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Men and women do not have equal rights and opportunities in all spheres of society, including the social and economic ones. This is known as gender inequality (Healey 98). The unequal treatment results from variations in biological characteristics including chromosomes, brain structure, and hormone differences as well as inequalities in socially established gender roles. Gender inequality is evident when men and women's behaviors, desires, and wants are given unequal levels of value and favor, and it has its roots in distinctions that are either factually based or socially manufactured (Natalie). Just like several other states, US also experiences changes in gender relationships and the questioning of inequalities between men and women at work, home and in public affairs. Unfortunately, facts show that gender gaps and inequalities persist despite the social and economic transformations and rigorous movements aimed at changing women’s subordination (Karl and Friedrich 68).
There have been substantial national and international measures that have been taken towards gender equality, but despite the measures, only four out of 135 nations have achieved gender equality. The countries that have achieved gender equality are; Cuba, Sweden, Costa Rica and Norway (Natalie). Gender equality is measured with access to primary education, health and life expectancy political empowerment and equality of economic opportunities. Gender equality should be prioritized globally for it will be a primary step in both human progress and economic advancement (Wright 108).
Evidence to support existence of Gender inequality
Gender equality is deliberated by evaluating the representation of men and women in a variety of role (Karl and Friedrich 68). There are striking facts that are evidence that with no doubt gender inequality persists in the United States as much as it exists in the rest of the states in the world. Some of these facts are:
1. Even in the twenty-first century, women only earn approximately 80% of what men earn when they do full-time work (Healey 99). The gender wage gap varies in different races; whites, for instance, have the most considerable wage gap between genders. White women earn 78% of the wages that white men do, while African Americans women earn 90% of the wages that African American men earn (Krugman 944). A survey conducted by the International Trade Union Confederation on pay inequality revealed that female workers in the Gulf state of Bahrain earn wages that are 40% higher than their male counterparts.
2. The chores are undertaken by ‘Housewives’ are ranked in the lower half of all groups of work in the social status (Krugman 944). Their work is considered to be below that of the ‘blue collar workers.’ Statistical evidence from developing countries such as the Dominican Republic shows that women are more likely to fail in business and return to their sedentary lifestyle even in the absence of income. In the case of failure of a business, men are likely to look for alternative employment as household chores are not their priority.
3. In cases where both partners in a marriage work and earn wages, women still engage in double as much housework and childcare. The International Labor Organization (ILO) 2014 report indicated a 25% difference between Cambodian women and men showing women have lesser power and are devalued both at home and in the workplace (Wright 108).
4. Women are hardly assigned managerial or supervisory positions, and when they do, their positions are not given as much weight and authority as men in those positions would be given (Karl and Friedrich 87). According to statistical discrimination, women are always likely to be denied admission to certain occupational tracks compared to men as they are more likely to leave their job or the labor force when they get married or become pregnant. Therefore women end up with dead-end positions or in jobs with little mobility.
5. Gender inequality is a major issue and is on the rise in Pakistan and the Muslim Middle East. In July 2009, two Saudi Arabian sisters were killed in the presence of their father by their brother under the rubric of defending the family’s honor (Wright 108). In Guatemala, over 3000 women were murdered over the past seven years on account of cases involving misogynistic violence.
6. Observations from the Television and Film industry reveal that in the 2013 Academy Awards, 140 men were nominated for awards whereas only 35 women were nominated. In the Original Screen Play, no woman was nominated for directing, cinematography, film editing or original score (Healey 99). Only seven women producers have ever won Best Picture category since the Academy Awards began in 1929. The seven women were all co-producers with men. Only eight women have ever been nominated for Best Original Screenplay and only four women for Best Director.
Explanations for Gender Inequalities
According to psychology, men take more risks than women, and they are likely to be more aggressive due to their exposure to androgen. Females are more empathetic than men, and they have a better verbal memory as compared to men who have better visual memory (Healey 99). There have been suggestions that these psychological differences combined with physical differences are adaptations that cause division of labor.
Averagely men are taller than women, but women live longer than men, though it is not clear scientifically how this is a biological difference. Men have larger lung volumes with more blood circulation and clotting factors as compared to women, however, females have a white blood cells circulating in their body (Krugman 944). The above differences are viewed to be an adaptation to allow sexual specialisation and therefore according to these differences, some people can never see men and women be equal.
Cultural stereotypes dictate specific roles to be carried out by both men and women, and these stereotypes are a likely explanation for gender inequality and the resulting gendered wage gap. Throughout their lives, males and females are raised differently and gain different environment experiences (Karl and Friedrich 87). Males and females are led in different paths before they can choose their paths. Boys are always associated with the blue color and their toys are trucks and sports related. Girls are related to color pink, and their toys are dolls, dresses and a playing house where they take care of their dolls. The upbringing that children have exposed to models their personality, Career paths, and relationships.
Closing the Gender Gap
According to New York Times 2017, Economists suggest that flexibility regarding place and time would get women to get work done better and would consider closing the gender gaps (Natalie). However, due to the flexibility stigma (being penalized in pay and promotion), most parents do not request for flexibility in their work schedules. Twitter, a social media company, was criticized in 2016 for lack of gender and racial diversity in its workforce. The criticism caused it to promise to raise the women’s percentage to 35% of its global workforce and 25% of its leadership roles (Natalie). Through a corporate partnership with approximately 100 companies, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is trying to change the composition for the conference attendees (Natalie). According to New York Times, the 100 companies partnering with WEF have agreed to include at least one female employee in five of the other gender at Davos, and if they do not comply, they should restrict their participation to four participants. Since WEF changed the rule, women’s participation in this forum has doubled (Natalie).
People have begun to ‘talk back’ constructively as a way to expose gender inequality in politics and under-representation in other institutions (Wright 68). Researchers have introduced ‘Undoing gender’ where they educate and overarch gender understanding by encouraging social interactions that reduce gender differences. Diffusion of gender norms through the gender-balanced decision making especially at the international level can combat institutionalized sexism in politics (Wright 68). Scholars have also emphasized the value of every individual’s importance in capturing individual experiences instead of collective male or female candidate’s experience.
Economically, gender discrimination dramatically prevents growth causing countries not to reach their potential regarding productivity (Krugman 944). As much as national and international measures are being used to overcome gender inequality, they have not been sufficient. The struggle to overcome gender inequality is a continuous and painful struggle, but it is not impossible. However, it has to be waged at the level of people’s perception. People’s perceptions of men and women have to catch up with the new possibilities created by education, economic innovation, and equal legal rights.
Healey, Justin. " Issues in Society." Gender Discrimination and Inequality. . 2014: Spinney Press, n.d.
Karl, Marx and Engels Friedrich. "Classical Works on Social Stratification and Inequality." MANIFESTO OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY. n.d. 68.
Krugman, Paul. "Consequences of Inequality." The Great Deivergence. n.d. 944.
Natalie, Proulx. "Gender Equality." New York Times (2017).
Wright, C Mills. "The promise." The Socialogical Imagination. 1959. 7.
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