To what extent are Ibsens words still true today? What can we, as UWC students, create a more egalitarian world? Provide real-life examples in your response.
A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view. – Henry Ibsen, 1878.
I believe that the quote and mindset given across with this quote is still highly relevant today, despite the work and emphasis in recent years to demolish this male-driven societal stereotype. It also seems to vary between certain countries, lacking especially in those with strong traditional values and beliefs – where women are given the maternal role of staying home and caring for the family and children, with men being the breadwinners. Because this has continued for so long in certain countries, this idea is constantly being reinforced to younger generations and continues as a cycle. This is bad enough itself due to the fact that women and young girls are not given the rights to express themselves as individuals – but it even has many other consequences, especially due to the gender disparity and inequality in LEDCS. For example, the rate of education for girls is much lower, so a high percentage are often illiterate making it difficult to find good work, and meaning that many of them do not even know their own rights; as well as the main reason for this being because either as girls they are simply valued less, or because they are often sold off in child marriage. Additionally, many women in society are provided less or no healthcare because of the stigma that men are higher up and deserve it more. These are only two points, yet they prove that our world is still not egalitarian, as even the basic human rights of women are being mistreated on a day to day basis, and as Ibsen mentioned that the laws [are] framed by men we see a bias in which their rights are tended to yet those are women are ignored. The statement in which Ibsen believes a woman cannot be herself follows this greatly as it shows that women are confined to a certain social idea or mold, and often are not presented the same opportunities as men to express themselves or take control of their own path. Additionally, men still continue to rule the political and economic world, with women continuing to earn less for men despite the same work. This proving that, like Ibsen said, society is exclusively masculine and rewards men for many more things.
As UWC students, I feel that we have the ability to change this ideology and create an egalitarian world in which women are given the same rights as men. Especially as an individual, and as a woman, I feel I am lucky enough to know my own rights – which many in the world do not. Therefore, I feel that one of the first steps is educating as many people as possible about this issue and why it needs to change. This is because, in order to make a difference, we can not work alone – but rather the change comes from everyone working together towards a common goal, and if everyone has a different perspective and conflicting views – this will not work. Therefore, it is vital to have an open-mindset, which is often told to us as UWC students, in order to understand our surroundings and those around us and be open to change and new ideas.
The biggest challenge would be targeting both extremely cultural and traditional societies and the older generations. This is because with traditional societies – they have continued in the way they live year after year, and have developed a societal norm that surrounds their core values and beliefs. Therefore, to go into such a tight society and ask them to change their ways or allow their daughters to stop doing housework but rather go to school and get an education – they might not even understand why it is necessary, to begin with, because they have only ever been exposed to this way of life, or maybe do not feel that what they are doing is wrong simply because it had been that engraved into their minds. Therefore, this is where change will happen slowly and gradually, as to implement methods would also mean to make it specific to their society and be flexible to their own perspectives. Secondly, when mentioning the older generation – even in well-developed countries such as in Singapore, they have very different views. Unlike our generation being millennials, we have been exposed to so many changes within our lifetime that fight for the rights of everyone, especially through the use of social media – although often adults have grown up in completely different society in which this was not such large issue. Therefore, they may not see the inequality between male and female to be surprising or to need desperate attention. In conclusion to these two points, I feel this goal is achievable, yet highly unlikely and will take a lot of time and effort due to the difficulty of targeting so many different perspectives and beliefs. Because in order to make this change
In conclusion to this, I feel this goal of reaching an egalitarian world is achievable, yet highly unlikely. In order to reach this, it will take a lot of time and effort due to the difficulty of targeting so many different perspectives and beliefs. And furthermore, it will require the help of everyone to make this happen.