One branch of social inequality that was always vibrant in my life was when it came to employment. As much as our society believes and fights for gender inequality and fairness, it is still an issue that has yet to be resolved or disappear. This being said, how come only the inequalities are heavily leaning towards the female gender? What opportunities or education are women being held back in?
One of the popular common environments with inequality is said to be that any job that is dominated by men. This sort of environment creates rife with frat boy nepotism where women are sometimes not taken as seriously. Frat boy nepotism in the sense that in this situation, males within themselves are given preferential treatment, favoritism based upon their relationship, their “manly relationship” for lack of a better word rather than an objective evaluation of ability. Another domain with employment inequality is the front lines. Some women aren’t allowed to fight on the front lines in some countries. Levels of inequality and issues arising from these have been the subject of much research.
Before engaging in this discussion of employment inequality, the origins must be understood. During earlier days, people were all sharing a common social standing but as the world evolved, society became more and more complex and the male gender was seen to be elevating higher than the female gender. Before modern days, men hunted while women stayed at home and took care of the housework. As societies evolved and things changed, the division of labour took place leading to job specialization and stratification. People began to value certain jobs more highly than others. Manual labors became the least respected members of society while those who engaged in “high culture,” such as art or music, became the most respected.
However, as society evolved, things changed and became more stratified. Women were put in the category of art and music and men in the manual labor category. Furthermore, art and music wasn’t and sometimes in this present time, isn’t as respected or highly valued as manual labor. Women are seen to be categorized with emotional, soft, sensitive, passive jobs and careers while men are seen to be categorized with “manly”, aggressive activities.
Moreover, this isn’t simply an out of the blue categorization; it starts in the family, in their early ages. “A relatively neglected factor is the role of stereotypes, reinforced by social and cultural norms, which underline certain expectations about gender. Consequently gender stereotypes reinforce social status and gender hierarchies: for example, surveys and experiments show that women are generally perceived as more “communal” and “loyal”, whereas men are described more as “protectors” and “competent”. Of course not everyone subscribes to these stereotypes, but there is evidence that men and women who behave in ways that contrast with these traditional stereotypes – such as career women or stay-at-home dads – are likely to be evaluated negatively by others. A lifetime of exposure to what women should be, how they should behave and who they should represent drives and reinforces unconscious and unseen biases.”
In simpler words, when a child is born, family and friends tend to the baby according to the gender. If it is a girl, they are offered girly toys such as a kitchen, dolls and their toys usually lean towards the color pink. On the other side, if it is a boy, they are offered play hammers, or labour toys and their toys lean towards the color blue. From this age, males and females have a socially constructed idea of what they should be doing and not doing or how they should act because of their gender. This crosses over in their education when choosing a major or a work field. Females will be drawn more towards careers involving feelings or more “feminine” per say such as nursing or teaching and males will be drawn towards careers such as engineering or joining the military, careers that seem too “unfit” for a female. One example of the unconscious bias is the way people view men in the society. They are seen as leaders, not women and if you are a mother, your chances of getting a job is greatly reduced due to stereotypes.
This separation lingers over and is mainly felt in the employment field. Seeing as females are to be with the “easier” jobs they are paid less than men who are said to be doing the “hardest” jobs. Some of these “easy” jobs are seen as being a nanny for example and some of these “hard” jobs are seen as being a corporate lawyer. Inequality is heavily felt in these sorts of domains due to the heavy domination of men in those fields. Women will be less likely to be seen in those departments due to social construction or due to the fact that it’s more of a “man’s” career and if they dare to enter, and here the word “dare” is used mainly to emphasize the importance of the act, they are still not seen or paid equally as a male and this is due to various reasons.
Although it’s not only women that suffer in the work field, so do men. Men are said to be discriminated against by large companies and institutions which encourage women to take jobs men typically do so as to satisfy a certain policy or percentage of female bodies in their company, and then don ‘t require them to actually do the same work, leaving men to fill in a workload gap that didn ‘t used to exist. This usually tends to happen in fields such as engineering or any other sort of labour work.
Despite this, women are still the ones held back the most. Women have not always been in a stronger position to lead, change and shape the economic and social landscape. The 21st century has seen a dramatic shift in “traditional” family dynamics. Statistics offer insights into current patterns and behaviours but I noticed that they do not address why the skills and talents of women are not being fully utilized. Encouraging women to participate in the labour market is vital to ensure economic growth at both micro and macro level.
One of the reasons as to why females aren’t paid equally as a male is said due to their inability to accomplish the task at hand as efficiently as a male would leading to a, sometimes, drastic wage gap. A woman is said to be able to easily tell whether or not they are being discriminated against in hiring and promotion. All they have to do is count the men with lesser skills and credentials doing jobs they still aspire to. Although, some women often do not know when they are being victims of employment inequality and often don’t complain and so the problem continues. As stated above, men overcrowd high paying careers such as engineering while women dominate lower-paying fields like education and social service careers. However, women are more likely than men to fall off the career track when they have children. They have to take time off and say to “lose skills”, or sometimes tend to opt for less-demanding jobs so they can spend more time at home. Most fathers, in contrast, manage to go through parenthood without needing any time off or any harm to their careers.
Another reason leading to gender inequality in the employment field is often the one mostly overheard in offices: “women are not the primary bread winner and the men are therefore men deserve the higher pay rate not the women”. However, what if the woman is a single mother or divorced or simply an independent woman hoping to pay her bills with that job. These situations are sometimes not taken into consideration when pay rates are decided in such fields. These gender wage gaps are not about men choosing to work more than women, comparing men and women who all work full time, men nearly always earn more than women. Studies have shown that it has close to nothing to do with average differential occupational choices between men and women.