Gender inequality is the most important issue society faces today. This is the unfair difference in the way people are treated based on their gender. There are many places where this injustice occurs. The most detrimental is where people spend a large portion of their time, which is the workplace. The workplace must not be viewed as only a traditional job, but also things such as being a wife or a mother. Society must improve gender equality in the workplace in order for all people to feel likely to succeed. Military wives are viewed as supporters, rather than equals who can also be successful. A group of authors elaborate on the issue, “the military wife has traditionally had an important and recognized role in military life, providing the necessary support and care that contributed towards the success of her husband’s career” (Rosen, Knudson and Fancher 327). All people, male or female, need not only to be treated the same, but viewed the same if society is going to grow. Women are put in a group that does not allow them to have a rewarding life without a husband.
This teaches young women that they need a man in their life to be successful. Which could lead to poor decisions or premature and failed marriages. Women who do attempt to be successful on their own are not given the credit they deserve for building a life on their own. This is proven in volume 16 of Gender, Work and Organization, “Women are typically viewed as ‘honorary men’ or ‘flawed women’ for attempting to participate in fields traditionally dominated by men” (Powell, Bagilhole and Dainty 412). Women who strive to have success in male dictated professions are not seen as strong people but rather weak women or women who act like men. These women are stronger than most for stepping outside the normal range of female jobs. If women find themselves resembling men more than usual to be successful, it will take away from the diversity of society. This can be corrected by accepting that anybody can perform his or her job just as well as anyone else. Women are not given equal opportunities to obtain employment positions for sexist reasons.
Maryn Oyoung shares her thoughts one the issue of discriminatory hiring, “Men and women should be allowed to compete freely and on an equal basis in the workplace; however, current laws do not promote this idea because they do not take into account the reality that women uniquely experience the physical side effects of pregnancy” (518). Due to the simple fact that men are physically incapable of going through the process of pregnancy, they have an advantage in the workplace as long as laws continue not to address the issue. This allows employers to discriminate against women because of the possibility of pregnancy. If women are forced to choose between a job and a family, they likely will choose family. Creating a less diverse group, which offers fewer opinions on important decisions. Most women who are able to have children are of crucial importance to the human race. Promoting the success of these women would encourage them to have children making our race more diverse and accepting. Along with the lack of equal opportunities, gender inequality in the workplace is shown through unequal pay based on gender. Browne explains the pay ratio between men and women for the same positions.
“In 2010 the female-to-male annual earnings ratio in the United States was 0.77, and in 2011 the weekly earnings ratio was 0.82” (786). Men are unrightfully being paid more for their contributions to a business than women. Even if those contributions are identical to those of women. This can discourage women from following their dreams because they will not be rewarded as much for their hard work. If businesses were to pay men and women equally, it would create a more diverse workplace, which is better for the people who work in them because it forces them to understand the issues of others. While men who express strength and leadership are looked upon as role models, women who display these traits are seen as rude or uncaring. “Professional women who are judged to be competent are frequently judged to lack warmth” (Gutek 338).
Strong women are treated badly because of the way they do their job; this encourages women not to be as tough. This double standard results in female leaders being too easy on their employees. This can cause them possibly to lose their job or lead an unsuccessful business. If people were judged solely on their performance, more strong female leaders would emerge. Women are raised in such a way that they do not see their own potential, which contributes to the ongoing inequality. “Over ninety percent of receptionists (92.5%), dieticians and nutritionists (92.6%), registered nurses (90.5%), and preschool and kindergarten teachers (97%) are female” (Browne 789). Women are taught from a young age that they have jobs they will perform and men have jobs they will do. The media and current generations constantly preach this idea. Creating an endless cycle of inequality. The most effective way to combat this would be to alter the way people approach teaching their children about the workplace. If this were to be accomplished, society would be a place where any person could do or be anything they desire without worrying about what others think because those others would feel the same way.
Young women are raised only to please men rather than build prosperous lives of their own. In “Girl,” Jamaica Kincaid offers a dialogue between a mother and her daughter. “This is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well” (385). Some women are raised only to please men, while men such as myself are never taught the importance of pleasing women at a young age. Rather, young men are taught how to be successful in the workplace. Since men are raised this way, they are instantly put at an advantage in their careers. If young boys and girls were raised in a more similar way, it would increase the equality in the workplace. This would allow all people to have the same opportunities, no matter their gender. Women are forced into jobs that turn them into objects rather than individuals. In “Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt,” Jean Kilbourne provides multiple examples of women be dehumanized through advertisement. “Men conquer and women ensnare, always with the essential aid of a product” (420).
The jobs of the women in provocative advertisements is only to excite men into looking at their advertisement. A consequence of this is that these men will hopefully notice what the advertisement was about and remember it because of the objectified women in the ad. In many cases, this is the only job available to these women because of the way they were raised. If more women were raised in a way that forced them to understand that they are just as valuable, if not more valuable as any man, they would expect that they will be allowed equal opportunities and would accept nothing less. This would force the advertisement community to take a different approach, which would cut back on the objectification of women. Gender is also the key difference when determining job success. “Research clearly indicates that women are disproportionately overrepresented in the lowest paying occupations and that the female sex composition of occupations is negatively related to median earnings” (Jaffee 377). Women are not allowed into higher paying jobs as often as men are.
Thus causing women to earn less on a yearly basis, which leads to a more stressful lifestyle. Equal job opportunities is the key to workplace equality. If a man had a female boss, he may realize that women are just as capable as men are. Then down the road, he may be in a position of power where he would then understand that he could feel confident hiring a woman. This workplace inequality affects women not only while they work, but also as they grow old. “For most women, attitudinal and structural factors in the workplace put them at a tremendous disadvantage and render them more vulnerable than men to hardship as they age” (Barnett 25). All the factors that contribute to gender inequality in the workplace cause a severe issue for women. As they grow old, they likely will earn less pension or retirement opportunities because of the sexism displayed in modern business. This again causes women to rely on men to support them. Making it very hard for strong women to thrive as they enter their older age. This does not only affect women though. It is a fact that on average, women live longer than men do.
If men are allowed to rely on the success of women, they could feel more confident as they age as well. People who rely on statistics can argue that gender discrimination in the workplace is not a choice, but rather a natural consequence that comes with the differences in the human body. “On average, women are five inches shorter, have 55 to 60 percent less upper body strength, a higher fat-to-muscle ratio, lower bone density, and 20 percent less aerobic capacity” (Summers 74). Men defending their decisions would argue that women are not allowed different opportunities because of the physical differences between women and men. This includes certain combat situations or construction where physical strength is vital. This is not reliable because of the countless jobs that are not influenced by physical strength. Women and men are being too generalized and not examined for specific strengths.
Speaking on The Department of Defense Combat Exclusion Policy, Chris and Jeannette Haynie state, “The policy institutionalizes the concept that all male Marines, based on gender alone, are capable of performing duties in the combat arms, while all female Marines similarly are not” (46). Assumptions are being made of men and women. The policy implies that all men are more capable in combat than any women are. This is an issue because it discourages women from contributing their skills and holds men to a high standard of having to be better than any women. Workplace gender inequality is the most important issue society faces. The unfair treatment leaves women forced to rely on others. This may cause women to question their choices, which leaves them at a disadvantage. If not all people are given the same opportunities, then the progress society has made will be for nothing. When it comes to gender inequality, it is all or nothing. There is no in-between where people are almost equal.
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Gutek, Barbara A. “How Women Continue To Be Disadvantaged In The Workplace.” Analyses Of Social Issues & Public Policy 10.1 (2010): 337-339. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
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Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl.” Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Ed. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. 9th Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martins. 2013. Print.
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Oyoung, Maryn. “Until Men Bear Children, Women Must Not Bear The Costs Of Reproductive Capacity: Accommodating Pregnancy In The Workplace To Achieve Equal Employment Opportunities.” Mcgeorge Law Review 44.2 (2013): 515-542. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.
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