Charlotte Brontë wrote in Jane Eyre, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” No visible net ensnares womankind. However, long have women been viewed and treated as unequal to their male counterparts. This inequality is alive everywhere. As displayed in Of Mice and Men, gender inequality is alive even in fiction. Gender equality has been an ongoing struggle in fiction and reality, our country and foreign countries, and in the past and the present.
Gender inequality effects the people of the entire world. For example, there are major issues involving gender in Egypt. In Egypt, there are the sparks of movements trying to introduce women into government without challenging the reigning Brotherhood. Another place that struggles with gender inequality is the U.S. where women representation in government is very low. Only 17 out of 100 senate seats are held by women. Even in the U.S., one of the most highly regarded nations in the world, women are not entirely equal.
Gender inequality has effected people all through time. In example, it wasn’t until the 1920’s that women could vote in the U.S. Women have long been considered less than their male counterparts. Only recently have women put a dent in the extreme patriarchy that has existed all through history. Today, women still are of unequal representation, pay, and rights across the globe. For example, in the U.S. today, there is an average pay gap of 77% (as of 2009). This means women earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar as pay for the same positions. This is one example of how inequality lingers in modern day first world countries.
Gender inequality is also existent in both reality and fiction. We have already given many examples of real cases and statistics including representation and wage gaps. However, there is also gender inequality in the fictional world. For example, in Of Mice and Men, Curly’s wife is a prime example of gender struggles. She is constantly being marginalized. Sheis viewed as a thing that would get Lennie in trouble instead of an actual person. Even her name is never spoken. She is referred to as “Curly’s wife” which reaffirms Curly’s ownership over her and her status as a possession or an object instead of a human being.
When her dead body is found, the first and only comment made of her death was along the lines of, “Poor boy.” Curly’s wife’s death was seen as nothing but something unfortunate for Lennie. This contributes to the pile of evidence that can conclude that Curly’s wife was considered a mere object. Through time, in foreign countries, and even in between pages, gender inequality has been a constant struggle. Charlotte Bronte wrote that she, a woman, is no bird. A woman, after having a net thrown on her and her fellows time and time again, must decide to declare that they are not a bird, but a human being. Human beings aren’t to be ensnared. It is said that the first step of fixing a problem is the recognition that it exists. So, women must understand that the net encompassing them is not a blanket, but a prison. Together, womankind must stand and declare, “We are not birds.” Hopefully, these examples of gender inequality is bringing more attention to the “net.” Hopefully, the realization will dawn that gender inequality is thriving among us and will not die out on its own. It has existed everywhere, always. A mighty effort is to be made to begin the reversal of this inequality and injustice.