Gender inequality is when a person
is treated unequally or unfairly based on their sex. We have greatly progressed
throughout history by coming closer and closer to equality between men and
women. Unfortunately, to this day, there is still much that needs to be done in
order for women to be viewed as equals to men. In the workplace especially, if
a closer look is taken, it is clear that there is not equal treatment between
men and women. I for one, would have thought that we would have moved past this
by today but unfortunately, we have not. We may not see gender equality for a while.

This is a topic that maybe a lot of people don’t think about and that could be
the reason that it’s still an occurring issue to this day. It just goes to
prove that there isn’t enough awareness of the issue in general and it’s about
time for that to change. Mainly the people who are aware of this issue are
younger women in the workplace. They see the unequal treatment around them or
with supervisors and bosses which leads them to truly see the difference of
being a man versus being a woman at work.

  Gender inequality is defined as unequal
treatment or perceptions of individuals wholly or partly due to their gender.

It arises from differences in gender roles adopted from cultural norms. I believe women in the workplace aren’t taken
as seriously as men. Even today, women are not as respected as men are. Sexual
harassment rates at work towards women are not lowering. Not a lot of people
are aware of the issue, therefore spreading awareness will bring attention to
the issue. Maybe people were aware of the issue at one point and either brushed
it off or think that unequal treatment between genders no longer exists. I care
because I believe everyone should be treated equally as well as looked upon
equally. It is unfair that one gender can get more benefits while the other can
get treated poorly solely because of their gender. Society should care because
the gender wage gap is still a major issue due to the fact that women earn 79
cents to every dollar men make. This affects every woman and her family in the
United States as well as around the world where the wage gap is even more. Not
only is there unequal treatment toward each gender, there is also unequal pay.

If changes were made in treatment alone, the economy would greatly improve and
there would have better economic growth as well as increased national
productivity. Not to mention, if there was equal treatment, stronger reputations for
companies could be built upon fairness and equal rights.

            The
Functionalist perspective is a broad social theory that sees society as a
complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. “It highlights the many
functions that social institutions serve for society. Accordingly, this
perspective paints a positive picture of work and the economy by pointing to
their many benefits” (Emerson, J. P.; Mauno, S., Kinnunen, U., & Feldt, T.;
McGuire, G. M.; Rubinstein, J.). The
theory suggests that gender inequalities exist as an efficient way to create
division of labor, or a social system in which a particular part of the
population is clearly responsible for certain parts of labor and another part
is clearly responsible for other parts of labor. Additionally, some cultures
believe that men have more power over women, making men viewed as dominant and
women viewed as submissive. Furthermore, employers tend to dismiss women who
are pregnant or plan on having children when asked in interviews because
there’s a lack of work and she is looked at as un-useful for a period of time.

It doesn’t favor society or the economy because functionalists say individuals
should work in unison to serve it.

The social conflict theory views society as
the problem that generates conflict and social change. This theory suggests
that inequality still exits due to discrimination between genders. It is also
the result of men trying to stay in power and women trying to gain it. This
leads to an unequal balance in society and in the workplace. Also, stereotypes are a major
reason that gender inequality occurs. There is many gender stereotypes such as
men being stronger than women for example. “Gender stereotypes are hard to
break and, like it or not, we are all prone to engaging in stereotyping at one
time or another” (Josh). In addition, sexual harassment is more common than
ever in the workplace. According to a survey, taken in early 2017, by over
2,000 women, “1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed at work” (Ahn, Lauren;
Ruiz, Michelle). This doesn’t go to say that men aren’t sexually harassed, they
are, it is just that women are the main targets. “This gender difference exists
for at least two reasons, one cultural and one structural. The cultural reason
centers on the depiction of women and the socialization of men…women are still
depicted in our culture as sexual objects that exist for men’s pleasure. At the
same time, our culture socializes men to be sexually assertive. These two
cultural beliefs combine to make men believe that they have the right to make
verbal and physical advances to women in the workplace” (Dimensions of Gender
Inequality). In addition, an experiment happened in early 2017 that
demonstrates how society treats women differently. This experiment started
after a female’s male coworker was emailing a client and had accidently signed
off with her name (Nicole) and once he realized and reintroduced himself he was
being treated much better than when he had his female coworker’s name. Then,
they decided to switch names for a week. He realized that when their boss
criticized her on taking too long on clients that the reason was that she had
to gain their respect and show them that she knew what she was doing. He
concluded that while having her name, it was the worst week of his life and
that he was constantly being questioned and was even asked if he was single
once. On the other hand, his female colleague claimed it was the “most
productive week” of her life. Afterwards, he stated that “his technique and advice never changed.

The only difference was that he had a man’s name now” (Rodionova, Z.). He even
said that, “he wasn’t any better at the job than she was, he just had
this invisible advantage” (Rodionova, Z.). Nicole claimed that she was used to
being treated the way she was while working. The problem with this
situation is how society views working women. They see female workers as less
aggressive and question their knowledge on what they’re doing. Women are looked
at sexually rather than professionally which leads to major lack of respect.

The
Symbolic Interactionist perspective views society as a product of everyday social interactions of
individuals. “This
perspective focuses on social interaction in the workplace, on how employees
respond to problems in their workplaces, and on how they perceive the work they
do” (Emerson, J. P.; Mauno, S., Kinnunen, U., & Feldt, T.; McGuire, G. M.;
Rubinstein, J.). This perspective combines both the functionalist and social
conflict perspective. It views problems case by case to find a solution. Certain
situations may be perceived as gender discrimination or unequal treatment when
in fact that may not even be the case. For example, a woman could be interested
in a certain job or field such as mechanics or engineering that just happens to
be more male dominated. Therefore, that could lead to her conclude that that
the company is sexist or doesn’t like hiring women (when that may not be it at
all) which could lead her to go with a different company or even pursue another
career. Another scenario could be that a woman who works for or wants to work
for a company that just happens to be more male dominated it could potentially
lead to a higher risk of sexual harassment or gender discrimination because of
the fact that the company is more male dominated. Therefore, if she was to
complain to her male boss, for example, about being sexually harassed or
treated unequally he may not take it as seriously and may not end up doing
anything about it. In which case, she unfortunately would probably quit her job
and have to start all over somewhere else. “Although work can and does bring the many benefits assumed
by functionalist theory, work can also be a source of great distress for the
hundreds of thousands of women and men who are sexually harassed every year” (Emerson,
J. P.; Mauno, S., Kinnunen, U., & Feldt, T.; McGuire, G. M.; Rubinstein, J.).

                        To conclude, I found that this topic
could have more recognition that it does, although there is definitely more
recognition than there used to be on it. I was also shocked by some of the
results in studies that I found that occurred in 2017! I was surprised at how
often gender inequality is still occurring. I believe that it is most important
that the newer generations are aware of this topic so that it is known and we
can bring the changes that need to happen in order to put an end to it. It is
so important that everyone has a voice in such a big world. If we don’t speak
up about issues we care about there will be no change. It can make a big
difference in someone else’s future if one day, even just one person decides to
stand up for what they believe in and make a difference. It can just start with
one person but it won’t stay like that, others will follow after. If gender
inequality no longer existed, it would benefit everyone, not just the people it
is affecting. I know that we will see gender equality one day, it just might
not be for a while.

References

 

Ahn,
Lauren; Ruiz, Michelle (2017, October 07). Survey: 1 in 3 Women Has Been
Sexually Harassed at Work. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/career/news/a36453/cosmopolitan-sexual-harassment-survey/

 

Boundless. “Sociological Perspectives on Gender Stratification.”
Sociological Perspectives on Gender Stratification | Boundless Sociology,
courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-sociology/chapter/sociological-perspectives-on-gender-stratification/.

 

Dimensions
of Gender Inequality. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2017, from
https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_social-problems-continuity-and-change/s07-03-dimensions-of-gender-inequalit.html

 

Emerson,
J. P.; Mauno, S., Kinnunen, U., & Feldt, T.; McGuire, G. M.; Rubinstein, J.

(2016, March 25). Social Problems: Continuity and Change. Retrieved November
26, 2017, from

12.2 Sociological Perspectives on Work and the Economy

 

Josh.

(2017, April 13). Gender Inequality and Women in the Workplace. Retrieved
November 25, 2017, from
https://www.summer.harvard.edu/inside-summer/gender-inequality-women-workplace

 

Rodionova,
Z. (2017, March 10). Gender Inequality: What happened when a man and woman
switched names at work for a week. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/gender-inequality-man-woman-switch-names-week-martin-schneider-nicky-knacks-pay-gap-a7622201.html