The subject of women’s equality is one of the most consistent topics of debate in contemporary political discourse. While several people argue that a state has now been reached in which can be understood to experience an actually equal position within society, it is possible to claim that, when actually considered, such an argument amounts to hollow rhetoric and naivety. Indeed, it is paradoxically the case that women’s inequality can be demonstrated within situations in which it has long been assumed that actual equality has been achieved.

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To being with, many people assume that women now occupy an equal place within the military. Such people cite legislation which now means that women are capable of fighting on the front line and performing the same roles as their male co leagues. While this may be the case, it is not true that this has led to a situation of equality as studies clearly show that women with the military are subjected to assault. and gendered violence, something from which they receive little support. One study, conducted in 2008 showed that only 40% of the instances of rape in the armed forces were reported as those who suffered assaults saw no point in appealing for justice (Blechman, 2009). Likewise, a more recent study states clearly that judges in military courts tend to believe the aggressor over the victim (Larner, 2015). As such, while people may argue women have achieved legal equality, such equality means little in reality.

A similar claim can be made with regard to the sphere of everyday employment. Although it has long been illegal to actively discriminate against women, it is frequently the case that companies looking to make cuts and to reduce work loads will target women first. One study based in the UK made this clear when it showed how employment courts showed that women face discrimination based on the possibility of them taking maternity leave (Knight, 2001). While this is not technically illegal, as it can be qualified according to economic reason, it can still easily be considered an example of gender discrimination. As well as this, it, and similar trends around the world show that women are amongst the first individuals to suffer the economic effects of austerity measures and the rising level of precarity amongst workers around the word. As one recent author notes, the trend towards casual work contracts disproportionately affects women as it makes it easier for employers to refuse to re-hire individuals who may need to take periods of time off work, as well as removing legally required rights to holiday or sick pay (Benanov, 2015).

Finally, it is possible to consider the simple fact that women all over world encounter everyday street harassment and discrimination in a manner which is almost entirely unaffected by any changes in employment law or anti-discrimination legislation. The Every Day Sexism Project is an archive which allows women to record and share the experiences which they have as the result of gender, and contains thousands of stories of ubiquitous harassment and discrimination which show that discrimination is an fact off life for the majority of women (ESP, 2016.

In conclusion, therefore, while some argue that legal equality has now been achieved, it is clearly possible to argue that this fact has not guaranteed actual equality for many women. Indeed, it is even possible to argue that discrimination and inequality continues to be rife in areas and spheres of society in which it most often understood to have been eradicated. This fact is indisputable given the large degree of evidence available and should be taken to ensure that a naïve belief in the reality of women’s equality and is effectively challenged.

  • “The Everyday Sexism Project.” .2016. Web. 25Th September, 2016.
  • Benanov, Aaron. “Precarity Rising.” Viewpoint Magazine. N.p., 15 June 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.
  • Blechman, Barry M. “The Congressional Role in U.S. Military Policy.” Political Science Quarterly. 106 (1). 2008. 17-32.
  • Knight, K. G. “Gender Effects in British Unfair Dismissal Tribunal Hearings.” Indusrtrial and Labour Relations. 54 (4) 2001. : 816-834.
  • Larnder, Richard. “Senator: The US military’s sexual assault problem is worse than people realize” Business Insider. 2015. Web. 25Th September, 2016. .