Gender Inequality in the United States

“Inequality is not some accidental, hit or miss affair.  Rather the institutions of each society work together to maintain the group’s particular forms of inequality.  Customers, often venerated throughout history, both justify and maintain these arrangements. “
ociology, A Down-To-Earth Approach, Henslin, 2007

Inequality in Health Care

Did you know that women were twice as likely to die after a coronary bypass surgery?  Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that out of 2,300 coronary bypass patients, 4.6 percent of the women died as a result of the surgery compared to the 2.6 percent of men. 

Why is this?  Could it be that due to smaller arteries in women, could it be that women spent less time on the heart machines during surgery, or could it be that the doctors do not take chest pains of women seriously? 
Surprisingly, the last answer is true!  This uncovered a whole new problem in the medical field.  Physicians were ten times more likely to give men exercise stress tests and radioactive scans than women.  Doctors also sent men to surgery on the basis of abnormal stress tests but waited until women showed clear cut signs of heart problems, thus reducing their survival factor. 
Physicians need to become more in tune with women’s bodies if they are to break this barrier of neglect when it comes to issues of the heart.  With more and more women becoming doctors, maybe this will change. 
Sociology, Henslin, 2007


How we got to where we are today 

Before the 1920’s women could not vote, buy property in their own name, make any legal contracts, or serve on juries.    Women’s rights only came into light after a prolonged and bitter struggle.    Feminism is the view that biology is not destiny and that stratification by gender is wrong and should be resisted.    Men opposed the women’s rights movement for fear of losing their patriarchy status, their privileges of owning homes, running corporations, and basically their fear of being second to a woman and that woman should accept their status as morally correct, beneath man. 

The Waves of Feminism

1st wave,  1920’s; two branches, liberal and conservative.   The liberal branch wanted to reform all of society starting with the institutions.  The conservative branch fought to win the right for women to vote.  The conservative branch won, and soon thereafter the movement was dissolved. 

2nd wave, 1960’s; two branches; again, liberal and conservative.  The liberal side wanted women to harbor hostility towards men, while the conservative side favored traditional family roles.  Both sides claimed to vision the views and “real needs” of women as true representation of women’s rights.   

3rd wave, currently still emerging; three main aspects, each with its own liberal and conservative branches.  First was the greater focus on the problems that women face  in the Least Industrialized Nations; the second is the criticism of the values that dominate work and society, by replacing the “hard-nosed” male with calloused emotions and replacing it with cooperation, connection, openness, and interdependence.  The third aspect is still under development today and it is the removal of impediments to women’s love and sexual pleasures (Gilligan 2002).