Inequality in the WorkplaceToday’s women are giving men a run for their money. Two-thirds say that a high paying job is important to them, compared with 56 percent of men. And yet, women are not as financially successful as men. Many elements may contribute to that fact. Whether it being motherhood, and to not having the same safe work environment as men do. The different occupations have an effect on how the employees would be treated. Way too much is it assumed that this pay gap is not enough evidence of discrimination, but is instead an analytical artifact of failing to adjust for factors that could drive earnings differences between men and women off the charts. The workplace has come a long way, and is constantly undergoing change. In the 1960s and 70’s, airlines made flights more appealing, by sexualizing their stewardesses to attract a mostly male customer base. As part of this effort, Southwest Airlines flight attendants were required to wear hot pants and leather go-go boots. In many jobs, women were constantly objectified for their looks, not for their ability to handle anything to do with business and/or the challenging side of things. “Airlines hired women whom they believed represented ideal femininity. Chosen for their beauty and poise… the promise of a fresh-faced, kind, and accommodating stewardess was a staple of airline advertising” (282-283). Standards of appearance were strict. Disqualifications and pink slips were issued for women with big feet, chubby legs, poor posture, the wrong haircut, glasses, acne, short nails, imperfect teeth, not wearing makeup, or any flaws that the recruiters were able to identify within the first few moments of meeting the potential recruitments. They claimed that their objections toward broad noses, coarse hair and full lips were race-neutral but, of course, were not. When first hired in the seventies after numerous court battles, African American flight attendants were required to straighten their hair, while a ban on “hook noses” were used to exclude Jewish women. To also add to the ridiculousness, women had to wear girdles and were made to do routine weigh-ins and measurements of their hips, waists, breasts, and thighs. If there was any sign of weight-gain, they would be fired immediately. Body image plays a big role in bringing in business. An official for United Airlines says that “You run a $1.5 billion business, … and it boils down to whether some chicks look good in their uniforms. If you have a fat stewardess, people aren’t going to fly with you” (284).Back then, and even now but more commonly back then, women were mainly discriminated against in the workplace, for getting married, becoming pregnant or whoever reached their early thirties. Workplaces only wanted the best of the best employees, which were both physically attractive, and were able to do their jobs well. Women were also being discriminated for being mothers. The reason was that the majority of the people (men in the workplace) thought that if you were a mother, you would be so selfish, to leave your kids at home or with another person to look after them, when supposedly you were the ones who carried the children inside of you for the nine months, which means you also had to care and look after them. While on the other hand, if men were hard workers, they would be seen as dependent, masculine and a great provider for him and his family. This supposed conflict between work and marriage lives on today in the form of the debate over work/life balance, a problem that is almost always been seen as a “woman’s issue”, just like what was discussed in the above portion of this paragraph. If only in the mid 1960’s they had such things like the ideal worker norm, as Wade describes “the idea that an employee should have the ability to devote themselves to their job without the distraction of family responsibilities” (309). According to this logic, female workers are less than ideal to the extent that they sometimes need time off to do family related tasks like attending parent-teacher conferences, care for their sick children or grandparents who need 24-hour care, or to step in when day-care arrangements have fallen through, which prevents them to go above and beyond on their stated job responsibilities like coming in on short notice or being able to relocate across the country for the company’s sake. Wade had brought up the point that there are even differences in the pay gap between mothers and non-mothers. She quotes “All individuals with family responsibilities (and many without) often find themselves straining to live up to this ideal, but women bear the brunt of the clash between the ideology of intensive motherhood and the ideal worker norm. Because of this, women who have children face a motherhood penalty, a loss in wages associated with becoming a mother. In fact, the pay gap between mothers and non-mothers is larger than the one between men and women” (309-310). Interestingly enough, fathers don’t really seem to receive punishment or any type of penalties for being fathers and employees at the same time. Dads receive a “award” in some sense to married men who then become fathers, which shows that they are the “man of the house” and has what it takes to provide for his wife and kids, a sense of masculinity and recognition that they live for.The most sufficient measure of men’s advantage in the workplace shows in what is called the gender pay gap. In Gender Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, Wade includes in the definition of the gender pay gap “which is the difference between the incomes of the average man and woman who work full time” (285). “As of 2013, comparing full time working women and men, women earn $706, or about 82% of men’s wages. In other words, women earn $0.82 to every dollar a man makes” (285) The size of the pay gap varies to different policies and practices but is consistent throughout race, educational levels, geographic location, age and endless years of history. The gender wage gap is real even though many don’t see it—and hurts women in every workplace.Gendered job segregation is the practice of filling occupations with mostly male or female employees. We gender segregate almost everything, but especially jobs. Naturally, we just automatically assume certain jobs are reserved specifically for women, like teaching and nursing and other jobs are just for men like construction work and computer programming, which are jobs that require more brain power. Jobs aren’t necessarily specifically masculine or feminine, or is it acceptable to fill certain jobs with one sex and not the other. Instead, jobs are socially constructed in ways that suggest they are best suited for stereotypical women or men, while other features that would weaken that idea is ignored. For example, male insurance agents describe successful colleagues as men who love competition and have a “killer instinct.” Interestingly, an insurance salesperson also has great interpersonal skills and is able to communicate with trustworthiness, quickly form bonds with strangers, and can read a person’s emotions. But if the job was gendered female, we would likely see more of an emphasis on assertiveness and less on the exploitative nature of the job. We see gender segregation not just between occupations, between nursing and construction work, but are within them. If you look closely, there are many gender-neutral occupations that are also gendered segregated, but aren’t as obvious as begin a nurse who are generally always women, versus a construction worker who is almost always a man in society’s’ eyes. Take a waiters and waitresses for example. There are lots of them, but men and women work at different levels, or restaurants. Wade mentions that “servers at very expensive restaurants are more likely to be male, while lower-priced restaurants are more likely to be male, while lower-priced restaurants tend to employ women” (288) Beyond doctors, gender correlates with specialty. In department stores, employees are assigned to different parts of the store, depending on their sex: men in the large appliance or shoe sections, women in cosmetics, children’s clothing, or housewares. We’re committed to gendering work even when men and women are doing more or less the same job. Women are not as financially successful as men. That’s a fact. Whether it being motherhood, and to not having the same safe work environment as men do. From undergoing drastic changes, in the workplace, having to constantly keep themselves in the tip-top ideal body shape in order to attract business, and having to balance between being mothers and sadly enough, being penalized for it by having their wages being cut down, and losing their jobs, women have gone through alot to keep up with the struggles to keep up with inequality in the workplace. Inequality in the workplace is a serious topic that needs to be brought up more, if not, many women would always have to face the fact that things are never going to change, which needs to in order for them to not have a bad reputation like a selfish person.
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