Equality in American Family
Recent events have shown that the question of equality in a society where different genders are accorded the same respect and opportunities is becoming increasingly urgent. Unfortunately, such a non-discriminatory societal utopia is yet to be attained. There have been constant efforts by women to fight for equality, particularly in two parameters: opportunities and payment (Collins, 2015). This is a consequence of women in America having been subjected to lesser pay than their male counterparts despite being involved in the same tasks. To better understand the forces behind this inequality in society, there is a need to evaluate the topic of equality within the confines of a family unit. A family is the basic unit of the society, so any happenings within the unit overflow into wider communities. In other words, with time equality within a family unit will lead to improved equality in society and vice versa. Equality in the American family has been gradually improving where the role of both partners has changed to conform to the demands of a union where partners help one another (Zahidi, 2016). This has also been accompanied by a shift of behavior for members of families, particularly on matters of occupation. This is a phenomenon that has demanded a shift away from stereotypical behavior where certain roles were perceived to belong to specific genders. However, the goal of having total equality within the American family has not been met and more needs to be done, particularly in the context of societal attitudes. The fact of the matter is, that improved equality within a family is very critical in bringing stability to that family and the society at large. However, for the improvement of equality in the American family to be met and sustained, it has to be a product of role change, improved literacy levels, and above all a shift in the society’s attitude where ability supersedes gender when it comes to accessing opportunities.
Sustained equality in families needs to be ingrained in the family’s ideals. If equality in American families is to hold the test of time, it must be one of the family values. One of the critical things that have jeopardized the accomplishment of equality in many families is the presence of contradicting belief systems. It is important to point out that since many families follow the patriarchal way of life where the male is superior to the female, family equality has been seen as a threat to this ideal. According to Haley and Dyson (2014), it is the same males who see equality as a threat to their authority within a family setting that is expected to provide a direction for its inception. This fact has seen equality in American families remain just a dream for many. Moreover, it is critical to point out that the American society is comprised of many people from different cultural backgrounds, such as the Hispanics, who do not necessarily believe in equality (Heinemann, 2012). In appreciation of this fact, if equality is to be attained, then the ideal needs to be a part of the American family DNA. This will ensure that the values of gender equality are taught to young people. This will lead to total acceptance of the need for equality over time and a sustainable way of upholding the ideal.
Increased literacy levels in society will ensure that more people are aware of the benefits of promoting family equality. One of the challenges that are curtailing the establishment of equality in many families is the lack of knowledge about the importance of meeting this standard. Therefore, through improved literacy levels, even in the communities where family equality is unappreciated, people will be sensitized to the benefits of supporting the ideology of equality within a family setup. According to Heinemann (2012), societal change is a complex undertaking, but better-informed people are better agents of change. This is because it becomes simpler for the concerned parties to engage constructively on the rationales behind having a family that appreciates the input of equality. Additionally, based on Collins’ (2015) findings, a family-centered on platform that appreciates equality is happier than the one that looks down upon the same. The argument is that equality between the partners stabilizes the family since responsibilities are evenly shared, thus reducing the overburdening of one partner. Therefore, these are the realities that can be well understood if people are better informed on the pros of equality in families.
The success of equality in American families can be accomplished easier in cases where role change is appreciated. This is another major hindrance when it comes to achieving equality in American families. In most instances, the man is still the provider and the woman – the nurturer. This makes it hard for women to have the power to demand equality within their marriages (Weiner, 2015). They are dependent on the resources from their husband and, as long as this remains the case, attaining equality within the family will remain unachievable. Therefore, there is a need for families to be open to role change rather than just being dependents, so all marriage partners are empowered into being providers. Moreover, these ideals should likewise be instilled in the young within family units, so boys and girls are taught to be open-minded when it comes to gender roles. Additionally, there is a need for the country at large to ensure that the 19th amendment is observed, thus empowering women to take control of their reproductive health rights since this has a positive impact on their economic status (Weiner, 2015). As a result, women will be empowered into playing a larger role in their families and go beyond nurturing. This will provide a solid base for improved equality in American families.
The ideology of ‘equal pay for equal work’ needs to be supported if equality is to be attained in the American family. According to Hoffman (2013), most of the inequalities within families in America happen because of economic inequalities among marriage partners. Therefore, if the intention is to make sure that there is equality in families, matters dealing with income equality for equal work need to be upheld. This is a demand that is consistent with Weiner (2015) who argued that, as long as women are denied their rightful pay, equality within the family will remain just a phrase. Equality is highly adhered to if two parties are dependent on each other. Therefore, if there is a huge difference in regard to ability, one party has more influence over the other. This is the case in many American families where men have more significant economic abilities than their spouses (Rycroft, 2013). Consequently, this has played a detrimental role when it comes to equality in the family. Additionally, for a long time, women have been struggling with unfair practices in the job market where they have been paid less money than their male colleagues despite undertaking the same tasks (Bush, 2016). As a result, women have continued to play secondary roles in families in terms of the decision-making processes. Therefore, ensuring that women are paid the right wages for the right tasks will contribute significantly when it comes to helping women participate more actively in family decisions, a phenomenon that will help bring equality to the American family.
Societal attitudes need to change if any gains are to be made regarding equality in American families. Over the years, societal expectations vary for different genders and dictate women play certain duties within a family unit. According to Heinemann (2012), the people who try to venture into avenues perceived as a no-go zone have faced ridicule and been treated as outcasts. It is these attitudes that have made it impossible for women to take up new roles that are consistent with the spirit of equality, such as being consulted frequently on family matters since this is seen as the role of the men. Moreover, due to societal pressures, when a husband feels that his wife is engaging in tasks that are out of her purview, the typical feeling is that of being threatened; this usually leads to conflicts (Weiner, 2015). Therefore, as long as there is no shift in these societal attitudes, men will continue feeling threatened even if the intention of the women is far from making them experience such emotions. Therefore, it is important to accustom the public and males in particular to appreciating that encouraging women to take up some of their roles, if they are not in a position to do so, is an action that will be very helpful in bringing equality into the family.
In the current era, cooperation is the norm of the day. People have learned the importance of appreciating the diversity of ideas. This often demands departures from the norm. Similarly, if there is to be improved equality in American families, then the American society needs to make some shifts that will see the role of the women in a family expand beyond what has been okay within the context of many communities. This will make it possible for men and women to be empowered, to take up new roles that will be of help, and to ensure improved roles of genders within a family. Moreover, it is only through making these shifts that the young generation will be provided with a platform upon which the culture of equality will find its way into society now and in the future. Equality is critical since it provides room for the genders to be engaged in family life however they are best suited (Haley & Dyson, 2014). The result of this will be an improved cohesion within families, leading to increased stability and firm lasting ties within families. Ultimately, the improvement of equality not only brings harmony to family units but also helps in tapping the best talent, since people are given opportunities based on their ability and not their gender (Heinemann, 2012). It is, therefore, clear that improving the level of equality in families will not only be advantageous to the families but also to the American society as a whole. The culture of genders working together freely will be the new norm.
Many families in which women take non-conventional roles experienced unnecessary conflicts leading to divorce in certain extreme cases. It is true that in many instances where the wife has turned into the provider or decision-maker, the marriages have gone through conflicts. This is because of the patriarchal nature of families where it is the expectation that the man should be the one taking on these roles (Hoffman, 2013). Therefore, due to the societal pressures, the wife feels misused or the man feels inferior within their marriage. Besides, there is also the pressure from friends and families not to stay in such marriages, a phenomenon that is as a result of either societal attitude or influence of gender roles. However, studies on family welfare have shown that families that have empowered women are more successful as compared to those who perceive women as agents of nurture (Heinemann, 2012). Besides, in families where the women are empowered, there is a better distribution of roles, and this has resulted in these families being better placed economically. Over and above, in families where there is equality, the children of both sex grow up to be very confident due to the good examples set by their parents. Thus, It is evident that if society can be better informed, and accept the importance of shifts in gender roles and shifts in patriarchy-based attitudes, equality in the American family will be achieved and sustained over time.
In conclusion, it is evident that despite the continued gains of enhanced equality in American families more improvements are still needed. Moreover, one of the challenges that have continued to deter the achievement of family equality is stereotypical attitudes within society regarding gender roles. Another challenge has been the continued discrimination of women in terms of payment when work equal to that of men does not necessarily result in equal pay. As a consequence, there has been a wide income gap between the genders, resulting in women being heavily dependent on men. Thus, the topic of equality in such families becomes impractical. There is also the challenge of the rigidity of society when it comes to gender roles whereby, when one gender accepts non-traditional roles, they are seen as a threat to the patriarchy, a phenomenon that has seen women shy away from taking larger roles in their families, thus jeopardizing family equality.
Therefore, there is a need to educate society on the crucial gains that families can make if they adopt the ideology of equality within family units. Increased sensitization campaigns are needed to help change the notion that marriage equality is a threat to the current status quo that men rule and women follow. There is a need to ensure that there is attitude change where extra help from any gender in a marriage is not perceived as overstepping one’s role, but rather an attempt to improve the welfare of the family as a whole. What is evident is the fact that with increased equality comes improved living standards for the families, since there is also improved sharing of responsibilities. This is an approach that helps eliminate the overburdening of partners in a family, where this aiding brings more cohesion. Due to the various societal challenges and the obvious benefits of having equality in American families, there is a need to utilize an approach that will help bring in this good ideology in a manner that appreciates the present rigidity, but simultaneously comes up with sustainable solutions
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