Gender Inequality Essay, Research Paper
Gender inequality is amongst us all in any given society. Although gender is not as simple as may seem. Gender comes into play along with a number of different aspects such as sex, gender and gender roles. Each of these aspects play a significant part when speaking of the different social problems encountered by men and women. Sex makes up the biological differences; of male or female. Gender is the socially learned behaviors that are attached to the sexes (Henslin, p. 322), which create Gender Roles.
Gender roles constitute the attitudes and behaviors that are expected of males and females in a given culture of society. It is these gender roles that give the impact of gender inequality amongst the male and the female sex.
Gender roles are not given at birth, as ones biological sex, they are to be learned and taught amongst those surrounding one at an early age, and the society and culture one lives in. Gender roles are mainly learned and taught by those who have raised them, namely their family. Ones family has the biggest impact on how to perceive their gender. This is because a family institution passes on values and beliefs that are taught and learned to accept at an early age. Although it is not those who raise one whom are to blame for gender inequality. Gender inequality begins during the history of how evolution caused us to be segregated of the two groups of male and female. As an outcome of these gender roles came the affect of gender inequalities, in Family households and in the Workplace. As my research hopes to show, that I believe gender inequalities are learned through ones family and are reflected in the workplace.
History of how evolution taught us to have Gender roles
The history of how we came to be starts in the early ages of the Homo erectus. It is the age of evolution that we see significant changes in the male and female body. At this age we see that the bodies of males and females differed slightly, due to bone structures. Trends in the division of labor were established early in evolution and became amplified with the emergence of the big brained Homo erectus. A bigger brain necessitated a size increase in the birth canal and female pelvis. These and other physical changes exaggerated sex differences in the division of labor relative to the hunting vs. gathering stages (Joseph, p. 35). This era of the evolution of humans, shows how the female is the nurturing, due to her birth canal and reproductive organs, and the male is the hunter due to his difference of body from the female. So with the assumption in mind that the female has the ability to reproduce, we assume that she is the gatherer because of her lack of physical strength, and that the male is the hunter due to his inability to reproduce, gives him more advantage of physical strength. In these Hunter-Gatherer societies, pregnant women stayed permanently in certain areas taking care of children, and collecting and preparing food. Men were in charge of hunting and defense. Given the scarcities of resources in these societies it might have been possible that the effects of biological difference were most extreme, determining the sort of activities of men and women. A study conducted by R. Joseph Ph. D, found that female primates produce more social and emotional vocalizations and engaged in more tool use and gathering activities, whereas males tend to hunt and kill (Joseph, Ph. D, p. 35). With this division of labor amongst those of the relative primate family, which has the closest representation to humans, reflects how both male and female grow to have their own set of roles, dating back to the time of Homo erectus hunter gatherers.
Working with the aspect of growing roles, the mere fact that male and females distinctively have their own set of roles, will reflect on their reproduction of children. Gender role theories noted by leading sociologist and psychologist suggest, That an individuals attention and behavior are guided by an internal motivation to confirm to gender-biased sociocultural standards and stereotypes ( Halonen and Stantrock, p. 184). This occurs in children as young as one year of age, in which boys wear blue and are offered masculine toys, and girls are dressed in pink, and are adorned with feminine toys. Which is believed that aggressive behavior is socially accepted with males, and a more passive approach is use with females. These roles of masculinity and femininity are a factor of sex-role learning that begins during early childhood (Davidson and Neale, p. 237). A survey conducted by the graduate students of the sociology and gender class found that 70% of those surveyed listed their parents as a primary source for learning about sex and gender. This concludes how there is no doubt why male and female gender roles are learned at such an early age.
Gender Inequality in the Household
Since gender roles are learned at a young age, women and men find themselves fitting into where they should be in a family institution. In a family women hold most of the responsibility in keeping it together and the men are known to be the financial breadwinners of the family. Women take the role of the mother, the nurturer, the caretaker, the cook, the cleaner and the lover. This is an overwhelming amount of work that she must take on, but in the long run the male takes the credit in his nature of supporting the entire family. Since we have these expectations of women and men, we underestimate the ability to try new things. For example, if a woman goes out to get a job, she will be segregated against because of her gender. And it is also assumed that men will not handle the household responsibilities as a woman. With this gender inequality in the family life, men and women are treated differently beyond their home. Women are out of the house doing her part of the shopping and men are out working getting things done and getting paid for it. It is this aspect of getting paid for work that is over looked in the female perspective. Women do not get paid to hold the responsibility of the household; they receive the acknowledgment that she is doing what is taught of her. This is a gender inequality that affects mainly the women. This underestimation of women in the workforce, implies to society that she is out of place and is treated so in such an institution.
Gender Inequality affect in the workplace
By reason of family impact on gender roles, gender inequality plays a big part in the workplace. These problems are the lead factors that separate the males from the females. Gender inequality is mainly noticed in the work place. These include sex segregation, differences in authority, and inequalities in promotions and pay. According to Reskin and Padavic, there are three dimensions involved in gender inequality: sexual division of labor, devaluation of jobs labeled as women s jobs , and social construction of gender on the job. Many factors contribute to the inequality experienced by men and women, such as sex differences in preferences and productivity, cultural beliefs, men efforts and employers actions.
Discrimination is tied in with gender inequality and is what causes problems in our workforce. Career discrimination in women is seen in the discouragement of entering certain fields of work, such as the sciences, mechanical, engineering, police and administration fields (Schmolling et al. 33). The term women s work is often thought less prestigious than jobs held by the opposite sex. This is a form of devaluation of female s jobs. Women are hired into less desirable jobs and one a job becomes associated with women, it is devaluated in the organizational context ( Tomaskovic-devey, p. 24). Segregation not only depresses the wages of women; it circumscribes their goals, aspirations, and options (Stone p. 408). Many women tend to choose jobs labeled as women jobs such as teachers, nurses, social workers, or librarians, in order to succeed within their occupation. This puts down females in the workplace, due to the gender roles learned. Women were grown to be the more feminine, and men as masculine. Due to this assumption that men and women are of different spectrums, it is believed that women cannot do what the men do and vice-versa, so acknowledgment when one does cross over shows in the lack of credit one receives in trying to do the unexpected. It is found and researched that with the same amount of educational background, women hold less supervisor positions and receive lower pay for the same job as men; further more, women are receiving a mere sixty-nine percent of what a man makes at the same job, up to only 4.6 since 1955 (Lauer, p. 275). Furthermore, promotions are variable by sex and class: men have more promotions than women and more of them take place at the top of occupational hierarchies where women are less well represented (Walby, p. 25). Traditionally, a woman s gender role in society is of a homemaker; a man’s gender role is that of the financial breadwinner. Due to that role that is embedded into our society pertaining to males and female gender, women are the largest minority, due to these gender inequalities in the work force.
By having this separation of the sexes through gender inequalities, we learn that it is a social problem that should be resolved. Gender inequality is a social problem, and guidelines that can be followed to begin an elimination of this social problem. First of all there should be more child care center for working mothers, to help enable mothers to work and have their children taken care of at the same time. Secondly, establish family leaves laws, so a mother is not threatened with the fact of being accused of child neglect or endangerment. Thirdly, there must be changes in education so that women and men are not socialized into subservient or dominant gender roles. Fourthly, affirmative action programs should be established in the workforce, so that government funds would be withheld from employers who do not comply with the guidelines. Fifth, establish comparable work with comparable pay, equal pay for equal work among men and women. Sixth, sexual harassment laws need to be enforced so that men are not dominating women because of their power. Finally, equal employment opportunities should be administered throughout the states to guarantee equal education and equal economic fairness among the different sexes.
Although these guidelines are farfetched, it gives society a foundation to start on the equalization of gender inequality. Since women tend to be the largest minority regarding gender equalities in the workforce as well as in the households, gender inequality will always be a social problem. It is a social problem that has changed somewhat in the past years, through women having some gain, there continues to be great gaps in equality in the workplace and in family institutions. Until these gaps are bridged, equal pay, promotionability, and recognition for equal work will remain a roadblock for most career-oriented women in society.