhere should have this right but instead of making these rights worldwide some are trying to take this right away from the places that have it which can cause risk to the lives and health of women as some might seek illegal abortion. And to tackle this feminism is required so that from early gender equality could be taught to people to eradicate this old way of thinking.
Feminism is there to promote equality among men and women. Feminists over a long period of time with great effort were able to achieve huge success in achieving their goal and led to a huge diminish in gender gap, with women having many different rights but we as a society are sill away from a society without gender gap because there are many issues that needs to be resolved such as dowry, rape, safety of women, wage gap etc. before we can get to a point where feminism and feminists are not required anymore. At the rate we as society are tackling this problem that day may come in soon in our future but now thee world needs feminism more than ever before as people are needed to be taught to respect women as equals with equal share in the world. With much better technology and great schooling system children can be educated about gender equality from start which would result in the newer generation with less gender gap in mind providing women with equal opportunities which for women with potential and deserving can led to even greater heights than what a man has achieved with smaller and smaller leaps to make with each passage of time we may very well achieve a world where feminism is completely irrelevant but that future is still far ahead and until then we need feminists and feminism to get us there.