You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
The position of women has changed a great deal in many societies over the past 50 years. But these societies cannot claim to have achieved gender equality.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Despite vast improvements in the position of women in society over the past half a century, we are still some way from achieving gender equality. Women who were around in the 1960s or 70s are surely struck by the significant improvements in the lives of women in the twenty-first century. However, they must also find familiar evidence of major inequalities.
Women in the West have made great headway in the fields of education and employment over the past 50 years. Women often out-achieve men educationally, and are entering occupations and professions that would once have been out of bounds. They often attain high positions within organisations and in some countries have even risen to the top of political power. Successful female entrepreneurs often appear in the media, perhaps leading some to conclude that women are now competing on a level playing field.
However, if we look more carefully we soon see that significant problems still exist. Women suffer inequalities in employment and have yet to achieve pay that is equal to that of men doing similar work. In addition, women are generally still responsible for child rearing and housework, creating a ‘double burden’ for those who work full time. Moreover, despite the success of some women in gaining positions of influence, these are the exception rather than the rule, and women are still outnumbered in positions of power. Finally, the dominant view of women in the media is not one of successful entrepreneur or public figure but of ‘s-x object’, a situation that has barely changed over the past 50 years.
Consequently, despite some very real gains. I feel that women of the previous century must see much that they recognise when observing the position of women in society today.