Feminists have persistently fought for women’s rights and freedoms in search for equitable social, economic and political treatment with men. However, challenges in the social and economic contexts have not only hindered the realization of women’s self-actualization goals but have also impacted on their recognition and treatment as equal persons in every aspect to men. Crystal Eastman succeeds in her Essay, ‘“Now We Can Begin’: What’s next?’ which illustrates the intricacies inherent in social and economic environments where women are significantly disadvantaged through social and legal precepts.
These not only deprive women of equal rights with their male counterparts but are also inhibiting factors that prevent women from social and economic liberation. Women’s liberation must begin in the social context where men and women have equitable domestic and social responsibilities; hence, progressive liberation towards economic and political freedoms is significantly reinforced through existing social equity between the sexes.
The pre-existing social structures are the basis in which women’s subjection is premised; the precepts that a woman’s place is in the household raising children is among the fundamental excuses presented for the justification of women’s subjection. However, as Eastman points out, the enactment of the federal suffrage legislature does not symbolize the end of women’s struggle for equitable social, economic and political footing; but characterizes the basis in which women will seek liberation from social and economic subjection (Eastman).
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As such, it is evident that leadership plays a critical role towards this endeavor; more so, because a leaders dispensation towards women’s liberation may or may not further feminist agenda for equal social and economic rights. Therefore, social environments are the basis in which women’s liberation begins; for instance if a male leader subjects women in his household to servitude, such a leader cannot be expected to further feminist agenda for economic and political liberation of women.
Eastman observes in her essay, the liberation of women must begin with the women themselves on a personal level (Eastman). While emotional and psychological support is expected from men, dependence of such support can cripple a woman’s emotional or psychological independence. As such any attempt for liberation from dependence on men is derailed; however, women who depend on themselves or other likeminded women for emotional support have a high affinity for self-liberation. In light of this, a woman’s ability to support herself emotionally and socially without depending on a man is the beginning of her economic and political liberation.
The domestic environment is critical to the furtherance of feminist’s agenda; therefore, the domestic dispensation where shared responsibilities and duties are on an equitable basis is optimal for such purposes. Eastman argues that the increasing costs of living have led men to prefer women who are working, as such; they are able to make financial contributions in the household (Eastman). While financial contribution towards mitigating the increasing costs of living should afford equitable positions and responsibilities in the domestic environment; it does not often translate to equity and liberation in the household. In most cases, women are subjected to more duties and responsibilities in contrast to men who are averse to domestic responsibilities irrespective of their participation in their existence.
The perceived social and cultural obligations of women in the domestic environment have not only impacted women’s liberation in the social context, but have also impacted their treatment in economic contexts such as work places and business environments. Eastman demonstrates the prevalent situations where men and women have similar jobs or women have more tasking jobs, but when a couple goes home after work, the woman is expected to perform additional domestic duties while the man does nothing (Eastman). This depicts the accurate predisposition of a significant number of domestic environments; where women are designated to be solely responsible for execution of household duties and overseeing domestic functions.
It is evident that women’s subjection is attributable to social-cultural contexts; where traditional practices have subjected women to lowly considerations in societal matters. Since women’s subjection is primarily based on social contexts, Eastman argues that women will eventually liberate themselves wholly in the same context. Society cannot exist without women; therefore, the propagation of future generations depends on women (Eastman). As such, women have the capacity to change traditional precepts that have since subjected women to social and economic servitude through educating and sensitizing their children both male and female. Traditional practices have assumed the male child is not suited or has no capacity for domestic work; these attitudes are the basis in which male children develop subjective attitudes towards women.
However, as East man proposes education and training of children, more so, male children with the aim of bringing up “feminist sons” are necessary for the elimination of a culture that continues to subject women to servitude in one form or other (Eastman). This approach is necessary since the existing men are not easily convinced to assume roles which have traditionally been assumed as feminine roles. However, educating and training children to assume equitable roles in the domestic and social context will lead to the development of an equitable culture; where women and men have equal opportunities, roles and duties in social-economic contexts.
Women’s liberation must begin in the social context where men and women have equitable domestic and social responsibilities; hence, progressive liberation towards economic and political freedoms is significantly reinforced through existing social equity between the sexes. The success of the feminist agenda should not focus on economic tussles between men and women, but in revolutionary approach towards domestic and social contexts, which translate into economic and political equity between men and women.
Women’s liberation should begin with individual emotional or psychological liberation form dependence on men. Meanwhile, strategic approach towards domestic and social disparities will facilitate the desired change towards social equity. This is achieved through strategic initiatives such as education and training of male and female children with the aim of changing cultural precepts the subject women to servitude, more so, in domestic contexts.
The achievement of social equity will not only impact on economic equity; where women are awarded equal opportunities in the business and work environments, but will also pave the way for political equity where women and men have equal political opportunities and contributions.
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