Discrimination denies women their individuality. With virtually no limitations placed upon them, men are able to take up any course in life they choose. Women, however, cannot do so. Instead, they perceive from an early age that their individual potential is limited and that their choices have been narrowly defined to a specific set of approved occupations. The results of these forms of discrimination are obvious, they allow men to maintain control over their own opportunities and guarantee their continued place within society’s power structure.
Social approval had long been given for men to abuse women who were seen to be stepping out of their social place. All of these behaviors can be seen as acts of discrimination against women because they have categorically denied them the chances to develop into their individual selves. Societies have chosen to give men greater levels of responsibility, education, employment, and power upon the basis that they are men, at the expense of women. Rather than giving both genders access to the institutions and infrastructure of society, we have allowed more than half of us to live a segregated life.
These types of discrimination seem to serve the operation of society where clearly defined roles and expectations are of importance. What these forms of discrimination achieve is the maintaining of men within their positions of power. Whether based upon biblical reference which places the woman in a subjugated role or on physical strength or even on perceived mental / emotional capability, the effects of discrimination against women have been horrible. The true tragedy of discrimination against women, or anyone for that matter, is that the total effect is to place artificial barriers along their life’s path.
Being denied a job because you don’t have the required skills is acceptable discrimination. But, being denied a job because you happen to be a woman is unacceptable discrimination. Men are given the opportunity to define themselves on the basis of their occupation and personal achievements. Women, on the other hand, are forced to define themselves as attachments to their husbands and families. Although some of the worst employment discrimination was eliminated by the Civil Rights Act in 1964, many women continue to undergo unfair and unlawful discrimination in the workplace.
Even though women have come a long way, they are still being discriminated against in certain fields of work. High-end jobs, most commonly large companies and medical fields, continue to discriminate against women even though they have the same job qualifications as men. On International Women’s Day, we pose the big question: how far have women come? Recent statistics demonstrate that despite an increase in women’s income, the number of women completing post-secondary education and the number of women finding full-time employment, there is still a visible disparity in income and workplace presence between the two genders in the U.
S. The fact that women continue to face all these inequalities regardless of the progress that has been achieved in the past few decades, means that employers and companies need to undertake long-term initiatives to ensure that there is equality in both employment opportunities and income between their male and female employees. This needs to be executed through implementing quotas, creating campaigns and programs that increase awareness and promotion of equality in the workplace, and to establish programs that support women who return from maternity or child care, and to raise awareness of the option of paternal leaves.
Companies also need to establish preparation programs for women who are returning from maternity or child care leaves so that they can be quickly integrated into their work without feeling at a disadvantage due to their break from work. Another option pertaining to pregnancy and child care is that of paternity leave. Paternity leaves are protected by The Family and Medical Leave Act as much as maternity leaves are protected by the U. S.
Pregnancy discrimination Act and should therefore be promoted in the workplace to encourage men to share the drawback of being absent from work due to matters pertaining to family, such as adoption or a child’s birth. Women have made significant strides in the workplace in the U. S. with statistics demonstrating a steady climb in women’s pay, employment in highly esteemed positions, and full-time employment. However, the increases are occurring at a very slow rate, and do not reflect the rapid increase of educated women in the U.
S. Employers need to develop long-term plans to ensure equality in both income and opportunities between female and male employees. Quotas for women in the workplace have already been enforced in several European states including France, Italy, and the Netherlands, with the European Union now considering enforcing mandatory quotas for all member states. Quotas raise a few issues of their own, one of them being that they could unjustly eliminate qualified employees from positions for the purpose of fulfilling a mandatory quota.
However, the representation of women in the Fortune 500 boards is increasing at a glacial rate, climbing from 12. 4% in 2001 to 16. 1% in 2011; an increase that comprises less than 4%. Quotas are necessary in institutions and companies where equality has persistently lacked, as it presents the opportunity for qualified women to be a part of the most influential groups in their companies. The Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963 to eliminate income disparities in the workplace that form due to discrimination. Since then, income equality between men and women has grown at an extremely slow rate.
In 1963, when the act was signed, women’s dollar earnings were 58. 9% of what men were receiving, and by 2010 – 47 years after the act was signed – women’s dollar earnings had increased a meager 18. 5 per cent to 77. 4% of men’s dollar earnings. In order to fix these persistent issues, businesses need to create programs and campaigns geared to raising awareness of income disparities, employment inequalities and the unconscious bias that revolves around women in advanced positions, and to consequently eliminate them.
Women’s enrollment in degree-granting institutions and at levels of education and at varying ages has increased at a steadily growing rate in the U. S in the past century. In 1989, the total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions for women was 7,348,545, a decade later in fall of 1999 the rate of enrollment for women had increased to 8,300,578, and another decade later, in fall of 2009, enrollment for women had increased to 9,969,839. Women’s enrollment in education is currently at its highest in the U. S. with statistics showing that women’s total enrollment in degree-granting institutions has steadily increased over men’s total enrollment since 1979. Comparing enrollment levels of the two genders exposes a discrepancy that cannot be explained – why does employment and income inequality remain between the two genders, when women are completing post-secondary education at a higher rate than men?
There are many different ways in which women are discriminated against in the workplace. The exclusion of women altogether solely due to their gender is a now rare xample of how women are discriminated against. Although women have gained overall access to the workplace, sex discrimination still persists in additional ways. There multiple examples of potentially unlawful gender discrimination that women face. Hiring and firing are the first two problems women often face within the workplace. An example of this is woman applying for a job in which they have experience and excellent qualifications, but are not hired because some of the company’s clients are more comfortable dealing with men.
Woman often get told that they are laid off or fired due to company cutbacks and reorganization, even though a man in the same job with less seniority than the woman gets to keep the job. Since gender roles are learned at a young age, women and men find themselves fitting into where they should be in a family institution. In a family women hold most of the responsibility in keeping it together and the men are known to be the financial breadwinners of the family. Women take the role of the mother, the nurturer, the caretaker, the cook, the cleaner and the lover.
This is an overwhelming amount of work that she must take on, but in the long run the male takes the credit in his nature of supporting the entire family. Since we have these expectations of women and men, we underestimate the ability to try new things. For example, if a woman goes out to get a job, she will be segregated against because of her gender. And it is also assumed that men will not handle the household responsibilities as a woman. With this gender inequality in the family life, men and women are treated differently beyond their home.
Women are out of the house doing her part of the shopping and men are out working getting things done and getting paid for it. It is this aspect of getting paid for work that is over looked in the female perspective. Women do not get paid to hold the responsibility of the household; they receive the acknowledgment that she is doing what is taught of her. This is a gender inequality that affects mainly the women. This underestimation of women in the workforce, implies to society that she is out of place and is treated so in such an institution.
By reason of family impact on gender roles, gender inequality plays a big part in the workplace. These problems are the lead factors that separate the males from the females. Gender inequality is mainly noticed in the work place. These include sex segregation, differences in authority, and inequalities in promotions and pay. According to Reskin and Padavic, there are three dimensions involved in gender inequality: sexual division of labor, devaluation of jobs labeled as women s jobs , and social construction of gender on the job.
Many factors contribute to the inequality experienced by men and women, such as sex differences in preferences and productivity, cultural beliefs, men efforts and employers actions. Discrimination is tied in with gender inequality and is what causes problems in our workforce. Career discrimination in women is seen in the discouragement of entering certain fields of work, such as the sciences, mechanical, engineering, police and administration fields (Schmolling et al. 33). The term women s work is often thought less prestigious than jobs held by the opposite sex. This is a form of devaluation of female s jobs.
Women are hired into less desirable jobs and one a job becomes associated with women, it is devaluated in the organizational context ( Tomaskovic-devey, p. 24). Segregation not only depresses the wages of women; it circumscribes their goals, aspirations, and options (Stone p. 408). Many women tend to choose jobs labeled as women jobs such as teachers, nurses, social workers, or librarians, in order to succeed within their occupation. This puts down females in the workplace, due to the gender roles learned. Women were grown to be the more feminine, and men as masculine.
Due to this assumption that men and women are of different spectrums, it is believed that women cannot do what the men do and vice-versa, so acknowledgment when one does cross over shows in the lack of credit, one receives in trying to do the unexpected. It is found and researched that with the same amount of educational background, women hold less supervisor positions and receive lower pay for the same job as men; furthermore, women are receiving a mere sixty-nine percent of what a man makes at the same job, up to only 4. 6 since 1955 (Lauer, p. 275).
Furthermore, promotions are variable by sex and class: men have more promotions than women and more of them take place at the top of occupational hierarchies where women are less well represented (Walby, p. 25). Traditionally, a woman s gender role in society is of a homemaker; a man’s gender role is that of the financial breadwinner. Due to that role that is embedded into our society pertaining to males and female gender, women are the largest minority, due to these gender inequalities in the work force. By having this separation of the sexes through gender inequalities, we learn that it is a social problem that should be resolved.
Gender inequality is a social problem, and guidelines that can be followed to begin an elimination of this social problem. First of all there should be more child care center for working mothers, to help enable mothers to work and have their children taken care of at the same time. Secondly, establish family leaves laws, so a mother is not threatened with the fact of being accused of child neglect or endangerment. Thirdly, there must be changes in education so that women and men are not socialized into subservient or dominant gender roles.
Fourthly, affirmative action programs should be established in the workforce, so that government funds would be withheld from employers who do not comply with the guidelines. Fifth, establish comparable work with comparable pay, equal pay for equal work among men and women. Sixth, sexual harassment laws need to be enforced so that men are not dominating women because of their power. Finally, equal employment opportunities should be administered throughout the states to guarantee equal education and equal economic fairness among the different sexes.
Although these guidelines are farfetched, it gives society a foundation to start on the equalization of gender inequality. Since women tend to be the largest minority regarding gender equalities in the workforce as well as in the households, gender inequality will always be a social problem. It is a social problem that has changed somewhat in the past years, through women having some gain, there continues to be great gaps in equality in the workplace and in family institutions. Until these gaps are bridged, equal pay, promotionability, and recognition for equal work will remain a roadblock for most career-oriented women in society.
Besides the previous reasons stated, one of the most common problems for women in the workplace is being discriminated against due to pregnancy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated seeing a 65 percent increase in complaints about discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace between 1992 and 2007 (Chaney, 2008). Example of pregnancy discrimination are refusing to hire a pregnant woman, firing or demoting a pregnant women, denying a woman the same or similar job when she returns, or treating a pregnant employee differently than other temporarily disabled employees.
Many women get laid off and even fired from their jobs because they get pregnant. Often male bosses will give excuses for these situations saying that the woman is unable to do their job or that their missing attendance will be a problem due to their pregnancy. Some bosses simply give the reason that women will not be as interested in their job once the child is born, which is an outrageous assumption to make. Other bosses will give women an unpaid leave of absence and say they can go back to work after their pregnancy is over.
Although those women are given their jobs back, their pay is often reduced or their job title even changed (Earp, 2007). A survey that was published by the Equal Opportunities Commission in highlights the degree to which pregnant women and new mothers experienced discrimination in the workplace. Approximately half of the women surveyed who worked while pregnant stated they encountered some form of discrimination. 7 percent of the surveyed women were either fired or left their jobs due to pregnancy discrimination, and 45 percent of women who worked while pregnant stated they experienced changes in their job description (Parker, 2005).