Gender equality still too far away

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We live in the age of positive body image and female empowerment, where we embrace curves and carry ourselves with the utmost confidence. This culture we call our own is progressive, yet many still fight back against this movement — sometimes even unintentionally, but for reasons they deem to be important. The strength we have gained from this empowerment movement has opened people’s eyes to opinions and interests they may not have been discovered before being under the dark blanket of insecurities and suppressive attitudes in the world around them. Boundaries have been crossed and barriers have been broken to allow people to do whatever they desire, because now we have the power to break through the glass ceiling.

Being just a few months away from college graduation, as a young female, I was always taught that no one could prevent you from becoming whomever or whatever you wanted to be, and now I am on the cusp of the real world where I can write my own story and make my own rules. I am excited, yet terrified, because up until this point in my life, there has always been a safety net. There are no more office hours when a point of confusion hits. There is no longer mom and dad’s wallet to fall back on when you can’t pay the bills, because when you graduate from college, there are enormous numbers of bills to pay.

You are on your own, fending for yourself. It is most definitely terrifying for multiple reasons. There is a fear of failure, a fear of disappointment and, most definitely, a fear of incompetence. Can we actually tackle life on our own? Has everything we have done up until this point shaped and prepared us well enough to be successful outside of the realm of the educational system support bubble?

Beyond all insecurities I may have, my biggest fear is being the exact type of woman society is trying to build. Now, building up women to be strong, confident and powerful people is a wonderful thing, and it should be applauded. For many years, women were left to be your average housewives who cook dinner, clean the house and take care of the kids. Men were the breadwinners, and the women were seen to reap the benefits — but not anymore.

My fear with this movement is that there is going to be an overcompensation toward women, deeply rooted in the terrible inequalities we faced years ago. This is not to say that there are not many inequalities still left standing, with the most famous being income inequality, where women make significantly less money than men for doing the same job, but is there a point where overcompensation needs to cease to exist and a person is judged based on talent and skill alone?

Society bolsters women up, supporting them in their efforts to create the life they want, without the help of anyone, especially a man. But I believe the system put in place right now, demanding equality, in actuality downgrades the importance of hard work and the willingness to risk it all, with the hopes that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Because of legislation, both on the state and federal level, discrimination within the workplace is illegal. There are efforts being made to implement quotas that companies must hit that ensure a mandatory percentage of female representation within a company or organization.

I can understand how many people may be in support of female representation, because I believe  women are equally as capable as men, but I also strongly believe mandating it by law insults a female’s capabilities, rather than leaning on determination and drive to place people, male or female, in positions that they are deserving of and that they earned on their own merit.

I was raised to never judge a book by its cover, and that no matter what gender, race or ethnicity,  everyone is worthy of respect. No singular person is better than the other, and everyone should be treated equally. So, the fact that society urges companies to hire a woman over a man, despite both candidates having equal talent, to reach a place of equality once and for all isn’t what I believe we should be doing.

First of all, this isn’t equality at all, because there are just as talented and deserving men, but what is most concerning is that women aren’t bothered by the fact that they may not be as qualified as a male counterpart, but they were offered and accepted the job knowing that they could be a part of a quota.

This argument is not meant to downplay the qualifications of women, because as a woman, I know there are most definitely less women in the higher ranks of companies, but serving a quota doesn’t solve the problem of inequality If anything, it enhances it. Not to mention if you were to obtain the job and are unqualified, you are in a position to either be terminated or extremely unhappy, struggling to stay afloat.

I strongly believe that gender should not be a question offered on an employment application, and it should not be considered throughout the hiring process. In order to be fair, the question of gender should be ignored — qualifications and skills should and could be the sole determinants on whether or not someone obtains a job.

This may be an idealistic mindset, but I fear that as I’m entering the labor force, I will be treated differently than my male counterparts. I fear that when it comes down to myself and a male applicant for a job, I have a better chance strictly because I am a woman, and that is never acceptable. We are fighting for equality, and gender quotas in the workplace won’t help us win the fight. Rather, we should all be seen as hard working human beings, gender aside.

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