“Does institutionalized sexism need to be eradicated?”
What is institutionalized sexism firstly? Institutionalized sexism is the discrimination against one gender (usually women) by means of actual rules, such as a rule stating that a particular job can only be filled by a man. Stating that women can’t rule a country or women can’t work in I.T. or women should just stay in the kitchen is the reality of institutionalized sexism. In the same way, men are being affected by this too. Men APPARENTLY have to work out and get muscles, men don’t have as much of a fashion choice as women, if a man cries, he is weak, just to name a few.
We all have our own purpose in life. We all have our own limit. The problem with sexism is other people get to chose your purpose for you. They get to chose your own limit for you, and sadly, most of us are letting them. Sexism is still an ongoing problem. One of the reasons why it’s such a conniving problem is because it is an unconscious bias. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we all think this way. Some are just more vocal about it than others.
For our Option’s Trail, it was made clear that the women the we interviewed were very passionate about their job. 2 of them have been doing this for almost 20 years and are clearly dedicated to what they’re doing. They had a lot of insight about Women in the Workplace in general. One of the problems they brought about was the gender pay gap. They felt very strongly about this, considering they are proud feminists. However, The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has acknowledged this problem and have run a few numbers as well. The national gender pay gap is currently 18.8% and has hovered between 15% and 19% for the past two decades (https://www.wgea.gov.au/learn/about-pay-equity). I think one of the reasons why women are devalued this way is definitely because of discrimination, whether it be direct or indirect.
We also did a survey in Melbourne Central and most argue that sexism wasn’t a very common thing and neither is it becoming common. We interviewed at around lunch time, so we had a lot of university students which probably wasn’t the best people to survey. It was quite a small survey as well . But a lot are being done to combat this. Social media now is very influential. There is an ongoing tweet that has been given a bit of attention that raises awareness for institutionalized sexism (http://theconversation.com/fighting-back-against-gender-hate-one-tweet-at-a-time-16624).
Sexism now isn’t as bad as it was a few decades ago. Back then, women weren’t allowed to vote. Women couldn’t drive. Having a woman president was unthinkable. I’m proud to be part of this generation considering how hard they have fought for equal rights. It’s safe to say that a lot of improvement has been made over the years. This effort will not go unnoticed by me. On Election Day in 1920, millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified on August 26, 1920, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
I can’t help but wonder how life would be if no one ever stood up for themselves. Mary Crooks told us a story about one of her experiences with sexism. She is the executive director for Victoria Women’s Trust for almost 20 years now. She told us how she was one of the only women in a public meeting. When she asked a question, specifically to this one man, he would answer but never lock eyes with her even once. Mary said that if she could go back, she would say something about it. She says it haunts her to this day and that people like him give her reason to do what she is doing. She has been a feminist for a very long time. She could be incapable of thinking any other way. If she is biased, she has a good reason to be. In the 1970s and 1980s, orchestras began using blind auditions. Researchers have determined that adding a screen to hide the gender of the musician alone makes it 50% more likely that a woman will advance to the finals (http://curt-rice.com/2013/10/01/what-the-worlds-best-orchestras-can-teach-us-about-gender-discrimination/). Sexism really is everywhere.
Institutionalized sexism has so much negative effects on both women and men. It targets their abilities and eventually defines who they’re “meant” to be. Take Mary for example. Do you think she’d be a feminist if she didn’t experience all these judgments from her peers? I guess, in a way, they did contribute to who she is now, but she chose her own path. She chose to fight against the sexism. Yes, all those experiences pushed her down, but she chose to get back up and fight for herself and for other people.
In the world we’re living in, I think we’re still a bit away from being a completely judgement-free world. Judgement is seen to be such a negative thing when in reality, judgement is an essential part of improving yourself. If I make a mistake, I want to know where I went wrong so I could learn from it next time. The way people give and take judgement is a problem. If I do something wrong, don’t blame my whole gender. In the same way, If I ask for your opinion, I should remain open minded.
Using the definition I have raised, yes, eradicating institutionalized sexism is a worth-it feet. Unless we can find a way to process the judgments in a productive manner, sexism will always be something that will be frowned upon.