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Problems in Gender Inequality

Problems in Gender Inequality

Author: Zach Lamb

Recognize the connection between gender and sexual harassment, and the various types of sexual harassment that can occur.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain

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Hello. Welcome to Sociological Studies. In this lesson, we're primarily going to discuss sexual harassment, with an aside on feminism. Feminism, as you might recall from other tutorials-- feminism is a position that advocates for equality between men and women, or equality between the sexes. And there's another tutorial, called Feminism, that details feminism more thoroughly, as well as elaborates different variations of feminist theory. So I encourage you to watch that, if you'd like a more in-depth look at this idea of feminism.

But the focus of this tutorial will primarily be on sexual harassment. But one way that the sexes are not equal is with respect to the experience of sexual harassment. Females are disproportionately more sexually harassed than males. And sexual harassment includes, or is defined by, unwelcome advances in the form of gestures, words, or contact-- physical contact-- of a sexual nature. And as I said, women suffer from more sexual harassment than men.

And sexual harassment can be words; it can be unwarranted comments, unwarranted text messages, phone calls, or emails of a sexual nature. It can also be aggressive and unwanted physical contact-- if you were grabbed or groped, for example. And someone can also make lurid gestures that will make you uncomfortable, and it could be-- experience sexual harassment this way. But as we have moved towards greater gender equality-- the genders are increasingly on the same plane, in American society-- we've moved towards a greater recognition of a problem of sexual harassment in society.

And more acts that were previously unpunished, when gender was much more unequal-- more acts that were previously unpunished are now being recognized as sexual harassment and punished, on account of a greater gender equality. So for instance, we never used to have marital rape laws. A husband was not thought to be able to sexually harass or rape his wife. But now we do have those laws.

Sexual harassment has become more of a social problem, also, as women enter the public space and enter the workforce. Work outside the home has historically been the purview of males-- it's been a male-dominated sphere-- the public space. And the introduction of females into workspaces has caused sexual harassment to become a much more salient issue, as men are coming into contact with women in work settings. So now it is quite common, for instance, when you start a new job, to go through some form of sexual harassment training.

So we see, then, as women have advanced towards greater equality with men in American society-- a feminist ideal-- sexual harassment has become more of a social problem. The more unequal women are with men, the less likely that sexual harassment would have been recognized, acted upon, and corrected.

In this lesson, we discussed sexual harassment and briefly touched on feminism. Thank you for joining me. Have a great rest of your day.

Terms to Know

The advocacy for equal rights between men and women.

Sexual Harassment

Uninvited sexual advances in the form of words, gestures, or contact.