In the past century or so, many women have fought meticulously for equality among the genders in all aspects of life: social life, employment and careers. Why should a woman be less powerful than a man simply because their anatomy is different?
The commonly held view is that this transformation of traditional roles and an apparent shift in ideas revolving around power between genders is a relatively recent revelation. However, closer inspection provides a breadth of evidence to indicate that women have in fact held a position of power and control for many centuries, even during times when the public view of women was explicitly linked with oppression. Perhaps this power even stretches back to the ‘the beginning’ of humanity.
Let’s take for example Genesis from The Bible. Of course, Eve is made from one of Adam’s ribs and this develops a sense that she is perhaps subservient to him; however in reality this does not seem the case. We must take into consideration that it is Eve he brings about the downfall of humanity; negative connotations of the female gender? Yes. But let’s not forget that this exemplifies the power and influence Eve has of the situation.
Harriet Beecher Stowe argued that “…women’s influence is through the men -- changing the men’s mind in the private sector so the men would change something in the public sector.” This relates to men and women residing in different spheres: women in the domestic and men in the public. While this may seem a stereotypical and old fashioned idea (which it is in many respects), it is easy to see how even in this position women hold a sense of great control over men; they influence men morally - when they come home from a ‘hard day of work’ - therefore, essentially, influencing the world around them.
Now, our exploration of the power relations between women and men comes to the modern era. A specific example I would like to use is nightclubs, bars and any general night out. The drinks are flowing and it seems that, most nights, most lads will begin to get a little restless. It’s time to make a move on a girl. I stress that this isn’t always the case, but there does seem to be a common trend (first hand research and investigation was carried out of course) and this therefore, to put it simply, places the ball in the court of the woman. Should I? Shouldn’t I? A women’s decision here affects the outcome. Here we can witness ‘the power’.
To sum everything up, it is evident that as each year passes, the gap in equality between genders - particularly in the ‘public sphere’ - is becoming shorter and shorter, but in terms of power will it ever be equal? As I have presented, unbeknown to many, women have ruled the roost indirectly for many years and it is apparent that this sense of influence is becoming more direct as each day passes.
Edited by Luisa Parnell