Have you ever felt you were discriminated against because of your gender? Sexism in the workplace is an ongoing issue for females today. Though women have been fighting for their rights for many generations, many types of gender discrimination persist in our society. Let’s explore the many different reasons why gender discrimination can occur at work and what effects it may have on individuals so that we can put changes in place which will prevent this from progressing.
The main and frequent gender discrimination takes places during the hiring process. Getting a job can be one of the most stressful situations for many adults. Gender has a major influence on what job we hold. When we think of construction workers, presidents, CEOs and police officers we think of men while being a nurse, teacher and flight attendant we perceive it as a female’s job (Cundiff and Vescio 3). It is difficult for a female to get a job as a construction worker, culture norms made it seem improper for a female to work in this field. Having this job would require hard labor, which many men believe they are the only ones who can do it effectively. As for men, if they did a job that was mostly female-dominated suck as nursing, the public would perceive them as weak, and not manly enough (Settles and O’Conner 7). Employers are reluctant to hire a certain gender based on the job description. These continuing gender stereotypes often can inhibit females in achieving the higher status/position jobs.
Gender discrimination can occur in many types of job roles/positions. For example, males hold more leadership positions than females. Women comprise 66% of U.S workforce, yet only 21% hold middle management positions, and a mere 15% are at senior management level (Sipe 2). Women are being discriminated against and don’t hold a larger amount management level because they are perceived to be weak and unable to work by their male counterpart (Crofts and Coffey 1). There are many unjust situations women experience resulting in fewer opportunities. Females have to face more issues than men, like having children and taking care of the family.
In some cases, women have to put their job on hold to take a maternity leave and take a couple of months off from work, while men are free and can get a greater chance of a promotion (Flanagan 2). Women have to work twice as hard than men so they can prove they’re able to the same as them. Having all these obstacles can make females feel it’s impossible to achieve a role or a job because of there gender resulting in them giving up. University women in male-dominated academic fields were more likely to consider changing their major and that they continued to perceive gender-based obstacles in their fields (Sipe 2). If females aren’t given an equal opportunity to achieve a higher position, it will result in them getting paid less.
Another form of discrimination women face in the workplace is the wage gap. The wage gap is a major controversy brought up in the workplace. At a young age, we were taught that men go out and work while women stayed home and took care of the family. American women have been battling for equal pay for many decades, the Equal Pay Act was to end the idea of men earning more the females based on sex. Although the wage gap between men and females improved we can still see some discrimination against women. For a very long time, it has become a norm that men earn more the women. According to U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earned 81 cents to every dollar men earned (Tufarolo 5). Women are getting paid less for the same workmen are doing. It is highly likely if a male and female had the same education and some job position that the men would get paid more. This can cause many dilemmas for singles mothers taking care of a child.
Women have to earn enough money to take care of monthly bills and still have enough money to buy groceries (Fogel 2). Not only is the gender gap affecting the way they take care of the loved ones, but it also affects there retirement plan. If men are earning more than females, men would have a larger margin to save up for retirement (Manuel 6). A certain gender should not influence the amount of money one should make. The amount of education acquired and skills someone has should be the reason why they get paid more. Some females might not choose a certain job even if it pays more because of the fear of being sexually harassed.
Gender discrimination can also lead to sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment can come in two forms, quid pro quo, and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo is when you are put in a tough situation where you have to exchange something to receive something, most people know it has this for that . women are told to do a sexual favor for a promotion or a raise (Sipe 3). The other version is a hostile work environment where an employer might make an inappropriate sexual comment or unwanted touching. This type of sexual harassment can turn into something serious like sexual assault. Women are traumatized and frightened to every report it.
Females are hesitant to come forward and report this type of sexual harassment for many reasons. The first reasons maybe of shame, victims of sexual harassment feel violated and exposed while being at the mercy of another person (Burner 1). They often start to blame themselves for the sexual assault and convincing themselves not to report it. The second reason is that victims are in denial (Burner 3). Many victims refuse to accept that the harassment they experienced was assault. They convince themselves it wasn’t a big deal. Some victims might even convince themselves they were the only ones victimized and don’t come forward until other victims do. The result of denial and hopelessness can lead to depression. The third reason can be the fear of consequences they will face if they come forward with the sexual harassment or assault (Burner 5). This is one of the biggest reasons why females workers don’t speak out. They feel that if they speak out, they can lose their job, not be promoted, be seen as an agitator, won’t acquire another job or even fear for there safety.
Although laws such as the women’s rights, equal pay act, and civil rights act have extremely improved and narrowed the glass ceiling, the fights for women’s rights is not over. In today’s society, we can see that women are still being mistreated. They are being discriminated against because of their gender. Women receive fewer job offers than men, they receive lower pay, they don’t hold as much management positions compared to men and are being sexually harassed in the workplace. Women should not have to fight for their rights, again and again, the laws placed to protect all workers rights should be consistently enforced. Discrimination is totally unacceptable in today’s society. We must change the united way we think of women and how we treat them. We need to move forward together and change as a society so that no female worker suffers from gender discrimination in the future.
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