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In most societies, women are perpetually pushed to the periphery in many activities of the community. In most third world countries, women are not allowed into any political office in contention that they do not posses leadership qualities. This is a false notion that is created by members of the society.
Various scholars have developed theories to explain the ongoing injustices against women. The theories cross examines the social roles and feministic politics in a number of ways. The theories target to expose gender equalities. Various theorists including Cohen advocate the rights of women. Discrimination against women takes many forms including stereotyping, oppression, patriarchy and sexual objection.
Human Rights Activists
Human rights activists promoting gender equality have embarked on serious campaign to educate the public that in deed women are just like men in capability and leadership.
The activists trace the causes of inequality by criticizing them as mere statements without any truth. They specifically identify epistemology, which is the source of knowledge as one cause of gender inequality. It is generally believed that men are wise and knowledgeable.
They are trusted with leadership because other forces cannot manipulate them easily. The scholarly work is usual attributed to men. Sometimes in history, women developed theories that were attributed to their husbands. Most of the published material uses male language, which increases gender inequality.
Such names as God the Father, police officer and mail carrier glorifies men to high positions in the society. Women activists have risen up to challenge such language by coming up with more qualitative language as policeperson/office and mail person.
Psychology theories such as Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis are misleading the public that gender is not biological but based on development of an individual. He argued that inequality emanates from childhood experiences claiming that men are masculine while women are feminine.
This notion leads to social belief that men are fully developed psychologically and they should take up leadership roles in the society. Other segments of the society such as the media portray women as weak characters in films and movies. Women take up lesser roles than men do and are branded to be dangerous people that should be punished by death.
Cathy Cohen Ideas on Gender Equality
Cohen had a different perspective because she was concerned with equal opportunities not uplifting the social standards of women. She observed that women could also lead just like men this had been proved at local levels. Women in rural areas had their own organizations and associations that were run effectively.
Women are doing everything they can to change the world. Cohen had a good childhood education concerning politics; the father was a letter carrier and keen on labor politics.
She advocated for equality in the United States in all aspects be it race or gender, she believed that politics create space for freedom of expression. Her main issue is to produce important intellectual work from the comparison of various perspectives on race and gender equality.
She claims that women ca only liberate themselves through excelling in academics. An educated woman earns respected and the members of a particular society take he views seriously. She cautions that time is running out for women to participate in political development of the country.
The black women as well as other minorities should not treat gender equality crusade as white women affair instead they should identify as one of the problems affecting the society just like HIV/Aids. In other words, Cohen argues that the crusade on gender is not a fight b between men and women but it is a call to the society to accept diversity and appreciate change.
The biggest challenge to activists for gender equality is the existing belief system. The society does not want to accept that women have the same capabilities as those of men. Women are subjugated to lesser roles mainly associated with the family, such as homecare.
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In most parts of the world, a female child is never exposed to full academic curiosity. There is a limit as compared to men where only the sky is the limit in academics.
The kind of education that women receive is meant to provide the basic skills for survival in the family setting; especially Africans and other countries of the third world hold this kind of mentality. This becomes a great challenge in enhancing feminine politics.
Another challenge to gender equality is religious faiths and doctrines. The church and Christianity teach that women were created after men implying that they came from men and therefore are weaker. They are supposed to respect men and serve them since they are mere helpers.
The kind of education exposes women in the society to be lesser to men. This has led to discrimination extending to work places especially in political offices. The condition is even worse in other religious such as Islam and Hindu where women are not part of the decision makers in societal institutions.
Apart from difficult situations experienced by the activists such as Cathy Cohen, the activists have soldiered on with the agenda of changing female perception in the society. Some men have noticed the seriousness of the matter and are joining men in large numbers to advocate for equality.
This has in turn forced many governments both at county and national levels to redefine their policies to suit the interests of all in the society women included.
Cohen, Cathy. Global Feminisms: Comparative Case Studies of Women’s Activism and Scholarship, Transcript of Cathy Cohen: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2004.