Most women are dominated by the patriarchal, sometimes even sexist, gender typing, and homophobic society of our culture. God forbid we should also become handicapped making it one more thing to overcome.
We are simply the oppressed in our cultural society because we are female. As we emigrate to the U.S. we then become a subordinate ethnic group on top of everything else we must overcome. We have to endure a “double jeopardy”.
Women have to face many obstacles not only in the North American culture but in their own culture as well. We need to re-examine our past to understand ourselves better. How did our culture influence our beliefs? Whether we want to admit it or not, it has greatly influenced us directly or indirectly. As children we are observers. We learn a great deal through example.
Who we are and what we believe in has been constructionalized from the day we are born. We are like sponges just soaking in all that knowledge without judging if it is right or wrong.
We develop our gender identity, gender consistency, gender schemes, gender stability, gender typing and positional identity or relational identity at a very young age. It is then reinforced by our culture.
Growing up some have authoritarian parents rather than authoritative parents. I am just as guilty. I sometimes catch myself telling my son “Because I told you so". I have to constantly be vigilant that my past does not over rule my present actions.
As more generations learn to keep what is best about their culture, there has been more improvement in the lives of women. We are not expected to stay home and raise children after marrying. If we want to remain single we are no longer ridiculed, and expected to marry at a young age.
It is okay to pursue our academic goals. We no longer have to silence our voice, dreams and goals. We now have the opportunity to work towards self-actualization just like any man can.
Our level of achievement motivation is up and our sense of learned helplessness is going down with every new generation. Our attributions as to why we succeed are more internalized.
We have learned how to use our care and justice perspective, and moral reasoning to make the world a better place for others whether it be educational, cultural, or in the workplace.
Yes, there are still critical filters, glass ceilings, and our own personal fear of success that we must overcome sometimes on a daily basis. We should take comfort in that we are not alone.
We have a “sisterhood” of women who have gone before us and those who are currently working towards improving things not just for women but for all humanity.
Women have shown that they have the cognitive capacity to accomplish any job. All we ask is the opportunities to do so. As more of the gatekeepers realize that we are an asset and not a token we are seeing not only more women being hired for professional positions but also more women CEOs.
Women have thrived in working environments were a null environment does not exist. Affirmative action has helped but more can still be done to decrease discrimination based on gender and ethnic group.
Pay equity is also of great concern. Many studies have shown that women are still paid less for the same job that a man does. I would not be surprised if the pay inequity gap would be wider if you added the ethnicity to it.
Occupational stereotypes are still persistent. Little girls are not encouraged to grow up and be plumbers, electricians, mechanics, pilots and other occupations generally associated with men.
Some women magazines are increasingly reflecting what we as women are experiencing and enlighten women as to how we can go back to college no matter our individual or societal issues. I feel empowered to go forth and work towards my goals, dreams and academic success. Women need to be empowered to truly be “all that they can be”.
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