Gender inequality has been a significant issue for a prolonged period. Gender inequality takes place in most patriarchal societies. “Patriarchy implies to the social system of male power which is exercised not only through male dominance but also through love and benevolence” (Tedx Talks). Most people often think patriarchy is a problem that belongs to other cultures or other countries but, they fail to realize how it also takes place in their everyday life here in North America. Patriarchy leads to creating contemporary issues such as gender inequality in society, which further leads to the reinforcement of gender norms and also creates a wage gap amongst genders. Recently, I came across the Meezan cooking oil advertisement on the television; this happens to be a brand from Pakistan (Creative Ads 2018). In the commercial, the husband asks his wife to cook food for him, and she goes to the kitchen where her young daughter follows her and helps her with cooking. Mom and daughter are cooking whereas the son and father are playing board games. The assigned gender roles can be noticed in this advertisement. The advertisement portrays men demanding women to cook and that they belong to the kitchen. Patriarchy keeps reproducing in society through media and other sources.
General society is viewed as patriarchal when it is male-ruled, male-focused, and dominantly lead by the male. Being a male-ruled culture implies that places of intensity and expert in the political, economic, lawful, religious, and military circles are generally held just for men. Male-recognizable proof implies that a culture’s ‘typical’ method for a living depends on men and their lives. Male-strength implies that the way of life has been formed by men in a way that for the most part serves male interests. Male-centric social orders are male-recognized because their center goals concerning what is ethically right is associated with how they think about masculinity.
Patriarchal societies tend to increase the inequality amongst genders. In some societies not only do men feel that women are inferior to them but they also tend to have the same notion of transgenders. Patriarchy can be seen being practiced at both micro and macro levels; from small-scale social structures such as families to the large-scale social structures as educational and governmental institutions. The intensity of patriarchy seems to vary from culture to culture and depending on the intensity; different problems can be caused within different cultures due to male-dominance.
As I was raised in Pakistan, I can see how the male-dominance has been practiced within my family, and it did change a bit when we moved to Canada. Perhaps, because even though patriarchy exists in Canada, yet it is not as intense as it is in Pakistan. For example, at times, I can certainly feel how my parents subconsciously, assign a job to my siblings and me within the household while keeping assigned gender roles in mind. For instance, my mother always asks my sister or me to help her with cooking, or with other house chores. Not once, does she ever asks my brothers for help.
Being raised in an environment, where males of the family write female’s fate; be it their father, brother or husband. Back home, occasionally, I was told by my father and uncles about how I should dress and should wear ‘appropriate’ clothes, or at times cover my head before leaving the house. From my personal experience, I can think about so many other instances where women are not treated as humans, let alone being treated equally as men. In South-Asian countries an increase in acid attacks, honour killings are noticed; as men tend to think they have the right to kill or attack a woman if she does something against their will. Nasreen Akhter and Daniel A. Metraux in their article talk about gender inequality in Pakistan; how women are harassed at education institutes and at workplaces (Akhter and Metraux 2013, 91). They also talk about how most of these women are forced to remain silent when harassed or assaulted, as they think opening up about such issues will defame their family (Akhter and Metraux 2013). At times the right to education, the right to decide whom they want to marry is also taken away from girls. These issues have become very common in some cultures due to male dominance in the society (Akhter and Metraux 2013).
Other than women, in some societies patriarchy can also cause gender inequality in the lives of transgenders. Often, videos are circulating on the internet that shows the battering of transgenders by male members of the society. Because of the disputable nature and conservative mentality of individuals, the subject of Transgender rights in Pakistan is not examined in sophisticated circles (Akhter 2016). There is no proper aid from the governments to help them lead a healthy lifestyle, in most cases, the government officials harass transgenders, they get kicked out from their homes, educational institutions do not enroll them as they think they do not ‘fit in’. Later, when they do not have any other option through which they can earn money, they are left with begging on streets and turning towards prostitution.
Moving to Canada did change my family’s perspectives on certain things regarding gender roles and norms. My brothers, who were utterly dependent on my mom regarding cooking, cleaning, and doing their laundry are now becoming more independent. They also seem to realize that there is nothing wrong with doing regular house chores. However, looking from a macro-scale, patriarchy can be observed in North America. People tend to assume that due to the arising of the feminist movements, patriarchy no longer exists in North America. If patriarchy does not exist, then why are movements against sexual violence such as MeToo are coming forward? Why are women protesting about the gender pay gap? To this day, women are sexually assaulted or harassed at workplaces on a daily basis, and to this day they are struggling to get equal pay as men.
According to an article on BBC News, women earn about 80% as men on average in the United States, and this gap is more extensive for Black and Hispanic women (Sherman 2018). The gender wage gap remains as a contributing factor towards women’s poverty. The marital status affects the employment of men and women differently (Moyser 2017). “Given traditional gender roles, which emphasize breadwinning for men and housework and childcare for women, marriage has corresponded to increased employment for men and decreased employment for women” (Moyser 2017). Moyser also states in her article that in the year 2015, women earned 87 cents an hour for every dollar made by men ( Moyser 2017). Pay gaps amongst genders persist due to several reasons. Mostly, due to the given traditional roles; women take leave from work to raise the baby or to do housework, whereas it is breadwinning for men. On other instances, in households where women tend to earn more than men often leads to divorce (Lundberg, Pollak, and Stearns 2016, 91). As this theme violates the norm of the husband not being the breadwinner (Lundberg, Pollak, and Stearns 2016, 91). Therefore, patriarchy exists in Canada, mainly at larger-scale institutions but also at a micro-level.
In conclusion, it is crucial for societies around the world to understand the inequalities amongst genders which are caused mainly due to patriarchy. Many women and transgenders suffer because of this, and their voice goes unheard. In order for the society to function effectively, it is important to treat all genders with the same respect and dignity.