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As in most cultures even in the United States the status of women has been much below that of men historically. The course of history changed with the Seneca Falls Convention in New York in the year 1848 spearheaded by Elizabeth Cady and Lucretia Mott. This convention discussed broadly the “social, civil and religious conditions and rights of women” in the American Society. This first-ever women’s convention came up with “Declaration of Sentiments” much like the Declaration of Independence. This culminated with Fredrick Douglass impassioned speech that led to over 100 participants signing the resolution.
Some of the features of Afro-American fight for their rights is very similar to what women did for their rights and equality. Negative stereotypes directed at women are very similar to that were directed towards the black population. Despite the male lip service to women’s equality the reality is something really different, that has been witnessed all along the history of the United States.
Today the role of women has dramatically altered, especially over the last couple of decades and they are playing active roles outside of the homes. They are playing the role of being bread earners for the family and have joined the active workforce. Between 1969 and now the number of women in workforce has moved from one third to one half!
Women are also playing an active role in politics today and there were a record number of women that ran for office in 2012 and today there are a record high number of women serving the Congress today. The gender discrimination has been successfully overcome. Despite all the advances definite inequalities still exist. Despite the fact that women today are sole bread winners or equal with their male partners women still get paid only 77 cents for every male dollar. This gap increases with the Black American Women.
Despite the equality that been brought around, there are definite concepts of masculinity that are seen in the today’s society. There are stereotype roles that are seen as “male,” e.g. truck driving, construction work etc. are still seen as “difficult” and seen as “male” jobs. The concept of a glass ceiling, despite being denied, still exists in the American corporate world. Even today the American women earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man. It is estimated that this difference will take another four decades to even out and is expected to happen by around 2058. Pay, hiring and promotions in the corporate world show a clear leaning towards men.
Socio-economic Status of GLBT (Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and Transgender) has been a subject of controversy historically. There is an authentic study conducted by the American Psychologists Association (APA) that indicates the disparity in this area. There is substantial evidence to indicate that those people who identify themselves as GLBT are at a definite socio-economic disadvantage in the society. The study indicates that GLBT tend to have more education than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts there is a clear reduction in their earnings. The study indicates that gay men tend to earn about 32% less than their similarly qualified heterosexual man. About 65% of transgender men with income less than USD 25,000 have reported lesser income. Only about 6% of the general population makes less then USD 10,000 per annum, while 14% of GLBT make less than this amount.
GLBT have been subject to discrimination all along. There are still laws that make it legal to discriminate. For instance in over 30 States it is legal to terminate an employee solely on the sexual orientation platform. Terminating an employee based on gender is legal in 39 States! Almost 70% of GLBT identified individuals have reported to experience discrimination at workplace and employment.
There is a definite lack of acceptance and also fear of being persecuted that makes the GLBT men leave home. This homelessness has serious impact on the socioeconomic status of GLBT men. 20 – 40% of GLBT men are reported to be homeless. Many homeless programs run by Faith organizations disapprove homosexuality. GLBT men indulge in drug abuse and dangerous sexual behaviour that very often leads to mental disorders.
Off late women have joined the male dominated GLBT social movements which advocate equality in society. The most common goal stated for these movements is equality and liberation from biphobia, homophobia and transphobia. Lesbian feminism is being increasingly witnessed from the later part of the last century that advocate lesbianism as a logical extension of feminism.
Many of the GLBT movements are opposed by many individuals and organizations that have personal, political or religious inclinations. Same sex marriages are argued to be the doorsteps to polygamy and immorality – unnatural acts is the primary argument of these individuals and organizations. The concerns expressed include conflict with freedom of speech, freedom at workplace, running of church and charitable organizations.
Anna Chu, C. P. (2013, September 25). The State of Women in America. Retrieved from CEnter for American Progress: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2013/09/25/74836/the-state-of-women-in-america/
Schaefer, R. T. (2012). Racial and Ethnic Groups. New York: Merril Prentice Hall.