Tuesday, October 23, 2018

C2 Sample Essay 22 (Women's status)

Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English, make sure you read my earlier post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided on this blog. 

If you are not taking an exam but need ideas on the causes that have led to the change in women's status over the years, then read on and note down what you deem useful. If you intend to use this essay as part of an assignment, remember to paraphrase so as not to plagiarize.

The topic is similar to what candidates would expect in any other C2 level examination in that examiners want to see a well-organized, coherent and cohesive discussion of the issue with arguments, explanations and examples.  

For more sample essays and useful essay-writing posts, click on the image below.


The status of women over the last centuries has changed. What are the causes of this?

Due to socio-political upheavals, technological advances and scientific breakthroughs, history has recorded a number of changes in the way people perceive the role of men and women. Women’s status has especially been on the receiving end of such changes so it is with great pleasure that many have welcomed the move towards greater freedom and acquisition of rights for women that were long overdue. The causes behind the greater freedom and increased number of rights enjoyed by women in most parts of the world can be narrowed down to two.

The first determining factor that has enabled women to exercise greater freedom in their decisions is the constant battle led against legislative and conventional restrictions that limited women in a number of fields. Women had no right to vote, were barred from a considerable number of jobs or were frowned upon if they were engaged in jobs considered the preserve of men. Their existence was meant to be one where they would support men in their duties, provide heirs, raise their brood and see to household tasks. Although this in itself is in no way reprehensible, it did restrict those women who wanted to spread their wings and become involved in other sectors such as creative writing, politics, medicine or the law, to name a few. Women often published poetry or short stories under men’s names as few publishers bothered to read manuscripts written by women; women were officially barred from practicing medicine since the days of Henry VIII but continued to practice what they were taught from their elders without formal education and by the middle of the 19th century managed to create their own girls-only medical schools. The reason why today these are all things of the past is because certain women decided to speak out and do something about changing the status quo. Elizabeth Blackwell was rejected from 29 colleges before being admitted into medical school and graduating in 1849 as one of the first women to have obtained a degree in Medicine. Emmeline Pankhurst led the British suffragette movement in the late 19th century and paved the way for enfranchisement. Without these women, just two examples out of many, and the battles they waged to change things, the status of women would not be what it is today. 

A second reason for the change in the status of women over the last centuries has to do with the changing mentality of the times. This cannot be narrowed down to specific individuals but must be seen spherically as the fusion of historical facts and particular ideologies which brought about change. The Age of Enlightenment established the precepts of freedom, reason, tolerance and progress which gave rise to revolutions which in turn produced more lenient societies. The idea of discontent with established norms was what eventually led to the great changes in the way people viewed the world and gave rise to concepts such as individuality and otherness. The Second World War opened the doors so that women could take on typically male jobs. The Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s gave women greater freedom over their bodies and enabled them to express themselves more openly. Such a list of events offset by trending ideas which set the wheels of change in motion could go on indefinitely. The bottom line is that change in women’s position would not have be seen favorably, had a particular event in conjunction with a more liberal intellectualism not been present at a precise moment in time. 

All things considered, the combination of individual effort and historical circumstance is what has granted women more rights and greater freedom to pursue lives and careers they would not be able to enjoy in the past. The status of women is by no means what it was several centuries ago thanks to battles waged on many levels. However, the fact that a glass ceiling still exists and that many freedoms – viewed as standard in many countries – are unheard of in other parts of the world, shows we still have a long way to go before we can speak about true equality. 

Find more essay questions in the lists published here and here.  


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