In this day and age there are several highly important battles being fought against inequality but one equal rights topic is about to be currently relevant; sexism. Not many people talk about this topic, perhaps this is because, biases only appear in subtle, mostly harmless circumstances. However, I believe men and women are still treated hugely differently, even in America. Across the world there are glaring differences in statistics between men and women, but I am here to write about everyday life experiences of biases towards women.
Looking at treatment from birth, male children are thrown in the air more often while female children receive more cuddling. Maybe this different treatment does not cause any trouble, but then the gendered toys are given out. The boys receive blue objects which teach them about trucks and power-tools. The girls receive pink objects which teach them how to mother and how to cook. Toys for the opposite gender are considered off limits.
Then girls start to experience directly different treatment. For example, a couple of girls hanging out with a male guardian may be treated like they are important but when a boy arrives the male guardian may say something like, "Thank goodness you're here! We need a man to help move this couch." While it is true that most men have more muscle than most women, it is also true that this kind of assumption and bias is a self-fulfilling prophecy which keeps women weak and men strong. Furthermore, putting more weight on the helpfulness of the boys over the girls has the effect of casting the girls aside and belittling them. This example circumstance makes a message that one boy is worth more than two girls.
Studies have shown that gender inequality can be high in schools. In particular, bullying and verbal harassment effect nearly all girls in school and some experience worse treatment. As an article in the Guardian explains that schools inadvertently teach sexism. From the history textbooks which teach only about male historical figures, to the physics textbooks which include equations named after all male inventors, school is geared towards empowering men and pushing women to the back. Male students are called on more often and have a higher average of talking time in class.
Now supposing a man and a woman get sick and go to see a doctor. The woman is likely to be told she is exaggerating her pain. She is more likely to receive depression medication than a man with the same symptoms, but, ironically, the medication she will be prescribed will only have been tested on male subjects. And, as explained on Cracked.com, women are more likely to donate organs than men. A particular study conducted in Canada found that when a husband and wife were faced with the choice of donating an organ to the spouse, women donated 36 percent of the time and men donated 6.5 percent of the time. This seems to say that a woman's life is not the same worth as a man's life.
As a woman gets older the injustices become greater. Maybe you haven't noticed but women apologize more often than men and step aside on the sidewalk more often. If you are a woman and walking towards a man on the sidewalk, and if you do not step aside, the man will run into you. This is a fact which has been studied. The study was conducted by Beth Breslaw, a 25-year-old woman who chose not to alter her walking path to accommodate men. She found that nearly every man smashed straight into her. Women also let the man drive a car more often. If you drive on the highway and look around, the only cars operated by women are the ones with no male in the car. If there is a male in the car over the legal driving age, he is driving. Many people will tell you this is because women are bad drivers so it is safer to have the man drive. This is an interesting inconsistency because somehow insurance companies know that it is the opposite. They expect young male drivers to crash and demand twice as much payment as they do for female drivers.
Sexism and gender equality still exist today. Maybe it is not as noticeable, particularly if you are a man, but it is a constant weight on women's shoulders. Simply getting your voice heard and being taken seriously is difficult for women. I myself have had to call a friend with a deep voice in order to have him say my words and get someone to listen. Is this right that women still need to call male advocates to get by in US society? I have not even begun to talk about inequality in the workplace. So if these are the kinds of battles women deal with in day-to-day life, how does Hillary Clinton even have the energy to continue on to fight the battle for presidency?
If you think life is not fair locally with these examples, I am sure inequality is much more prevalent in other places. So it would be remiss of me not to outline some solutions before wrapping things up; if you are man, be aware and watch what you say and where you walk. If you are a woman, stop apologizing and question your husband when he automatically jumps into the driver's seat. And, whether you are a man or a woman, vote for Hillary Clinton to show that you believe in her individual ability, as well as her as a woman. I hope this helped raise awareness for the subtle ways that women are undervalued in the US in 2016. The truth is that we have come a long way, but we have a ways to go.