Prejudice can be defined as a negative mindset on a certain group of people, may it be religious, gender, race, or a certain profession, which has no basis at all. Such mindsets are formed without any prior judgments or just grounds and the parties labeled with such notions are discriminated against. Gender prejudice has been a major issue in our society today where views and opinions have been formed about whether one is a man or a woman. It is a conviction that one sex is superior to the other in terms of physical, emotional or even social abilities.
Traditionally, children have learned some of these prejudices from their parents as they grow. This is because the environment in which a child grows up plays a major role in how the child will behave in different situations and circumstances. The people around a growing child may act or talk in a certain way towards a person/people, hence provoking the child to form an opinion towards that particular group. In our society today, women have been treated like a minority group by men.
Despite the fact that laws have been passed to ensure equality of the two genders, women are still being treated with much prejudice. For instance, in the political arena, women have not been seen to participate with much enthusiasm due to the fear of being looked down upon or even lack enough support. For example in America, how many women have been elected presidents? This also applies in many professional positions like managers, directors, CEOs and military leaders where the opposite gender has been seen to dominate most of the positions. An example of prejudice against women was noted in the 44th Americas’ vice president Dan Qualy when he criticized a show, ‘Murphy Brown’, which showed how a lady-mother who was single could work and still take care of her child. In his opinion, Dan felt that the lady had no right to work but stay home to take care of her children. Ironically, he still found some support from the people in the public despite being brushed off by the media.
In the recent past, there has been a lot of changes in rights regarding women, due to the constant fights ensued by women to grant them rights that have in the past solely left for men, like the right to be educated, hold high jobs and even own property. Despite this, there are still gender disparities being experienced today. Today, for instance, many women have enrolled in higher education and pursued different careers, unlike in the past. However, the job field is still flooded with men, with salary scales differing for both genders. Some jobs have even been labeled as ‘women jobs’ with salaries decreasing with time. For example, the secretary job was in the past considered a man’s job but this has changed over time with compensation decreasing as well. Men get promotions faster than men in a field mostly dominated by women. This brings about a feeling of insufficiency by the women as it tends to signify that their work is not as good.
Another prime example is when a couple decides to start a family and one of them is obliged to stay home to take care of the children. In many cases, the woman is the one who sacrifices her job or education while the man continues working. The media has also been blamed in some part for encouraging gender prejudice by objectifying and devaluing her. Pictures of young and beautiful thin women models have been placed in magazines and screens, some of whom have been used as sex objects. They undergo numerous makeovers to bring out a figure that appeals to their supervisors. Failure to achieve this brings about depression and the feeling that they are not good enough.
In conclusion, gender prejudice can be said to have been in existence in many societies lead by the belief that women are inferior to men and were supposed to be protected. Men were to be providers and dealt with matters outside the family while women were expected to bear children, raise them and perform other domestic chores. With the change in technology and civilization, gender roles have emerged thus bringing change in gender prejudice, though not completely. In many countries laws have been and are still being enacted to illegalize gender prejudice, especially against women.