Stigma exists when the elements of labeling, stereotyping, separation, status loss and discrimination occur together in a power situation that allows them. Stigma is a persistent predicament. One way that causes this is essential groups label and extensively stereotypes a less powerful group. For example, men have been considered superior to women through the entire cause of history. This led to gender discrimination where women are limited in different ways, how high up in power they can go both in their homes and at work as discussed.
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Gender discrimination is any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the purpose of impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women. Gender discrimination can occur because of impartiality of men and women, of basic civil rights and essential autonomy in the political, financial, societal, cultural, civil or any other field. In the society today, there have been changes for women regarding employment, social status and even in the institution of marriage. Women are now allowed to work even in jobs that used to be considered for men, are given more respect in the society with the right to speak out and also decide on who to get married to. Even though there has been a significant change for women, sexism is still a considerable problem. Men are again rendered more capable and powerful than women (Bruce and Phelan, 2001).
Over the course of history, women have not been entitled to the same rights and privileges as men. Women were not allowed to vote and were required to surrender their property to their husband upon marriage.In the 18th century, there was the first sexually integrated jury. However, later the American colonies based their laws on the English common law, ‘by marriage the husband and wife are a person in the law?’ The actual presence and lawful survival of the woman is suspended throughout the marriage, or at least is integrated into that of her husband under whose shield and rules she does everything. “in the same century all states passed a law which took away the women’s right to vote (Landrine et al. 1995).”
The constitution was ratified later to use the terms persons, people, and electors which meant it would include men and women. The fight against gender discrimination continued in the following centuries. In the 19th century, there was the first state, Mississippi, to grant women the right to hold property in their name, with the permission of their husbands. Later, the first woman suffrage law was passed in the territory of Wyoming. In 1873, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state has the right to exclude a married woman from practicing law. Even though women made progress in their fights for equality, such as having the first state that approved women the right to vote in all election or the first woman admitted to trying a case before the Supreme Court, there was still so much more than needed to change (Landrine et al. 1995).
In the early 20th century, all states had passed legislation that granted women some control over their property and earnings. The National Woman’s Party also proposed Constitutional amendment “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and in every place subject to its jurisdiction. Congress should have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” Women gained more power over time, being granted the right to pursue higher education, being allowed to work and have the same wage rate as men and even having the right to attain military combat position. Despite all that women have been able to achieve there’s still a lot of different ways that they are still considered inferior.
Stigma has several outcomes. One, it involves a downward placement in the status hierarchy as women encounter. Women are considered less than men, for example being denied education as their duties included chores, nothing intellectual. Also, structural discrimination can produce adverse outcomes that have nothing to do with the stereotyped beliefs. Women have been found to show a variety of psychiatric symptoms than men, a factor that carries much weight with the discernment in the community (Bruce and Phelan, 2001). Numerous studies have found that women are more likely than men to exhibit a variety of psychiatric symptoms, with symptoms of depression and anxiety foremost among those.
Depression is the most common diagnosis received by women who seek mental health services. Exposure to stressors has been identified as a significant contributing factor to the higher rate of depression, somatization, and anxiety disorders in women than men. In the 18th and 19th century, women were diagnosed with nervous disorders as there had been no significant studies on psychiatry or depression. The resting cure was one of the treatments recommended, but it turned out to do more harm than good. Gender discrimination contributes significantly to the variance in women’s common symptoms. Two general types of gender-specific stressors have been studied and found to erode women’s physical and mental health.
The first is role related stressors, and these include role strain, role overload, and role conflict. With the right to work and even get equal pay and opportunities, more women choose to become working mums., however, does not relieve them of duties termed to be a woman’s. Some women have to learn how to manage to raise their kids and to take care of their husband and still give their best at work. The post office even does not provide women allowances or maternity leave forcing them to go back to work while still taking care of a newborn baby. This causes physical exhaustion and leads to stress-related symptoms such as depression and anxiety in women (Landrine et al. 1995).
The second type of gender-specific stressors is brutal and physical gender specific stressors, and examples are battering, rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence and other forms of violence against women. Cases of violence against women are still rampant despite all the women rights movements. Women are even considered inferior to men, and this often results in feeling insecure and fearful. Most victims are afraid of speaking out, as a society still dictates that they could not, and if they did, they would be stigmatized. Being singled out as a woman who is a sexual harassment victim causes stress-related symptoms (Bruce and Phelan, 2001).
To conclude, even though women are still being singled out today just like in the 18th century. It may not be the same, women are now allowed to work, socialize, vote and do so much more but they are still considered less. There are fewer females in power than men, wives are still enduring domestic violence, and internet trolls also play a significant role by calling women out. Even though women do have a right to speak out, not much has changed on the responses they are given. Women are still expected to live in a certain way, and as they struggle to live up to society, their minds are troubled and slowly giving in.
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