Gender Inequality and Double Standards

By Michael Udom

Kennedy-Glans, D. (2017). The sexist language of politics: Both men and women need to change. CBC News.

How can female politicians hold power without weaponizing sex or collapsing into victimhood?  Donna Kennedy-Glans, for CBC News

Donna Kennedy-Glans, a former Progressive Conservative MLA talks about the politics of language and how female politicians use every opportunity to play the victim when their style is being criticized. She believes that since there is zero tolerance for gendered criticism against women, there should be no tolerance for gendered criticism against men as well. Although men and women (including herself) face criticism in politics a lot especially based on gender. The criticism was usually structured in a way that undermines their ability to function as a leader. She uses multiple examples to illustrate this, including various examples from the male side while comparing both.

Although she believes women in politics weaponize their sex, feeding off of every critique while calling out men by using sexist language. This creates a double standard. She uses an example that a man would not get away with calling a woman barren, but Jason Kenney was told by a woman that he can't speak on an issue because he doesn't have children and got away with it. The #MeToo movement has made it nearly impossible to criticize a female politician on any ground that relates to emotions, gender, style of leadership, but it seems okay to use that for men.


Bindel, J. (2017). Salma Hayek is right: compared with women, men are lazy and entitled. The Guardian.

Despite decades of feminism, the sexes are still profoundly unequal, in everything from appearance to pay, housework to childcare. - Julie Bindel

Julie Bindel, founder of 'Justice for Women' is a political activist and freelance journalist who talks the feeling of entitlement men have and how she agrees with the actor, Salma Hayek that men do less and get more in return. She argues that in addition to the facts that women already feel pressure to do well, they have to worry about their male counterparts who tend to be more relaxed about things and get away with less effort. When it comes to household chores, women are not given praise for doing it because it is seen as a norm and is expected. Males who choose to be stay-home dads are idolized for their "selflessness". She explains that males are more likely to get promotions in the workplace and receive more pay than women in equal positions and with an equal workload. In conclusion, she believes that even after decades of feminism, feminists still have a lot of work to do in closing the gap. This piece is important to my topic as it gives an example of how profound inequality is in the society.



Amphlett, J. (2017). Sexism, harassment & double standards in 2017. The Sentinel.

Why are men portrayed as predators and women as victims, asks Jenny Amphlett

Jenny Amphlett, talks about the double standards in the society when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment cases. In a similar scenario, women can openly make sexual remarks targetted at men and it will be overlooked, but if a man did that, it will become a big issue. The idea of a man even being sexually harassed by a woman is not one that people often consider. The slightest sexual joke made publically by a man about a woman would not be condoned but sexual and risque jokes about males have become commonplace. She makes sure to distinguish between what is criminal behavior and what is not (but people just get offended by). She believes that a lot of these incidences depend on the context in which it is interpreted. 

We live in a world where people are easily offended and actions are often misread. People deal with issues emotionally rather than logically in most cases and this always creates bias.




Remember how we were brought up as kids, the birthday gifts we received and common phrases our parents or guardians would say to us. Do you remember being told as a male child to “look after your sister or sisters”, “be the man of the house”, or to say “ladies first”. The young girls were usually told, “Act like a lady”, “be kind” and so on. We have faced expectations, norms and standards that have been tailored into the society. Males and females always experienced double standards for the most part of their everyday life. And this has created expectations and social standards for adults. These expectations have led to double standards and gender inequality today.

Imagine the feeling that comes with being treated differently because of your gender, not given the same freedom or opportunities as the opposite sex. Have you ever felt cheated because of your gender? Have you ever faced gendered criticism? Or have you ever faced any type of criticism and just assumed that it was because of your gender and then used that gender as a weapon to play the victim?

Donna Kennedy-Glans highlights the double standards that exists in politics today and how some female politicians use their gender as a weapon to play victim whenever they face criticism for their style. She says, “it is nearly impossible to criticize a female politician’s style today”. Donna acknowledges that women have faced a lot of gendered criticism but she believes that the male counterparts have it worse.

We have seen many politicians have their style criticized because of their gender. I agree with Donna because, so often we hear things like “of course he would not understand since he does not have children” or “what does a single man know about raising a family anyway?”. These are common but think about the backlash a man would face if he says a female politician is “too emotional” or “barren”. Just thinking about what that man would go through from the moment he says those words sends chills down my spine.

You are about to learn how it got to this point and what was the driving catalyst?. Does history show that it is just mere karma? Stay tuned to find out the surprising way this has shaped modern politics.


Simon, L. (2017). 'I'm just a mom': Mothers suffer lack of pride as their work remains undervalued. CBC News.

In this article, Libby Simon looks at the extent of progress made in the fight for gender equality since the December 18, 1979, United Nations treaty. This treaty called for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Using various statistical data, Libby Simon argues that women spend a significantly larger amount of time than men in unpaid jobs and are still undervalued in the society. She points to the economic double standards for men and women and how women are expected to handle "Mothering", which is viewed as a secondary role. This article is important to my topic because it shows yet another section of the society where inequality among genders exists.

Strong W. (2017). Calling more women: Nunavut's 1st woman premier says equal representation a work in progress. CBC News.

In this opinion piece, Walter Strong talks about Eva Aariak's call for women to play more active roles in politics. Eva Aariak is Nunavut's 1st woman premier and was the only woman elected by her colleagues that year. The argument made in this piece was that women need to start stepping forward in politics even though it is an attempt just to raise the number of female representatives/candidates. Young women would need people to look up to as role model to gain that will and confidence that they can take part in politics and this would be a step in the right direction to balance gender in politics. This piece is important to my topic because it proposes a solution to inequality.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, P. (2015). It’s Time to Step It Up for Gender Equality. Our World.

In this piece, Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director reflects on the last twenty years from March 8, 2017 (International Women's day). Twenty years ago, there was a historic Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing that looked at ways to improve the state of gender inequality. She uses numerous statistical data to make an argument that although there has been a slight improvement to the state of things, it is moving at a very slow pace and would take a very long time to achieve the expected goal. This is an important article to my topic because it shows that although steps are being taken to achieve equality, there are very slow steps and need to be faster.

Kittilson, M. (2016). Gender and Political Behavior. Oxford Research Encyclopedia Of Politics.

In this article, Mikki Caul Kittilson from the department of Political Science in Arixona State University, explores the different political behaviours of Men and women especially in the party they support and the degree of involvement and how it has changed over the years. Today, it has been observed that although there is a significant inequality in political involvement between men and women, it has greatly improved in recent decades. She believes that gender inequality is most pevalent in cases where active electorial participation is required and if this is improved and equality is achieved, the scope of politics would widen and the nature of the process would also the affected. This is an important and interesting article for my topic because is looks at the interactions within and between both genders and how their behaviours affect the inequality problem.

Facts and figures: Leadership and political participation. (2018). UN Women.

In this article, the UNwomen website looks at the statistics of the participation of women in leadership and political roles. It shows the statistical difference in participation between men and women and analyses the degree of this gap in different political positions and in different parts of the world. The website shows that the Nordic countries have the highest female participation with 41.7%  while Arab and Pacific countries both have the lowest with 17.4%. This is important to my topic because it backs up all the statement about inequality with numbers and statistics which paints a clearer picture.

Eltagouri, M. (2017). The history of transgender candidates in U.S. political electionsWashington Post.

Marwa Eltagouri, a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post looks at the new freedom transgender people have openly participate actively in politics. Before now, although transgender people have been elected into public office, they never used to be transparent enough to reveal it to their voters before or during elections as they were most likely to get blacklisted by the public. She argues that this new positive reception of transgender people in to public offices (which started getting better when Obama was elected as President in 2008) is a step in the right direction to improve political inclusiveness and allow a wider range of people to be represented. This article is very important to my topic because it goes beyond the two general genders being male and female and shows that there are more than two sides to gender.

Stockemer, D. (2017). The Proportion of Women in Legislatures and Cabinets: What is the Empirical Link?. Polity49(3), 434-460.

Stockemer writes about the participation and representation of women in the Legislature and Cabinets (which he claims is usually ignored). The representation of women in politics have usually been focused on the Legislative arm of the government whereas the improving the women's representation in the Cabinet is equally as important if not more important. Stockemer argues that the system of government has an effect on the degree to which women are represented. He also claims that women's representation in both Legislature and Cabinet are connected. This article is important to my topic points to a usually neglected side of government where we need more women representation.

Ghosh, S. (2017). Women in National Parliaments: An Overview. Journal Of Politics And Governance6(1), 5.

This article looks at the progress made in the amount of women that are members of the parliament between 1995 and 2015. there has been a significant increase in the participation of women in the parliament although this varies greatly depending on the region. Ghosh focusing on India believes that women are greatly excluded from political participation, especially at the national and state level. He thinks that improving the level of women participation to a set target of 30 percent would be a great step in the right direction and would benefit the country as a whole. This article is important to my topic because it looks into another country (India and compares it to the rest of the world showing that different regions have made different progress in the race for equality.

Ashe, J. (2017). Women's Legislative Underrepresentation: Enough Come Forward, (Still) Too Few Chosen. Canadian Journal Of Political Science50(02), 597-613.

This article by Ashe looks at the extent to which women are selected for elections and elected to win. Although there are a lot of female political aspirants out there, we only a few of them run for elections and participate actively in politics. Ashe argues that it is not because women do not make the effort to become active, she believes that the fault is with the political parties and their bias in selecting candidates for elections. She believes that there is a very low demand for female candidates in parties and this is the root cause as voters end up not having enough female choices to begin with so the results will always be skewed. This article looks are the problem from a very different perspective that although women try to take part in politics, there are not given equal opportunities as men to do so.

Erikson, J., & Josefsson, C. (2018). The legislature as a gendered workplace: Exploring members of parliament’s experiences of working in the Swedish parliament. International Political Science Review, 019251211773595.

In this article, the amount of freedom given to both men and women  members of the parliament were compared. The Swedish parliament where women have held over 40 percent of the seats in the nation's parliament. Erikson and Josefsson argue that althogh this a good country to use as men and women have participate to a similar extent, women are face with much greater pressure, worse treatment and pay a greater cost when engaging in politics. This article is important because it shows that even in a case where men and women participate to a similar degree, women tend to face more pressure.

Devroe, R. & Wauters, B. (2017). Political gender stereotypes in Flanders (Belgium): competent men versus leftist women? Ghent University, Belgium.

This article looks to examine the reason why women are underrepresented in politics as a whole. The voters are seen as the main culprit in this stereotypical pattern and Belgium used as the country of interest. They argue that if voters were better informed or took more time to get to know all the candidates, the results would be different. They believe that although voters tend  see women to be more leftist and suitable for like roles, that assumption does not hold and is not backed up with proof. Voters typically adopt political stereotypes and run with it thereby making it persistent. This article is also very important because it provides yet another perspective from which to look at the issue of gender inequality in politics.