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Gender Roles Workplace Essay

Gender inequality in the workplace

Discrimination based on gender has become rampant in the world with the most incidences being experienced at the workplaces. In the workplace, the human resource practices do enact harmful gender inequalities through policies, and decision-making processes. Such practices affect hiring, pay, promotion and training of men and women in the labor market. They promote the notion that women and men are not equal. The unequal treatment of persons due to the socially constructed norms and myths has affected workplace operations.

In terms of pay, gender inequality or sex discrimination arises where every dollar earned by a man, a woman earns less by 33 cents on the same job. Gender discriminatory pay sprouts from structural imbalances aligned to gender segregation by departments, networks, and job ladders. Overrepresentation of the female gender on some sections makes that sector a lower status area. In spite of several advancements by international bodies to eliminate gender segregation in the labor sector, such efforts have borne little fruits. However, the low educational status of the female gender plays a major role in forming the basis for discrimination by employers. Society has framed women as the weaker gender. As a child is born, his/her life is directed from the colors to ascribe to, how to behave as one belonging to a certain gender and the roles to play. The traditional mentalities still evolve within modern workplaces despite women making strides in attaining equal qualifications.

Gender roles played by women such as child and family care forces women to take long leaves from work or leave work at the official working time. However, many businesses prefer their employees to undertake overtime to complete and meet targets. This calls for workers to put in long working hours which on the men’s side would be welcomed contrary to the females. The excessive commitment required by employers is the key cause of the unending gender inequality in employment. Many women become disadvantaged to work under such conditions.

Majority of workplace structures and patterns of interactions inadvertently favor men. The psychologically and socially inbuilt strength that men are to possess presents them as the leading gender. Society perceives women as the feeble gender thus, subordinate to men even in the workplace.  Females are considered to lack in leadership skills making them have a low bargain while rendering their labor. On the other hand, a large population of women has a low educational qualification which allows them to access low-paying jobs in the service industry. Moreover, the dire need to provide for their children places them at the disadvantaged end of the employers who utilize the cheap labor to maximize their profits.

In addition, an organization’s corporate culture does affect the equity and equality of employees. Some places create a hostile culture that only the males can survive intimidating the women. The non-linear career paths identical to women due to maternity leaves and other non-payable house chores requires flexibility in hiring agencies. Such attributes identical to women have been used to deny the female gender authority, managerial or supervisory positions.

Gender inequality has detrimental effects on society, the economy and human development. A favorable climate for diversity sets in with fair treatment of every person regardless of the socially ascribed roles based on one’s sex. Equality in the workplace is essential to prevent the occurrence of abuse like sexual harassment, underpayment, and bribery. Strict setting and enforcement of rules that uphold gender equality in an organization especially the human resource section should be mandatory.

Women in the Workplace

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Women in the Workplace

 

If one takes a closer look at the issues surrounding the differences between the male and female roles in the workforce and in education, one will notice that women tend to be one step below men on the "status" or "importance" ladder.

 

In American society, the woman has always been viewed in the traditional viewpoint of what role she should play in the home; that she is the homemaker or caretaker. Even when women break from the stereotypical role of "housewife" and join the workforce, they still are not given an equal opportunity at acquiring a job that is seen to be as advancing or of higher recognition, as they would like to have. Men usually already take those positions.

 

Men are traditionally seen as being in the "supervisor" position in the home. They are the heads of the household, the breadwinners, and the women are behind the scenes, like the threads that hold everything together. The same can be said about the workplace. Men tend to hold administrative positions, while women usually have the positions that support the administrator. They are the secretaries and assistants that do the work for their male bosses and prepare things for them that later on only the administrator may receive credit for. " ‘Where,' asks the Englishman who is prominent in social welfare, 'are you're men? We see their names on the letter-heads of organizations, but when we go to international conferences, we meet almost entirely women.' 'Our men-oh, they are the chairmen of boards, they determine the financial policy of our agencies, but they leave the practice to women. They are too busy to go to conferences.'" (Mead 304).

 

Also, women have traditionally taken positions in fields that require doing social good or having maternal qualities which is probably linked to the role women play in the home (the role of caretaker), such as being a social worker or teaching in schools. One would also notice that men tend not to have jobs in these fields, as it would go against the stereotype of the man in the position of authority. Never actually having to take care of children, but making sure there is someone there to take care of them.

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"…has gradually been stereotyped in those occupations in which women are professionally engaged in good works, particularly education and social work. These are both fields that men enter on peril of accusations of effeminacy, unless they enter in an administrative or a financial role" (Mead 304).

 

But one cannot necessarily place full blame on either gender for the division of positions in the workforce that exist today. For these stereotypes were formed long ago, and have somehow seem to have stayed with us. These viewpoints were made from our mothers', grandmothers', and great grandmothers' times, and have been passed along down the line from generation to generation. The thought of one particular job being only for women nowadays, because of the maternal characteristics that must be displayed, is not only avoided by men, but also by women who want to break from that stereotypical role. Women don't want to feel as if they are being held to one type of career field just because they were born a woman.

 

We must speak rather of an endless spiraling process, in which good women were the immediate occasion of some reform, reform became thought of as women's field, this attracted women into it and further styled the field as feminine, and so kept men out. Between the two world wars there was a marked decrease in the willingness of women to enter those fields which had been ear-marked as fields of "service"; that is, fields in which the bad pay and heavy work were supposed to be ignored because they gave an opportunity to exercise womanly qualities of caring for the young, the sick, the unfortunate, and the helpless (Mead 305).

 

Women also haven't been given an equal shot at being heard in the classroom. It's been proven that men are naturally aggressive in nature, and that women tend to be more passive. This is not only evident in the workplace, but in the classroom environment, and can be seen at a very early age. Boys tend to shout out answers, whether they are wrong or right ones, while the girls don't attempt to participate or are not called on because they are over powered by the calling out of answers by the male students. "What I saw instead, even more than in the math classes I observed, was a kind of passive resistance to participation by the girls that went unquestioned by the teacher. Call it gender bias by omission. When, week after week, boys raised their hands to ask or answer questions in far greater numbers than girls (Orenstein 216). Teachers sometimes may or may not notice that they partake in this division of gender-based learning. Sometimes they may be allowing such behaviors to commence because they feel that it is just a part of nature, that girls won't be as active in the classroom as the boys are.

 

The "hidden curriculum" comprises the unstated lessons that students learn in school: it is the running subtext through which teachers communicate behavioral norm and individual status in the school culture, the process of socialization that cues children into their place in the hierarchy of larger society. Once used to describe the ways in which the education system works to reproduce class systems in our culture, the "hidden curriculum" has recently been applied to the ways in which schools help reinforce gender roles, whether they intend to or not (Orenstein 211).

 

Women have traditionally been playing roles in the workplace and in the classroom that tend to be seen as suitable for their behavior, whether it is unfair job positions or not participating in their learning experience in the classroom. But that trend is slowly changing and more women are beginning to realize they don't have to be held to those stereotypical roles any longer. But for the women of today to stand up for themselves and take those administrative roles, they have to be taught in the classroom to be more assertive with themselves. Maybe someday our daughters won't have to take a job as a secretary against their will just because it's a woman's job.

 

Works Cited

Mead, Margaret. Male and Female. New York: William Morrow & Company Publishers, 1949.

Orenstein, Peggy. "Learning Silence." Crisis in American Institutions. 11th ed.

Eds. Jerome H. Skolnick and Elliot Currie. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, 2000. 210-217.