While our progress in the workforce throughout history is obvious, author Stephanie Coontz points out that while we have progressed, there is still quite a bit of room for improvement, and that the so-called “end of men,” is not a current reality.
Despite how far women have come within the past 100 years, we are still oppressed. Men still dominate the top fields in our country including (but not limited to): computer sciences and technology, engineering, and leading major corporations, while maintaining most of the positions as some of America’s wealthiest citizens. Coontz makes it obvious that some of the hindering glass ceilings from our traditional patriarchal society have yet to be shattered.
The real question is how exactly are women still being oppressed? Through gender socioeconomic class, women are often denied the same opportunities as men, through something called the “patriarchal dividend.” Though it isn’t as prominent in our current generation, men have always been able to rest assured, that even if they are not Caucasian or of the upper or middle classes, they will always trump women. Always. Whether it be at work school, or home men were always guaranteed entitlement. At one time this dividend was so severe that marital rape was not even considered to be a crime or a wrongful act. Women were expected to comply whenever their husbands deemed it necessary.
While we have come a long way since then, women still lack representations in areas such as the government or the corporate world. Only seventeen percent of Congress is female, and four percent of the CEO’s in Fortune’s top one thousand companies are women. These numbers are startlingly low. If the end of patriarchy was near, and all of the glass ceilings had been broken, then these statistics would cease to exist. Today, women make up forty percent of the full-time managers working in management, yet only make about seventy three percent of what their male co-workers do. Even with equal training and education, the gap between the salaries of men and women is quite large.
So, with these facts out on the table, have we really come as far as we thought? Or is our progress simply exaggerated?