The Declaration of Independence claims that all men are created equal. Yet, women were still unequal to men. In 1920, women gained the right to vote. Women, today, are now legally equal to men. Yet, women are still unequal to men, but how unequal are they, and why?

As it stands, though men and women are legally equal, they are not necessarily treated equally. Women only make about 80% of what men earn for full-time work. In terms of job diversity, women are more likely to work in fields such as teaching, childcare, and housework. Women are also given more encouragement to pursue opportunities and careers such as engineering, as is the case with many minorities. Men, on the other hand, are often assumed they will know where to go or do not need encouragement in doing it. The question is why are women still treated differently, even when, at least legally, they should be treated the same?

The first and most prominent aspect of this is biological difference between men and women. Gauging public opinion, the physical differences between men and women are the most commonly found reason for gender inequality. Because men and women objectively are different, it is very difficult to judge them to the same standards, and to expect the same from them. For instance, a woman can pursue a field that requires physical strength just as a man can, but eventually, there comes a point where even drive and initiative cannot fully account for the genetic differences between male and female.

However, there is also tradition, the fact that times have changed, but people were still raised in certain times, taught that one way of living was the acceptable way to live; by extension, deviations from the norm are looked down upon and avoided if possible. This is not to say people cannot control what they believe in, but rather that it is difficult to change when one’s opinion is all they have ever seen and known. For example, race relations and homophobia, two examples of discrimination and disrespect towards minorities, are furthered and supported by the powers of tradition. Gender inequality is very similar in this regard. On the similar but deviated note, there is a sense of extremist hypocrisy within this tradition. While women often advocate for breaking free from the oppressive aspects of tradition, they also will still maintain grasp of tradition that hinders the male gender. The most notable example of this is the time-tested rule of not being able to hit a woman. At a superficial level, this makes sense, but it treads into hypocritical likeness when a woman uses it to her advantage against a man.

The issue of gender inequality is complex and difficult, if impossible to solve, and general opinion is inconsistent on if gender equality can be accomplished. Those interviewed claimed that absolute inequality will never be possible because it implies a lack of difference, which is not true for women and men, on a multitude of levels. However, in areas such as job fields and diversity, equality can be met when mutual respect is achieved. When and until that day comes, inequality will be present in some form, but society mustn’t work against achieving equality either, as constant conflict results in equality being even more difficult to accomplish.