Women’s attempt to find equality with men in various fields such as political, educational, economical, and social realms have contributed different results in different societies at a given time or era. Centuries ago, men generally consider women as their subordinates. Thus, movements leading to women’s rise to power were considered atrocious. According to Jackson (1998), men keep resisting the women’s desire for a better treatment. However, as time went by, men gradually lessen their resistance to equality (Jackson, 1998).
In Western civilization, women’s equality with men is visible. Men and women can be hired to do the same job in many organizations. They can participate in elections and can run for public offices. They can become heads of any school or CEOs in private business companies. However, in some cultures, such as Asia, women are not treated equally with men. Although efforts are made to develop gender equality, the bias is still present in some societies.
Some women who function/functioned equally with men are the following: Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Theodore Roosevelt – first lady, author, activist, protector of women’s rights, advocate for civil rights, and the one who approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights while working at the United Nations. Condoleezza Rice, the first female African-American Secretary of State of the United States. Hillary Clinton, the current US Secretary of State who carries out President Obama’s foreign policy and services to many countries in the world. Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of United Kingdom, called the “Iron Lady” for strongly opposing the Soviet Union. Other women who functioned in the society without fear of expressing themselves and doing what they believe is needed to be done are the following: Princess Diana, Nancy Reagan, Ann Curry (American Journalism), Rosa Parks (the woman who insisted on her rights by refusing to sit at the back of the bus and was given the right to sit in the middle), Erin Brokovich (responsible for the litigation of Pacific Gas and Electric Company for contaminating drinking water), Aung San Suu Kyi (who refused to leave Burma in exchange of her freedom from the military junta), and many others.
In the Muslim world, male rulers argue that the international law on human rights and equality do not apply to their culture (Entelis, 1996). However, brave women fight for their rights even when the thought of doing it seemed very impossible. In connection with this, Kuwaiti women won the right to vote for their leaders in 2005. Nujood Muhammad Ali became the first woman in Yemen who divorced her husband whom she had an arranged marriage with when she was nine. Her husband, three times her age, beat her and raped her. Her lawyer, Shada Nasser, fought alongside her, pro bono and won the case. Some Muslim women became political leaders of their respective countries such as: Benazir Bhutto, who became the great influence of Pakistani politics and culture, Megawati Sukarnoputri, the first woman president in the Muslim country of Indonesia and Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez who was appointed as the first female prime minister of Saudi Arabia.
With all these inspiring women’s stories, unsuccessful attempts towards equality can still be seen in many places in the world. We still see battered women in different places, girls sold to slavery and/or prostitution, not allowed to go to school, and others. To fully achieve women’s equality in our society, further implementation of certain laws that focus on the rights of women should come to place. “Breaking tradition, defying custom, and overcoming discrimination requires courage and leadership” (Fraser, 1999).Women should know their rights and stand on them no matter what the cost will be. When society sees the women’s strength against inequality, things will hopefully change fully for the better.
In conclusion, women made so many attempts to eradicate inequality with men which have been going on for centuries. These attempts molded great women who inspire people with their prowess, strength, intellect, and love towards humanity. Some women’s cry to inequalities rooted from their own experience, while others see and acted upon the sufferings of others. Although there are instances that continue to prove men’s low treatment on women, further attempts can still be made to achieve full equality with the human race.