What is discrimination? It is that anytime a distinction is made in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of an unfavorable opinion formed beforehand. We have all heard examples of such treatment, and most of us have experienced it ourselves. Unfortunately, most of it occurs in the very places that should be above it, beginning in school and continuing into the workplace.
In addition to age, gender is one of the universal dimensions on which status differences are based. Unlike sex, which is a biological concept, gender is a social construct specifying the socially and culturally prescribed roles that men and women are to follow.
Sex discrimination cases may be brought under the two different theories of disparate treatment and disparate impact.
A disparate treatment case involves an organizations policy, which treat similarly situated men and women differently. In a disparate impact case, an individual must show that the organizations policy has a disproportionate adverse impact on persons of one gender. The organization then has the burden of showing a business necessity for the rule.
There are 3 areas in which sexual discrimination rears its ugly head: Education; Job Field; and Society.
In education, Brown vs.
Board of Education brought about the idea that separate is not equal, yet we still have classrooms where the boys wrestle to control group work, dominate classroom discussion, and girls feel like they can’t keep up. However, gains are being made. Girls are slowly but steadily taking over in many areas. They are completing more high school courses than their male classmates in chemistry, algebra, biology, and geometry. They do lag behind in physics, but have risen even in trigonometry.
In the job field, women are entering into areas that were previously dominated by men.
As recently as the 1930s, 26 out of 48 states had laws prohibiting the employment of married women. Now, they are working much more. However, they have often found themselves rising at a far slower rate than males, or achieving at the same rate until they hit a certain point where they cant rise any higher.
Society says that boys and girls should play together. Then why is it that society gives different toys, clothes, examples, and expectations? In many ways, the way children are socialized can have a severe affect later on in their schooling. Generally, boys play with building sets or other similar toys when they are young.
This experience may give them an advantage in studies such as physics, while girls struggle to understand a concept that is unfamiliar to them.
Women have always had lower status than men, but the extent of the gap between the sexes varies across cultures and time (some arguing that it is inversely related to social evolution). In 1980, the United Nations summed up the burden of this inequality: Women, who comprise half the world’s population, do two thirds of the world’s work, earn one tenth of the world’s income and own one hundredth of the world’s property. In Leviticus, God told Moses that a man is worth 50 sheikels and a woman worth 30, approximately the contemporary salary differences of the sexes in the United States. This chart shows the stubborn pay gap that has persisted for over 45 years. It shows the womens pay is slowly increasing, while the mens seems to gradually decrease.
Do you think of yourself as a feminist or not? In a NORC 1996 General Social Survey, 12% of men and 29% of women responded yes. Interestingly, women in their fifties and seventy and older were most likely to identify themselves as feminists while those in their thirties and sixties were least likely to do so. Women with four or more years of college were about 40 percent more likely to think of themselves as feminists than those with less education.
Most of what I have spoken about so far was discrimination against women. However, men are discriminated against as well. Maybe not as much as women, or so it seems, but there is sometimes inequity found in divorce settlements, employment, and crime punishment.
In 1972, an organization was formed to help men who believe they are being attacked legally, politically, economically, .