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Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE Gender Inequality in the Workplace


Joanne Gill


SOC 307: Gender and Sexuality


Instructor: Nadia Khrais


November 28, 2016 1 Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY 2 Gender Inequality in the Workplace The glass ceiling is a barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting


women and members of minorities (Jones & Palmer, 2011). The glass ceiling is the


?attitudes and practices that keep women in many organizations and professions out of


the most powerful, influential, and prestigious positions because they are assumed to be


unfit for leadership. The tendency to see women as less competent than men and their


accomplishments as less worthy and significant is a prominent component of the glass


ceiling? (Beyond Bias and Barriers, 2007). Despite our many advances women still


struggle to break this ceiling, this inability results in women remaining in a disadvantaged


position. Sexism, discrimination, and family responsibilities


The Equal Pay Act of 1963 states;


?No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall


discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between


employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employee in such establishment at a


rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such


establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY 3 effort, and responsibility (SEC 206). Despite the existing laws, sexism and discrimination


still occur.


Sexism in the workplace ultimately affects the morale of its victims. Women who


suffer this type of injustice are unmotivated to effectively perform their jobs. Offensive


jokes of a suggestive or sexual nature and jokes imply that an employee?s work is inferior


due to her gender inhibits productivity. It is imperative that women follow protocols to


report sexism in the workplace, zero tolerance and whistle blower laws have been enacted


to protect victims of discrimination.


Women may experience discrimination in the workplace prior to being hired or


when they are passed over for promotions. Women are passed over for promotions due to


preconceived notions about their abilities and roles. For example, the United States Air


Force, which is embodies masculinity has never, since its conception, in 1964, had a


female Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF).


Women with children also experience discrimination due to family


responsibilities. Some women may not make it past the hiring process as employers may


believe that she will be torn between her job responsibilities and taking care of their


family. Albeit this is an illegal practice, it still exists. Home and childcare responsibilities


According to Pew Research Center data; Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY 4 ?Women are most often the ones who adjust their schedules and make


compromises when the needs of children and other family members collide with


work show. A 2013 survey, found that mothers were much more likely than fathers


to report experiencing significant career interruptions in order to attend to their


families? needs? (2015). With the many compromises, women are forced to choose


to between their careers or their family, one suffers at the expense of the other.


Men, on the other hand, do not usually face family-related career interruptions.


The biggest struggle that working mothers face is finding adequate childcare. The harsh


reality is that childcare is not as simple as some think. Some of the problems these


working mothers face are;






III. Licensed child care facilities can be expensive and usually have age restrictions.


Religious organization may be more affordable but they have the disadvantage of


having rigid hours that cannot accommodate late night shifts.


A friend or family member is a great option if available, they can offer trusted


care, flexibility and low cost or free. Measuring gender inequality in the workplace


Two ways that we can measure gender inequality in the workplace are quantitative


and qualitative approaches. Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY 5 Quantitative methods of data collection produce measurable results, such as


percentages of women and men in parliament, male and female careers in Science,


Technology, Engineering and Math or wage rates (Demetriades, & Esplen, 2008).


?Qualitative methodologies capture experiences, opinions, attitudes and feelings ?


for example women?s experiences of the constraints or advantages of working in the


informal sector. Qualitative data can also be collected through surveys measuring


perceptions and opinions? (Demetriades, & Esplen, 2008). Workplace Policies


Workplace policies or benefits such as flextime, telecommuting, job sharing, parttime work, childcare, parental leave, help women in the workplace. Flexible workplace


policies allow employees, both male and female to achieve a satisfactory work-life




The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states;


?Numerous studies have found that flexible workplace policies enhance employee


productivity, reduce absenteeism, reduce costs, and appear to positively affect


profits. They also aid recruitment and retention efforts, allowing employers to


retain a talented, knowledgeable workforce and save the money and time that


would otherwise have been spent recruiting, interviewing, selecting and training


new employees? (2009). Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY 6 In particular, these policies help support women, especially those with children by


enabling them to join and stay in the workforce without neglecting their childcare


responsibilities. These policies level the playing field so that women are able to compete


with men. International Comparison


Family policies are important because they affect health outcomes and reduce


wage inequities between women and men through increased job retention (Widener,




The workplace policies in Sweden are family friendly. on gender equality and workfamily reconciliation. The rationale for this is to help parents balance jobs and


responsibilities at home, and make it possible for women with children to remain in the


work force. For example, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a


child is born or adopted. This number is Sweden?s strongest argument when it comes to


being a child-friendly system. For 390 of the days, parents are entitled to nearly 80 per


cent of their normal pay (Abendroth,& Dulk, 2011).


The Unites States has introduced some initiatives of their own, such as the Family


and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which provides workers at companies of a certain size


with 12 weeks of unpaid leave (Eviston, 2011). While this means those individuals can


take the time off without fear of losing their job, in most cases the leave is unpaid. Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY 7 President Obama (2014) stated that, "The United States is the only developed


country in the world without paid maternity leave." The United States does not mandate


cash benefits for workers on maternity leave at the federal level, and just a small fraction


of its citizens live in states that require it or work for companies that provide it. In that


regard, the United States is very different than the rest of the developed world, where at


least some paid benefits exist in every country.


These policies reflect the importance that their respective societies place on gender


equality. The more restrictive the policy, the less that country allows for a balance


between family and work, the more disenfranchised the women of that population are.


Restrictive policies also promote the unequal distribution of a society's wealth, power,


and privilege between females and males. Policies such as the Family and Medical Leave


Act enable women to maintain their careers and a family life. Conclusion


Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn attribute the decrease in the female labor


force participation rate in the United States due to the lack of family-friendly policies


(2013). The mindset that men are the breadwinners is still prominent, things are slowly


changing, and people are beginning to acknowledge that women deserve all the same


opportunities as men. Public policies that allow women to enter the workforce and remain


employed despite obligations to their family, is one step in the right direction. Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY 8 References Abendroth, A., & den Dulk, L. (2011). Support for the work-life balance in Europe: the


impact of state, workplace and family support on work-life balance satisfaction.


Work, Employment & Society, 25(2), 234. doi:10.1177/0950017011398892


Beyond Bias and Barriers : Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and


Engineering. Washington, US: National Academies Press, 2007. ProQuest ebrary.


Web. 28 November 2016. Copyright © 2007. National Academies Press. All rights


reserved. on.


Blau, F. D., & Kahn, L. M. (2013). Female Labor Supply: Why Is the United States


Falling Behind?. The American Economic Review, 103(3), 251-256.


Demetriades, J., & Esplen, E. (2008). The gender dimensions of poverty and


climate change adaptation. Ids Bulletin, 39(4), 24-31.


Eviston, M. (2011). Front Pay under the FMLA. N. Ky. L. Rev., 38, 259.


The Equal Pay Act of 1963. Approved May 14, 1947. Retrieved from, SEC 206.


Jones, S. J., & Palmer, E. M. (2011). Glass ceilings and catlights: Career barriers for


professional women in academia. Advancing women in leadership, 31, 189. Running Head: GENDER EQUALITY US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2009). Employer best practices for


workers with caregiving responsibilities. Retrieved August, 6, 2009.


Widener, A. J. (2007). Family-friendly policy: Lessons from Europe-part I. Public


Manager, 36(3), 57.


Women more than men adjust their careers for family life. (2015, October 1). Retrieved


from PewResearch Center: 9


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