Gender In The Workplace Essay Research Paper

Gender In The Workplace Essay, Research Paper

Gender Discrimination in the Work Place

Is it fair that men make more money than women do, even though they both have the same qualifications? Is it fair that women are less likely than men to get promoted are? Is it fair that women start at lower positions in the work place than men do? Discrimination in the work place is hindering gender relations in today?s modern society. Women are getting fed up with always being treated unfairly by the employers. They feel that employers should base their decision on who can do the better job, not who is the male and who is the female.

Hiring, promotion, and salaries are the three main factors that separate the men from the women in the work place. In hiring, men are much more likely to get a job than women are. Although in the last 10 to 15 years, women have gradually closed the gaps. In 1974, 14 to 25% of women earned bachelor degrees in computer and mathematical science. While in 1989, the women that earned the same degrees were 33 to 37% of the graduates. (Frenkel, 1990) Now, because the percentage of bachelor degrees has increased during that period, you would think that the hiring increase would be the same. Well, the hiring of women has only increased about 5%. So, are employers really looking for who gets hired with what degree or is it irrelevant? I feel that for the most part, employers do look at the accomplishments of a future employee, regardless of gender. In the past, that might have been different, but today, an employer would hire a more highly skilled women worker, than an average male worker. I think employers have a sort of obligation to hire the women. The companies sometimes feel that if they

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don?t hire enough women, a discrimination suit could arise and that would hurt not only the company financially, but their reputation as well.

In almost every industry, women occupy a very small proportion of the higher-level positions. For example, a 1988 study found that only three CEO?s among the Fortune 1000 were women, and only 1.7% of the COO?s, CFO?s and executive VPs were women (White, 1992). In a 1993 study of Stanford MBA?s, graduates from the class of 1982 were tracked over time. It was found that 71% of the men are currently in the top four rungs of management, whereas only 34% of women had reached those positions (Smith and Mitchell, 1993). In what I consider a very interesting faction, Business Week did a report in 1987 in which they tracked 100 women executives who were on the fast track from as far back as 1976. They found that none of those 100 women had made it to the top position in a public corporation unless they started the business or inherited the position (White, 1992). I feel that is the same in the academic world as well. I have seen many more male professors here at SUNY Brockport, than female professors. As shown earlier, the problem is not that larger proportions of trained women are not available. Women are not represented at the highest ranks of companies and in the academics because, for some reason, their rate of progression is halted somewhere along the way to the top. I think the progression might have been stopped starting in the early nineties. High-ranking men were probably feeling insecure about the whole ?women in power? movement. So, they did whatever they could do stop the women before they get to powerful.


The salary picture for women is even more unjust than that for promotion. Women regularly make less money than men do in almost every industry, even when they first start their jobs. An American Demographics study found that women working full time with two or fewer years of experience earn 72% less than men with the same experience (Schwartz, 1988). Things haven?t always been like this, though. In 1955, women earned more of a percentage of men’s salaries than they did in 1987, 63.9 cents vs. 63.7 cents (Mahar, 1993). Part of the reason for the wage gap is that women don’t get promoted as quickly as men. However, a gap still appears between the two. In some cases, it depends on the job. For example, among ” programming managers,” women made 98% of men’s salaries, but among IS directors or managers, women made 82% of men’s salaries. Another explanation for the increasing wage gap are that women sometimes choose professions that pay less and professions that you need less experience than men of the same age, because they take time off to raise children. Another researcher analyzed the credentials of 194 corporate managers randomly chosen from 800 people who took a leadership course. He found that “if women were men with the same credentials, they would earn about 18 percent more”. (Mahar, 1990). These figures can only be explained by discrimination. Why should a woman get less money for a job that she is equally or more qualified for? It just doesn?t seem fair. This question goes back to what was stated earlier in that men are feeling insecure and are afraid of how powerful women might become. And in most cases, men are the ones in charge and men are the ones who make the big decisions in a corporation and decide who and who doesn?t get hired.

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To answer my questions in the introduction of this paper, the answers are no, it is not fair that men make more money than women, even with the same qualifications, no, it isn?t fair that a man should get promoted first over a woman, and no, it is not fair that women start at a lower position than a man. It isn?t right that women are based on their physical, emotional, and social structures, rather than their overall ability to get the job done.

So, when will women be treated as equals to men in the work place? I do not foresee a change happening in the near future. Women are slowly being treated more as equals to men but the gap will never narrow to complete equality. Women should, not only be treated as equal in the work place, but also in everything else as well. Whether it is a computer scientist, an athlete, or a president of the United States, women should be treated as equal to men. Gender discrimination has gone too far and we, as a society, have to draw the line sometime. We can?t change the past issues, but we can certainly change the future.

1. Frenkel, Karen. “Women and Computing,” Communications of the ACM, November 1990, pp. 35-46.

2. Mahar, Maggie, “The Truth About Women’s Pay,” Working Women Magazine, April 1993, pp. 52-55, 100-103.

3. Schwartz, Joe, “Closing the Gap,” American Demographics, January 1988, pp. 10, 56.

4. Smith, Rebecca and James Mitchell, “A Stanford MBA Does Not Assure Equal Pay,” San Jose Mercury News, spring 1993

5. White, Jane. ?A Few Good Women: Breaking the Barriers to Top Management.? Prentice-Hall, 1992.


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