The gender gap in the world as we know it today is the discrepancy between men and women in many aspects including but not limited to: social, political, intellectual, cultural and economic attainments or attitudes. There has always been a debate as to whether the gender gap really does exist in the ancient world as well as the modern world. There are many reasons to believe it does exist, but there are also arguments against it.
As people believe it to be, the gender gap is only a wage gap between the male and female genders in the work place, but this is not the only case for a gender disparity. For thousands of years, humans have existed on this earth, and even after the first evidence of male/female inequality we have not been able to have an equal opportunity for everyone. This is evident in the ancient world with Hammurabi’s Code as women were expected to get married and have children, where the marriages were set up by fathers and brothers of the bride. After marriage, her body and sexuality were thought to be the property of her husband and he could divorce her with no reason. This raises the question over whether the bride was being objectified as she is considered property. The objectification of women continues into ancient Greece where instead of marrying for love, marriages were considered business arrangements between the father of the bride and the bridegroom. Nothing was shared between the married couple whether it be an inheritance from a dead relative or personal property, all went to the male of the house. Furthermore, in more modern times within the Amish communities, women are forced to marry, have children, and bend to their husband’s will lest they be shunned. Within the Amish community the rules are even more harsh than that of the aforementioned women. They are not allowed to divorce, only 3% of women have jobs outside of the household, and physical and psychological abuse is common amongst the Amish community. Now in our more modern society, women are still expected to be the weaker and submissive sex. Women are taught from a young age to be wary of men and to do as they are told. All in all, it is prevalent throughout history that women are not equal to men.
The argument that the gender gap doesn’t exist is all a matter of whether it is because of biological factors or simply because it was never there to begin with. In ancient times, the city of Sparta had laws written by a man named Lycurgus. Lycurgus’s laws were in favor of women being free and were considered the dominant sex due to their ability to create life. These women were educated, trained in combat, and could divorce her husband and remarry without being criticized. Men on the other hand were only made to fight. At a young age, boys would be sent to agoge, or military camps, to train for war until the age of thirty where they were expected to marry, have children, and were then considered full citizens. Even after having children, many men returned to military training until they were killed or died by choice. Women were not expected to serve military service, but still were very fit. Women would even participate in athletic competitions where there were footraces, discuss throwing and combat exercises. Furthermore, the gender pay gap that is often stipulated about does not consider that women’s choice in jobs do not equal that of men. The jobs that men tend to choose are more in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, while women choose jobs that deal more so with education, nursing, and secretary positions. Women don’t make the same wages as men simply because they do not have the same jobs.
The position that I hold on the gender gap controversy lands in the positive because I have primary sources. My mother was assistant manager for a hardware company and was more than qualified for a higher position as stated by managers that knew her and her credentials and work ethic. She applied for a manager position for the same company at a different store, and after getting rejected for interviews time and time again, she talked to her boss, who was a man that wanted her to get the job. The direct quote from both her and him is as stated,
“You know the reason you’re not getting hired, right?” said her boss
“No-what’s the reason?”
“Because you’re a woman.”
This conversation caused her to speak with human resources for the store, as well as human resources for the company who both dismissed the case. Furthermore, my mother frequently interacted with Amish men who would not speak directly to her. When interacting with her, they would request a man to “translate” for her, in other words, whatever my mother told them, the “translator” would repeat to the Amish men. Moreover, this issue is not just an American issue, it is a global issue. Woman in countries such as Afghanistan, where the life expectancy for women is forty-five years old, Democratic Republic of Congo, where the rape of women is a cultural normality, and Mali, where women are forced into early marriages and one in ten dies during child birth. The main issue that is the forerunner in the gender gap controversy is obviously the pay gap. This controversy was first written to the New York Times in 1869 in a letter to the editor by an anonymous source questioning why female government employees were not making the same pay as males. This led to an investigation that found women in the same workplace and job as men were only making half the pay. Over the years, the pay gap has lessened, but not by much, this year, 2018, women are still behind making only 87% of what their male counterparts are paid. There is a gender gap, and the facts are right in front of us.
The gender gap is here, but it is not here to stay. Many women can claim that their workplace is equal or at least almost equal, but that is not true everywhere. This is not just an American issue, this is a global issue that needs to be changed. We are all people, and we can all work hard. Throughout history woman have had to fight to get what they really want, to be treated as equals, and that day will hopefully come.