Historians Keisha N. Blain and Daina Ramey Berry Featured in Politico Article on the Biggest Problems Women Face TodayHistorians in the News
tags: gender, patriarchy, womens history, Womens History Month, Keisha Blain
Keisha N. Blain teaches history at the University of Pittsburgh and currently serves as president of the African American Intellectual History Society. She is author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (2018) and co-editor of several books, including To Turn The Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism (2019).
The biggest challenge facing women in the United States today is patriarchy. This is especially evident in the realm of politics. Regardless of a woman’s experience, education or abilities, the patriarchal nature of U.S. society fosters the perception that women are less qualified and less competent than men. What patriarchy has done is convince people that a strong and intelligent woman represents a problem; a disruption to the social order rather than an integral part of it. Biased media coverage of women politicians—stories that focus on women’s fashion and looks at the expense of their ideas on policy—underscores this point. It is therefore no coincidence that the U.S. is completely out of step with the rest of the world when it comes to electing a woman as president. While women have maintained the highest office of leadership in Liberia, India, the United Kingdom, Dominica and many other nations across the globe, the same cannot be said for the United States.
From a global perspective, one of the biggest challenges facing women is educational inequality. Despite the many gains of modern feminist movements in the Americas, Africa, Asia and beyond, many still believe that women are less worthy of the same educational opportunities afforded to men. While there is no denying that poverty, geography and other factors contribute to huge disparities in education, patriarchy justifies this denial of opportunity. It feeds the message that men should wield the power and women should occupy a subordinate position in all areas of society. This outdated, yet persistent, point of view fuels educational inequality and a host of other disparities along the lines of gender on national and international levels...
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