Dear Mr./Mrs. President,
I am writing this letter to address the growing issue of of prejudice in our country. I, a 15 year old tenth grader who attends public school in Michigan, am deeply affected by this issue and wish politicians like yourself could help alleviate these injustices. It is common knowledge that prejudice is an preconceived opinion that is not based on actual experience or reason. In addition, prejudice is usually a negative attitude that is based on an individual’s social group. There are many social groups that are affected by prejudice. I want to focus concretely on prejudice against women, also known as sexism. Sexism is a recurring problem in our country that has numerous negative effects. This stereotyping of women in our culture is seen everywhere, such as in the media, at work, and even throughout the school systems. But structural functionalists would probably object that the division of gender as well as gender lines are seen as ‘functional’ in the sense that it contributes to order and stability in our society. On one hand, I agree with structural functionalists that gender socialization may create order, but on the other hand, I still insist that this sexist way of life formulates outnumbering negative effects in our country and therefore needs to be managed. The eradication of sexism needs to be enforced in our country because sexism creates disadvantages towards women in the workplace, it allows the development of negative emotions in young girls and women, and it impacts the self-perception of men.
First, the eradication of sexism needs to be enforced because sexism disenfranchises certain job industries. Women are often oriented with certain jobs as well as within certain job industries. These job industries are particularly known to be more “feminine.” A few examples of “feminine” jobs include secretaries, dental hygienists, kindergarten and preschool teachers, nurses, and receptionists. With this feminine standard set for women in the workforce, their opportunities to obtain the jobs that a male would normally obtain are limited. These limitations include positions such as a surgeon, mechanic, engineer, and other technology related jobs. These limitations should not be set on women, simply because they are women. Unfortunately, it is common to see a woman turned down the chance to work in a particular position because of gender. Even worse, many women are turned down a job position because a male is picked in place of them. Some people may object and say that women are easily accepted into men dominated fields, but a recent study shows that, “Even when controlling for industry, occupation, age, education, experience, experience, tenure, and whether workers are full or part time, women are 2.9 percentage points less likely to get a promotion than men” (Covert). This is morally, and in some cases legally wrong because women have an equal capability of fulfilling these positions. When a female applies for a job, they should be treated, and looked at in the same way as a male. This problem could be managed if you, the president, could direct all large companies to give their employees the knowledge about this issue of sexism. This could positively affect the way people are hired, so they are not looked at based on gender alone. Sexism is widely seen throughout the technology industry as well. A recent article published about sexism in the Tech Industry shows the rising problem in Silicon Valley. A short excerpt from The Los Angeles Times reads, “The number of women studying computer science is shrinking and at many tech companies, only a tiny fraction of the engineers - 2% to 4% in some cases - are women” (Sexism a Problem in Silicon Valley, Critics Say). With as many women living in our country, you, as the president, should be aware that this is a problem of growing concern. With that said, the number of women entering the technology industry should not be as small as it is. Unfortunately for our country, sexism is creating a job barrier that women are afraid to cross. I believe that there should not be any barriers that limit women from pursuing the job that they wish to obtain. Women should not be disenfranchised from the technology industry, or any industry based on gender alone. Sexism needs to end in our country because, as time goes on, it will only get worse in the workforce. And even on a larger scale, sexism is present as “even the most progressive technology companies have come under fire for not having women in leadership positions” (Sexism a Problem in Silicon Valley, Critics Say). I wish you would recognize that sexism should not be a problem affecting those who wish to work in our country. Our country relies on workers, as it has since we founded this nation. Our country continues to advance, as it has for years. My question to you is, why can’t we improve our workforce by eliminating sexism and the sexist barriers that it creates within the job market?
In addition, the eradication of sexism needs to be enforced because it not only disenfranchises job industries, but it also allows the development of negative emotions that affect the mental and physical health of young girls and women. Many women take sexist remarks personally, which then leads them into unstable mental and physical conditions. Specifically, when women are degraded, their self esteem lowers. Women of any age should not have to worry about being used as a sexist “playground,” which is defined by the remarks made towards them that play with their minds. When women are violated through sexism, they generally become “more fearful and anxious” on a daily basis (Valenti). Women should not have to live in fear and anxiety. In an article explaining the mental and physical effects of sexism on women, researchers stated that sexist experiences:
“lead to a host of negative consequences for the mental and physical health and well-being of girls. In schools, young women and girls who are targets of sexism and sexist violence may lose self-esteem and feel ashamed and unsure of themselves. They may feel powerless, afraid and angry, yet may internalize the anger having been taught that the emotion is unfeminine” (Sexism and Violence Against Girls and Women).
These feelings of being powerless, fearful, and ashamed are not the kinds of emotions that women should live with. Young girls and women should not have to deal with such emotions as feeling powerless. Instead, they should rather be feeling joyful, strong, buoyant, and beaming with positive emotions. Our country should offer safe environments for women to develop and become great contributors to our society. That would require a society free of sexism. If we eliminate sexism from this country, emotional and physical problems that are associated with sexism, such as women even feeling chronically ill, will be reduced to more manageable levels as well. We want to promote happiness in this country, not fear and anxiety that a sexist comment will affect their well-being.
Lastly, the eradication of sexism needs to be enforced because it negatively impacts the ability of men to form collaborative relationships with women. Although it may seem like sexism has only downfalls for women, that is not the case at all. Sexism towards women negatively affects the self-perception of men, which means that men will shape and determine their own attitudes based on the actions that they perform. This, in result, makes it almost impossible for many men to collaborate with women when they already have this implied self-perception. An article written by Business Insider, claims that for sexism to ever end in the workplace, it is required “that authority figures of all genders be aware, empathetic, and active about keeping really subtle discrimination out of the workplace” (Ferro). If a male’s self-perception is negatively affected by sexism, then there is a slim chance that sexism will ever go away, because most authority figures in the workplace are men, and they will be unwilling to admit that there is a problem. This will occur because they are trying to defend their own identities in a male-dominant society. And in this case, men would not be able to form collaborative relationships with women because they are blinded by their own sexist attitude, and often think about themselves in a higher manner. It is essential that prejudice against women needs to end because whether we want to admit it or not, both genders are affected in a negative way. Men and women need to be able to work together in this country. The conversation on this issue needs to continue until it is resolved. This country needs you to give awareness to men that sexism is not okay, and that sexism is not the norm. It is wrong that in our country we have a problem so large as sexism, which affects both men and women, but yet continues to take place.
In conclusion, I pour my heart into this letter, pleading to you, Mr./Mrs. President, that you can do something about this recurring issue that our country is facing. I ask you to consider the points that I mentioned throughout this letter with the intention to end sexism in our country. The eradication of sexism needs to be enforced because sexism creates disadvantages in the workplace, it produces negative emotions of young girls and women, and it negatively impacts the self-perception of men. I will forever be in awe at how men and women were created to unite and to work together but our country still has this problem of sexism that further separates gender every day.
Covert, Bryce. "Women With The Same Qualifications As Men Get Passed Over For Promotion." Thinkprocess.org. N.p., 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Ferro, Shane. "The Problem With Women In The Workplace Is Men." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
Guynn, Jessica. "Sexism a Problem in Silicon Valley, Critics Say." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 2013. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
"Sexism and Violence Against Girls and Women." Safe, Strong and Free. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
Valenti, Jessica. "Sexism Is Making Women Sick | Jessica Valenti." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.