It does not matter how long ago one tries to trace back the origin of sexual discrimination. It has been there as long as humans existed. Sexism is one of the greatest human beliefs and little has been done in order to go against it. “My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly”. This quotation, extracted from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, published in 1890, shows not only that women were thought to be intellectually inferior but also it tells what was expected from them – just not the same that is expected from a man. It seems to me that those expectations and treatment towards women have changed very little since those days until our time.
One of the ways in which mistreatment towards women is usually seen is their objectification. Females are often regarded merely as objects, used to please men while their intellectual capacities and feelings are disregarded. Examples of this can be found anywhere – television, advertising and even literature. Sexual objectification undermines women’s role in society and reduces their value to that of a thing that gives sexual pleasure on other people.
Furthermore, this inequality still survives due to the fact that different things are expected from women and men. While the male stereotype claims that men leave the house in order to work and sustain the family, women are supposed to stay at home to keep the house in good conditions, be in charge of the child-care and do “women’s jobs”, i.e., washing the dishes, cooking, doing the ironing, among others. Given that they are forced to work in their homes, women do not get a salary and therefore they suffer from economic dependence.
However, even if women actually had the opportunity to put the women-must-stay-at-home stereotype away, they would have to struggle to fit in a field where men are downright favored. There are still many male jobs that women can never obtain, and men are usually preferred to fill vacancies over women that are more qualified, just for being men. On top of that, they often receive less money than men, irrespective of the fact that they do the same work.
All things considered, it can be concluded that, although the popular belief that women’s condition is improving exists, not much has changed in the last years, and it will be a long time before women reach their equality to men.