Gender Inequality in the Workplace

This is FREE sample
This text is free, available online and used for guidance and inspiration. Need a 100% unique paper? Order a custom essay.
  • Any subject
  • Within the deadline
  • Without paying in advance
Get custom essay

Gender inequality is the idea and situation that men and women are not equal and refers to unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals wholly or partly due to their gender. Gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace can arise in different ways. Many countries admit that gender inequality must be stopped, but it is still a huge issue today, especially for women. In most cases, the attitude of higher powers was prejudiced against victims, primarily women. This attitude makes an unsympathetic working environment for those resulting in want of motivation in victims.

Women have experienced a historic situation of inequality in the social as well as professional aspects. Women are normally the ones that would take care of children, do the chores in the house, and in rural areas; they would work in the field with the rest of the family. However, today’s women have become more self-sufficient and independent from the predominant male figure within every historical family. Gender inequality in the workplace is becoming less common; yet, gender is a factor that affects men and women.

Especially women have been subjected to a historical discrimination that has influenced society to decide which job is more suitable for women than men. However, women have confronted and tried to break down the barriers that impede them from doing the same work as men. Women and men should be given the same kind of job without any discriminatory distinction, and the same average wage for the same comparable job; because even though it complies with the civil right of every individual male or female, it gives place to more development and shrinks even less the wage gap in society.

Since the beginning of history, women have been known as the weaker sex. This misconception had shaped the model for a system dominated by men; and nowadays, that notion is no longer true, but the old customs and ideas influenced our government, and had produced a system where women are not equal to men, creating, thus, gender inequality in the workplace. Gender inequality carriers to the workplace, inefficiency, dissatisfaction and instability because salaries are the reward for a well-done job; when employees perceive that they are not being rewarded for their performance, they become uneasy and this affects the quality of their job.

Women and men should receive similar pay for the same comparable job, equal pay for equal work. Men and women doing the same job with the same seniority, performing the same work equally well but with different pay is known as comparable worth (England, 2006). The government has established laws that prevent employers from discriminating against opposite genders. Women are being treated unfairly in a way that they are paid and are usually given the same jobs men are to do, and it is unfair that they are underpaid.

Comparable worth is also called “within job discrimination” which has been illegal in the United States since the 1963 Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When it comes to hiring, initial job placement, and promotion there tends to be a wage discrimination, which is also referred to “allocative discrimination”. However, allocative discrimination is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (England 2006). Employers refusing to hire women seeking dominantly male jobs is one reason for occupational sex segregation.

Here are some examples of comparable worth: in Denver, Colorado, the city was sued by nurses who claimed that they were paid less for their job than males who were tree trimmers and sign painters. In San Jose, California, women discovered that secretaries were not earning as much or more as male jobs that only required no more than an 8th grade education, including, for example, washing cars for the city.

San Jose did a job evaluation study which showed that nurses earned $9,120 less annually than fire truck mechanics and that legal secretaries earned $7,288 less annually than equipment mechanics (England 2006). There are two explanations of higher percent of female workers with low wages. The first explanation is compensating differentials, which means that full pay of a job consists of both pecuniary (wage) and nonpecuniary compensation; the utility experienced from doing the work itself (England 2006).

The lower wage jobs tend to be the less hazardous and more comfortable jobs, which also tend to be filled with women. the second explanation of lower wages for women is crowding. It is argued that women’s jobs are paid less because they are crowded (Bergmann 1986, England 2006). Women face sex discrimination pursuing dominantly male occupations in hiring which leads to a supply of applicants for dominantly female occupations. Researchers are led to conclude that wages are set lower by employers when jobs are filled mostly with women.

Human capital theories refer to the education, knowledge, training, experience, or skill of a person which makes them potentially valuable to an employer. This has historically been understood as a cause of the gendered wage gap but is no longer a predominant cause as women and men in certain occupations tend to have similar education levels or other credentials. Even when such characteristics of jobs and workers are controlled for, the presence of women within a certain occupation leads to lower wages. This earnings discrimination is a part of pollution theory.

This theory suggests that jobs which are predominated by women offer lower wages than do jobs simply because of the presence of women within the occupation. As women enter an occupation, this reduces the amount of prestige associated with the job and men subsequently leave these occupations. The entering of women into specific occupations suggests that less competent workers have begun to be hired or that the occupation is becoming deskilled. Men are reluctant to enter female-dominated occupations because of this and similarly resist the entrance of women into male-dominated occupations.

The competing interpretations in the literature on occupational sex composition effects are that women’s work is deemed less important and thereby culturally devalued and that female jobs require fewer substantial investments, in specialized skills, on average (Tam 1997?). The devaluation hypothesis is a special case of discrimination against women and all workers were subject to the devaluation effect in a female occupation.

In disparity, the specialized human capital hypothesis states that wage penalties were against the female occupations because of occupational differences in technical training. While women and men attend college, social control resumes during higher education. The educational system is believed to help our society for promoting opportunities for all, although men and women pursue different majors. Although the field of study is an important component of gender tracking it does not require a decisive component.

The gendered income disparity can also be attributed in part to occupational segregation, where groups of people are distributed across occupations according to gender. Occupational gender segregation can be understood to contain two components or dimensions; horizontal segregation and vertical segregation. With horizontal segregation, occupational sex segregation occurs as men and women are thought to possess different physical, emotional, and mental capabilities.

These different capabilities make the genders vary in the types of jobs they are suited for. This can be specifically viewed with the gendered division between manual and non-manual labor. With vertical segregation, occupational sex segregation occurs as occupations are stratified according to the power, authority, income, and prestige associated with the occupation and women are excluded from holding such jobs.

The glass ceiling effect is also considered a possible contributor to the gender wage gap or income disparity. The glass ceiling, a phrase first introduced in the 1980s, is a metaphor for the invisible and artificial barriers that block women and minorities from advancing up the corporate ladder to management and executive positions. This effect suggests that gender provides significant disadvantages towards top of the job hierarchies which become worse as a person’s career goes on. The term glass ceiling implies that invisible or artificial barriers exist which prevent women from advancing within their jobs or receiving promotions.

These barriers exist despite the achievements or qualifications of the women and still exist when other characteristics that are job-relevant such as, experience, education, and abilities are controlled for. The inequality effects of the glass ceiling are more prevalent within higher-powered or higher income occupations, with fewer women holding these types of occupations. The glass ceiling effect also indicates the limited chances of women for income raises and promotion advancement to more prestigious positions or jobs.

As women are prevented by these artificial barriers, from wither receiving job promotions or income raises, the effects of the inequality of the glass ceiling increase over the course of a women’s career. In top levels of business organizations women are belittled.3 Among societal barriers were those associated with opportunity and attainment, prejudice and bias, and cultural, gender, and color-based differences. Regarding these barriers, the commission stated that while leadership cannot make society blind to culture, gender, or color, it can demand and enforce merit-based practices and behavior within a company. The commission believed that these actions alone would substantially diminish the power of stereotyping.

In addition, a host of career pipeline barriers impede the progress of women to the top. Among these are a lack of mentoring, initial placement in dead-end jobs, different standards for performance evaluation for women and men, and little or no access to informal networks of communication. Breaking the glass ceiling is complex and requires action on several fronts. Federal and state governments, employers, academic institutions, and women themselves are essential players in breaking down barriers that are holding women back.

Government has many tools at its disposal to addresses current barriers in the workplace that hold women back. The government can act as a catalyst for promoting gender equality perspectives and practices by heightening awareness of gender inequality, the benefits of gender equality, and the adverse impacts of gender inequity on women, children, families, communities, the business sector, and the nation. Governmental policy and legislation can dismantle discriminatory practices and artificial barriers, and programs and projects can further the understanding of the best interventions for breaking down barriers. In addition, monitoring and enforcement of existing legislation against gender discrimination must be real in order to break down barriers that hold women back.

Statistical discrimination is also cited as a cause for income disparities and gender inequality in the workplace. Statistical discrimination indicates the likelihood of employers to deny women access to certain occupational tracks because women are more likely than men to leave their job or the labor force when they become married or pregnant. Women are instead giving positions that dead-end or jobs that have very little mobility. Mothers take penalties in hiring, starting salary, and perceived competence while fathers can benefit from being a parent.

In the United States, studies have shown that women suffer, on average, a 5% per-child penalty after controlling for the usual human capital and occasional factors that affect wages (Correll, Benard, and Paik 2007). Survey research finds that mothers suffer a substantial wage penalty, although the causal mechanism producing it remains elusive. The authors employed a laboratory experiment to evaluate the hypothesis that status-based discrimination plays an important role and can audit study of actual employment to assess its real-world implications.

In both studies, participants evaluated application materials for a pair of same-gender equally qualified job candidates who differed on parental status. The laboratory experiment found that mothers were penalized on a host of measures, including perceived competence and recommended starting salary. Men were not penalized for, and sometimes benefited from being a parent. The audit study showed that actual employers discriminate against mothers, but not against fathers. Women suffer from these “motherhood penalties” because it is cultural understood that mothers are less competent and less committed to their jobs than men are (Correll, Benard, and Paik 2007).

Fathers are not expected to experience these workplace disadvantages because being a good father is not seen in our culture as incompatible with being a good worker. It is unfair that women, specifically mothers, suffer a wage penalty for simply being a mother. Logically, a mother would need to make more money to support their child, and because a woman is a mother does not make them less qualified for the job.

What’s holding women back? In 1995 the Glass Ceiling Commission report identified four categories of barriers that were preventing women from achieving upward mobility into senior and executive management. These included societal, governmental, internal business, and business structural barriers. These barriers continue today to be the leading obstacles in women’s upward mobility into senior management ranks.

For example, an out-of-date social support framework was cited by the Joint Economic Committee as a principal impediment to women’s upward mobility. A patchwork social support system exists that impedes women’s progress “particularly in the work-family arena, where the United States offers virtually no institutionalized support for working families, means that America’s economy suffers as women struggle to balance demands from work and demands from home.”

This same report noted that the US approach to federal paid parental leave is in stark contrast to peer country members in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where the average length of job-projected leave for new parents is 18 weeks, compared to the United States’ 12 weeks. Beginning in January 2011, the United States was the only OECD nation with no required paid parental leave.

The lack of flexible work arrangements is another reason women are being held back. Women in American society typically assume the principal role for early caregiving. Yet the early care system in the United States remains underdeveloped and underfunded. In addition, women’s role as caregiver extends to that of aging parents or family members. Caregiving extends over a women’s lifetime and her career with little support available for this caregiving role. As a consequence, women frequently have to take time out from their career to fulfill the caregiver role. Women continue to pay a high penalty for “off-ramping” and leaving their careers. Such off-ramps keep women from taking or being considered for promotional opportunities, and when they do re-enter the career stream, it is difficult for them to gain momentum and parity in promotion and earning power with their male counterparts.

The wage gap continues to be a reality for working women. The Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress cited potentially discriminatory wage practices as one factor contributing to the gender wage gap. In the healthcare sector, ACHE reported in 2006 that 29 percent of women said they failed to receive fair compensation because of their gender. This percentage was lower than in 2000, when 43 percent of women felt they did not receive compensation equal to that of men.

The same ACHE report stated that 69 percent of women, compared to 86 percent of men, believe there is gender equity in their organization. Women in healthcare noted that they are still locked out of the informal networks that are important pipelines for promotion. “Men continue to interact with other executives informally to a greater extent than women do. For example, 48 percent of men compared to 33 percent of women have lunch with other managers at least monthly.”

Differences in confidence and career ambition between men and women have been cited as factors in preventing women from moving into senior and executive positions. An Institute of Leadership and Management study revealed that women managers are hampered in their careers by lower ambitions and expectations. Women often lack self-confidence and self-belief, which leads to less risk taking and more cautious career choices. On average, women lag three years in assuming management positions as compared to men who have higher career expectations and increased confidence. This study also found that women appear to have less career clarity and lower career ambitions than men. These findings compare to those of the 2006 ACHE report, which found that women had lower career aspirations than men, with 40 percent of women reporting that they wanted to assume CEO positions as compared to 70 percent of men.

Women often lack a sponsor who promotes and sells their skills and abilities to others in the organization and goes to bat in helping them climb the organizational ladder. A study launched in 2009 with support of American Express, Deloitte, Intel, and Morgan Stanley found that women either underestimate the role that sponsorship plays in career mobility or fail to cultivate it. The reasons for this vary from perceptions by women that getting ahead through connections is inappropriate to reluctance by both women and senior men to establish a sponsorship relationship because it can often be misconstrued as sexual interest.

Gender stereotypes and gender communication differences pose dilemmas for women as well. Gender typecasts create a double bind in which women can be penalized for displaying either too little or too much assertiveness, competitiveness, and independence. For example, women’s typical communication style is warmer, less directed, and more mitigated than men’s. This style of communication can lower perceptions about women’s abilities. However, if a woman exhibits too much assertiveness, which is contradictory to the stereotype, her influence and likability may be lowered. Women’s abilities are also judged differently than men’s. “People judge women’s abilities more harshly than men, holding women to a higher standard of competence and evaluating female managers and leaders more critically than their male counterparts.”

Gender inequality has come a long way. There is no sustainable development without gender inequality and from a development perspective, the world may miss accomplishable targets because of gender inequality. Women suffer disadvantages in the workplace by not getting hired, not getting promotions, and simply being a mother. However, gender inequality has improved from many years because of education and laws were put into place, but there is still a lot that needs to be improved. There are ways to improve gender inequality by women standing up for themselves. Women are a huge part of the task force and need to stand up for what they believe in. For women and men doing the same jobs and task deserve equal pay and benefits. Today, women are just as educated as men are and qualify for those jobs that men are dominated in. Women just need a chance to prove they can do it. Women need to be seen taking control of their opportunities and prove they can get the job done.


Cite this paper

Gender Inequality in the Workplace. (2021, Mar 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gender-inequality-in-the-workplace/



Is there gender inequality in the workplace?
Yes, gender inequality still exists in the workplace despite efforts to promote gender equality. Women are often paid less than their male counterparts and are less likely to be promoted to leadership positions.
What are some examples of gender inequality in the workplace?
Some examples of gender inequality in the workplace are the gender pay gap, the prevalence of sexual harassment, and the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions.
What are the causes of gender inequality in the workplace?
The main causes of gender inequality in the workplace are discrimination and a lack of flexibility when it comes to work-life balance.
What is the impact of gender inequality in the workplace?
The main effects of immigration are economic and social. Immigration can have a positive or negative effect on the economy, depending on the circumstances. Immigration can also lead to social tension and conflict.
We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Peter is on the line!

Don't settle for a cookie-cutter essay. Receive a tailored piece that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Check it out