By SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN, age 12
Have you ever heard someone say “You throw like a girl!”? A comment like this is called “sexist.” Sexism is when one gender thinks they have more power than the other or that they have certain roles in society. For example, girls are sometimes told that they can’t play sports as well as boys or that “women belong in a kitchen.” Sexism isn’t just aimed at girls though; boys are often taught not to behave in a way that would be considered “weak”, like crying because then they will look “girly.” So instead of being themselves they have to act “tough.”
Sexism in society
Although it’s now more common for men and women to share household duties, it’s often still mostly women who end up taking on these responsibilities. According to the idea of a “double burden” by Arlie Hochschild, a sociology professor at U.C. Berkeley, “Women take on the largest portion of the domestic obligations of the home, even when they are working full-time jobs.” This means that many women end up doing double the work: they work all day at their jobs, and then come home to continue working in the form of cooking, cleaning and helping their families.
Even though women do a lot of work inside and outside of the house, they still usually get paid less than men. According to The American Association of University Women, “Women are paid 77 percent of what men were paid” for the same type of job. In fact, the Real State of America Atlas (2011) states that “only single, childless women working in large cities earn on average as much as or more than men.”
Where does sexism come from?
Sexism encourages boys and men to believe that they should have power over girls and women, when the truth is that everyone should be equal. Many times this sexism is learned from parents. A seventh grade girl in my school noted that it’s her parents who treat her and her brothers differently, with different expectations. However, times are changing and so are gender roles and expectations. Parents need to catch up to their children and the growing conversation around gender equality.