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Inequality and Public Policy Essay

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Updated: Oct 21st, 2020


Class materials have exposed several issues that continue to affect the welfare of many citizens in the country. The issue of gender inequality is something that is yet to benefit from the concept of public policy. This concern affects a wide range of social aspects such as criminal justice, politics, and economic empowerment. The presence of men and women in the labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has been unequal for decades.

Although the percentage of women in the labor force has changed since the 1970s, there are still more men working than women (Caliendo 141). Consequently, there is a need for policies and programs able to reduce gender inequality. The targeted topic for this paper is “Addressing Gender Inequality Using the Concept of Public Policy”. The intended objective of the final paper is to understand the gaps in public policy and propose new solutions to empower women from all racial backgrounds.

Introduction and Background of the Issue

The problem of inequality has affected different societies for many centuries. This issue has been catalyzed by misappropriation of natural resources, poor leadership, and the existence of monarchies and other ineffective systems of governance. For many years, women have been treated as second-class citizens in their respective nations (Stamarski and Son Hing 5). This move has made it impossible for them to achieve their goals and lead better lives. History reveals that women have always been mistreated, enslaved, married by force, and abused. This historical background explains why the problem continues to affect many societies today.

Although different policy incentives have been presented to empower various groups of people, many communities and nations are still grappling with gender inequality predicament. Several critical incidences emphasize the importance of this concern. For instance, Stewart acknowledges that more women have been acquired adequate education and job opportunities (38). However, the undeniable fact is that gender inequality remains a pervasive issue across the globe.

Blunch and Das go further to indicate that women are underrepresented in different fields such as politics, managerial positions, and business (192). These incidences show conclusively that the issue must be analyzed and understood to propose the most appropriate solutions.

Policymakers and societies should be on the frontline to address this issue using evidence-based ideas. This is the case because every human being should be empowered to lead a quality life and realize his or her potential. Women play a critical role in every society. Underpowered women will be unable to bring up their children effectively. Many single parents in different societies are women (112). That being the case, policymakers should address this issue to reduce most of the problems affecting every society such as juvenile delinquency and underdevelopment.

Citizens should be concerned with this issue because it has the potential to uncover other areas whereby women empowerment can be achieved (Falb et al. e302). For instance, gender equality can empower more women to take up senior positions in their respective companies, support child development policies, and engage in economic development activities.

The issue of gender inequality is attacked by several ethical or philosophical concepts. For instance, utilitarianism is a philosophic maxim that requires people to do what maximizes happiness for all. Any form of gender oppression or inequality fails to meet this test (Falb et al. e302). Ethical or moral laws also encourage people to treat each other equally. Such notions, therefore, underscore the importance of the issue.

Statement of the Problem

Gender inequality is a wide topic that has attracted the attention of many scholars, philosophers, and analysts. Many nations have been keen to implement powerful measures to deal with it. Unfortunately, many countries and communities are still struggling with this challenge. The complexity of the problem has resulted in numerous issues that make it impossible for many women to achieve their potential (Stamarski and Son Hing 12). For example, the issue affects the level of educational attainment for women, availability of economic opportunities, life expectancy, and health.

Hill argues that every country has its unique causes of this kind of problem (23). In some nations, women face untold violence, torture, and abuse. Some are unable to live happily in their homes. Cases of rape, women trafficking and femicide are common in different parts of the world. Campbell and Gillespie indicate that sex-selective abortion has also become a major challenge affecting women (62). In countries such as China, women are viewed as weak and unintelligent human beings. Such notions explain why more women are not allowed to take up leadership positions. From this analysis, it is quite clear that a change in policy is crucial if these obstacles affecting women are to be dealt with.

As indicated earlier, gender inequality is a serious problem that affects women as the target population. This is the case because women find it hard to acquire quality education, pursue their career goals, or get superior health services. Additionally, different groups such as women from minority races are affected the most by this problem. Some are usually abused, beaten, and raped (Blunch and Das 199). Domestic violence is, therefore, a widespread issue affecting women from different backgrounds. A society that has not tackled this problem will be forced to deal with numerous concerns such as increased unemployment rates, high mortality rates, reduced life expectancy, broken marriages, and poor health outcomes.

From this discussion, the specific problem is the lack of adequate incentives and programs to support women’s empowerment and reduce the level of gender inequality. This situation is caused by the failure of the government and other stakeholders to implement powerful strategies, policies, and initiatives that can ensure that more women have numerous opportunities and resources (Campbell and Gillespie 79). Additionally, social norms and practices have created a negative environment that discourages or prevents women from achieving their goals.

Several key ethical debates and controversies continue to face this issue. For instance, some societies such as China expect women to take up domestic chores only. Additionally, adequate policies are usually applied in urban regions. This means that the needs of women in rural regions are usually ignored. The problem affects individuals from different racial backgrounds, communities, and nationalities (Hill 72). That being the case, the failure of different governments to implement stringent measures and policies has affected the success of every women empowerment program. This gap must be analyzed to support more women and make them successful.

Current Policies

The civilized world already acknowledges the problem of gender inequality, which results in the development of gender equality policies. In the global context, UNICEF developed the program Working for an Equal Future: UNICEF Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Girls and Women. This policy tries to solve the problem of inequality between boys and girls and develop an organizational mechanism, which is expected to be effective over a short period.

The policy is still implemented but it did not solve the problem of gender inequality. Certainly, there are positive changes. Thus, more attention is given to girls’ education, promotion of mutual respect, reduction of child labor, etc. This policy is supported by governments of the member countries because UNICEF stimulates national projects aimed at the reduction of inequality. Still, the policy has some limitations since it involves a global audience. First of all, it is difficult to control its implementation, and secondly, the evaluation of its effectiveness is time- and cost-consuming.

As for the United States, there are three levels of gender equality policy (Wilson). The first one is the US Government, which provides general guidance on the problem. The second level comprises safety for girls and women (Wilson). It deals with the issue of gender-based violence, which is a focus of the foreign policy of the United States. Finally, the third level deals with the aspect of leadership for girls and women and economic opportunities.

On the whole, policies introduced by the US Government contributed to the improvements in the following spheres. Thus, a woman’s health improved due to the elimination of insurance disparities on the grounds of gender. Also, legislation regarding violence against girls and women was updated (The White House). Moreover, attention was given to the promotion of female leadership in politics and the economy.

Finally, an attempt was made to combat human trafficking. Although the mentioned policies did not alleviate all of the existing gender inequality problems, they contributed to the improvement of the situation. These current policies are supported both by the Government and population because gender equality and women’s empowerment are among the priorities of the United States. However, one of the possible limitations to this policy is the excessive attention of the United States to foreign affairs and, as a result, less attention to the current situation.

  • Who Is in Favor of Changing the Current Policies? Why Do They Want to Change Them? (These Questions Can Serve as a Transition to the Next Section of the Paper.)

Alternative Solutions

The purpose of this section is to analyze one or two alternative solutions to the problem. In selecting the alternative solutions, choose alternatives that have been seriously proposed by advocates or policy makers. You do not have to analyze every possible alternative, but you should analyze alternatives that have been or are being seriously considered. Expanding (Or modifying) Current policies (Or programs) Can be treated as one of the alternative solutions.

For each alternative solution, analyze its strengths and weaknesses and discuss which groups, opinion leaders, or policy makers support or reject it. Ultimately, keep in mind that you might be rejecting these alternative solutions or using parts of them for your policy proposal in the next section of the paper. The questions to address are as follows:

  • what are the alternatives to the current policies?
  • what are the strengths and weaknesses of the alternatives? Why?
  • who supports and opposes the alternatives? Why?
  • why haven’t these alternatives been made into policy? Is there some fatal flaw inherent in them or in the way that society views them? Is there another reason why these alternatives haven’t been implemented?

Policy Recommendations, Feasibility, and Implementation Strategies

The purpose of this section is to formulate an effective policy proposal for the problem you are addressing, demonstrate that your proposal is practical and feasible, and prove that your proposal will work. The questions to address are as follows:

  • What are the specific policy recommendations that you are proposing to solve the problem? What specific administrative or legal guidelines will your policy provide?
  • How does your policy proposal solve the problem better than current policy or any of the alternatives? What evidence can you offer that demonstrates your proposal will be effective? What reasoning and/Or evidence can you provide that demonstrates your proposal is feasible and workable?
  • What legislative body, agency, or other policy-making group will need to approve your proposal for it to be implemented? What agency or group will be responsible for administering your proposal?
  • How might you go about influencing these specific groups so that your proposal will be adopted? What spokespersons or policy makers might realistically be interested in supporting your proposal? What evidence can you provide which indicates these people will be likely to serve as advocates for your proposal? What other groups might you entice to form a coalition in support of your proposal? What other implementation strategies might you use to gain support for your proposal?
  • What are the most critical obstacles (Financial, legal, ethical, or political) You anticipate in implementing your policy proposal? How do you plan to overcome these obstacles? What policy-makers or groups might be opposed to your proposal? Why would they be opposed to your proposal? How will you counteract the influence of these policy-makers and groups?
    Are there additional benefits or advantages of your proposal? If your policy proposal is adopted, how soon might we see results? What changes can we expect to see right away? Five years from now?

Summation and Conclusion

This analysis shows conclusively that a change in policy is needed because most of the existing strategies aimed at supporting the needs of women have not delivered meaningful results. These issues presented above should, therefore, be examined in totality if evidence-based policies are to be formulated and implemented to tackle this predicament. By so doing, every issue arising from the problem of gender inequality such as violence against women, rape, femicide, and lack of opportunities will be addressed using evidence-based policies. The final paper is expected to shed more light on the nature of this problem and offer powerful policy incentives to transform the situation.

Works Cited

Blunch, Niels-Hugo, and Maitreyi B. Das. “Changing Norms about Gender Inequality in Education: Evidence from Bangladesh.” Demographic Research, vol. 32, no. 6, 2015, pp. 183-218.

Campbell, Jim, and Morag Gillespie. Feminist Economics and Public Policy: Reflections on the Work and Impact of Ailsa McKay. Routledge, 2016.

Caliendo, Stephen M. Inequality in America: Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise. Westview Press, 2015.

Falb, Kathryn L., et al. “Achieving Gender Equality to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence against Women.” Lancet, vol. 3, no. 1, 2015, pp. e302-e303.

Hill, Michael. Studying Public Policy. Policy Press, 2014.

Stamarski, Calin S., and Leanne S. Son Hing. “Gender Inequalities in the Workplace: The Effects of Organizational Structures, Processes, Practices, and Decision Makers’ Sexism.” Front Psychology, vol. 6, no. 1400, 2015, pp. 1-16.

Stewart, Miranda. Tax, Social Policy and Gender: Rethinking Equality and Efficiently. ANU Press, 2017.

The White House. “” The White House. Web.

UNICEF. Working for an Equal Future: UNICEF Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Girls and Women. UNICEF, 2010.

Wacquant, Loic. Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity. Duke University Press, 2009.

Wilson, Tara. “Borgen Magazine. 2014. Web.

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