Gender Inequalities in the Workplace

Describe and analyse gender inequalities in the workplace? ’ Gender inequalities in the workplace have been an ongoing issue for many years, which has mainly been central to women in the workplace, as senior management has prioritised men over women. This has made it very difficult for women to work their way up to management as women are considered to be incompetent compared to the men in the workplace. The wage gap between men and women has raised much debate, as men are generally more likely to get paid more than women.

There has been much confusion that sex and gender are the same but actually there is a vast difference between the two concepts as gender is the social, cultural and psychological difference between a male and female. Where as sex is refereed to the biology of a individual in other terms the sex that an individual is born for example a male or female.

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Gender socialisation is a key aspect to understand the differences between men and women as the way society portrays them is very different. http://www. msu. edu/user/yarbrou7). Gender inequality is highlighted in the status that men and women have in society as men are considered to have better jobs, which then leads men becoming wealthier then women. The primary social institutions where gender inequalities occur is in educational systems, family life and the workplace. Gender has been considered an unlimited dimension that has been based on the different status of men and women, which has been inn effect for decades.

However the feminist movement in the 1960’s established resurrection by studying gender issues, which highlighted that inequalities towards women have been in place in the social system of society as men are considered to be the breadwinners and women, should be housewives and mothers. (http://www. msu. edu/user/yarbrou7/) . Cultural inequalities consisted of women not being able to vote, achieve a higher level education and have the ability to own their own property as men were since to be responsible for the wellbeing of a woman.

In relation the era of the seventies brought with it assured rights that allowed women to vote for the first time, which made women feel that they did have existence in the society that they live in. Voting rights brought women a sense of existence but inequalities still remained in the social institutions that have been developed to make individuals independent in society. These inequalities are still existent in salaries and employment in the 21st century. In the workplace there have been various types of gender inequalities that have affected each post an individual has been allocated by an employer.

As women are becoming more educated their has been a rapid increase in the amount of women that are professionals in the workplace as a result educated women are still being under paid as men are considered to be more competent workers. In manual workplaces unions are considered the primary means for women to take control over what actions should be placed in order to change the working environment as a majority of women are generally underpaid in manual industries. (http://www. eldis. org/static/DOC12479. htm)

In the workplace there are various formations of gender inequalities that are in affect, which have been highlighted in the wage gap between men and women who are employed in the same workplace, job security for men is in affect initially as they are told by there senior where as for women they are required to prove that there purpose in the workplace has added to the effective run of the entire department as well as the whole organisation. Men further have the ability to achieve alternative employment more conveniently as women have the added pressure of domestic duties in the home that includes child rearing. http://www. eldis. org/static/DOC12479. htm) Sexual exploitation and violence towards women has occurred for years, which has mainly been initiated by senior management as they generally feel that they have the authority and dominance to over power women. In order for men to maintain and understand that it is vital to under go change in terms of women being treated as equals just as men are a number of issues need to be considered by men both in the workplace and in the (home. http://www. infoplease. com/ipa/A0763170. tml) Men need to understand that the domestic duties around the home need to be divided so those women have the ability to go out and make a career for themselves just as men do. Men being able to keep their masculinity is an important factor of being a man as many men feel that when their wives go out to work they have lost there purpose as being the man of the house as women as just as capable of carrying out the same responsibilities in the workplace as men, which can be very threatening for a majority of men.

Social stigma has influenced the fact that men are afraid of being undermined by a women but can be acceptable by a fellow male colleague. Furthermore men should accept and adapt to equality in the workplace as a result of much of the work load can be shared as well as new ideas can be generated that the male colleagues may not have explored. The advantages of women becoming equal in the workplace can generate a better standard of living for men as the pressure for men being the sole breadwinner can be shared along with sharing the duties in the workplace.

This will encourage a better atmosphere in the workplace as the male colleagues will have less pressure to produce certain tasks by a given deadline as women are able to help with the performance and outcome of the task. The importance of women sharing the workload allows men to be more active fathers, as they will have the time and energy to spend with their children rather then having women playing an active part in the child’s life.

The functionalist perspective on gender inequalities are evident as Talcott Parsons suggests that in order for socialisation to be clear it is important that individuals are able to have a supportive and stable family as Parsons believes that the family life is the most precise and effective way for individuals to understand sexual divisions that occur in social institutions home. (http://www. infoplease. com/ipa/A0763170. tml) This suggests that sociologists are more concerned in the way society segregates men and women to explain why gender inequalities occur and how changes can be made in order to make society a institute that is bases on each individual being treated equal regardless of age, sex or gender. Gender wage gap highlights the significant difference in salary that women get compared to men. It has been estimated that on average women earn 23. % less than men do.

This figure highlights that majority of employers value the role and exist of the male workers which are indicated in the salary that they take home each month, where as women are paid less regardless of the time and energy that they put in the workplace. Stockyard and Johnson (1992:32) have both recognised that there are significant differences in wages between men and women although both sexes carry out full time jobs. In 987, the average wage for a male in America was $28,313 where as the wage for women was $18,531, which works out to be approximately 65% of a male workers wages. Stockyard and Johnson have indicated that ‘lower pay does not represent lower qualifications than men have or employment in areas that require less education’. This suggests that education is the key to a better-paid job not the fact that gender affects the amount of wages an individual is entitled to.

Grint (1994:203) suggests that the main reason to why women are treated unequally is dependent on the class position of their husband as the ‘higher the class of the male the higher the class of the female’. This suggests that if a woman has a husband or a partner of a higher social class then the women is more likely to be respected by society, where as if a woman is from a lower social class then the women is most likely to be treated unequally.

Gamarnikow, Morgan, Purvis and Taylorson (1983:99), in relation have highlighted the fact that ‘working class women’s oppression as inextricably linked with their exploitation as workers’. This suggests that working class women are vulnerable in the workplace as they have no choice but to expect the conditions of work as the value of the money they are getting is too valuable to give up although they are being exploited. Furthermore, employers are able to target individuals to exploit in the workplace in relation to wages and hour of work.

Siltanen (1994:120), has further highlighted that ‘men work most commonly in higher grade occupations’, which suggests that women are ‘less likely to be near the top of occupational ladders’. Gamarnikow, Morgan, Purvis and Taylorson (1983:101). The disadvantages of what has been indicated by Siltanen (1994), is that employers have recognised that women are less likely to apply or be nominated for promotion, where as male colleagues are favoured over women even through many of the women have the same level of experience and education as the male colleagues in the workplace.

This has provided to be discrimination towards women, which in many cases can result in women having a low self-esteem. It has been noted by Jacobs (1995) that generally women in the workplace are more likely to be more experienced than men. However, as women have numerous domestic duties in the home such as child rearing it makes it much more difficult for women to continue a career as well as weighing the responsibilities in the home. This factor is the primary factor that effects the position of women in the workplace.

Arber and Ginn (Grint, K, 1991) have noted that gender inequality has been predominantly initiated by cultural norms which have been adapted in the work and domestic sphere. The domestic sphere has been commonly associated with the women being the secondary breadwinner who are defiantly likely to give up work in order to provide a stable environment for their children, as the fathers are predominantly the primary breadwinners. Where as work sphere is mainly cultural, which is associated with work responsibilities that have hindered women to develop themselves adequately.

In conclusion, the analysis that has been researched to determine gender inequalities in the workplace highlight that the gender wage gap is a primary problem which women have been facing for a number of years. Although society today portrays men and women to be equal there are still inequalities that exist within the workplace. Examples of such inequalities are that women at work are the ones who appear to be weak, when in actual facts women have been seen to be extremely strong in the workplace.

In my opinion I believe that inequalities in the workplace are still existence but are gradually dying down. However, it is also dependent on the type of employment that men are women are involved in which effects the inequalities that arise in the workplace.

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