An Analysis of the Gender Discrimination against Women at Work in America: Discussion about the Social Norms and Recommended Solutions
Overview of the Gender Discrimination against Women at Work in America Introduction to the issue
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Jefferson, 1776, para.2). More than 230 years ago, this familiar line of Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence became the basic tenet of the foundation of the United States of America. The monumental document recognized that all human beings, women and men, are granted with equal rights to live their own lives and pursue their own happiness. In other words, no gender discrimination of any kind shall be practiced at all times in all fields. However, 230 years later after the Declaration of Independence was enacted, gender discrimination, especially the gender discrimination against women at work, is still a heated topic in the society and awaits resolution. Identification of the disparity
Gender discrimination, also known as sexual discrimination, refers to any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of socially constructed gender roles and norms which prevents a person from enjoying full human rights (World Health Organization, 2001, para.4). Simply speaking, discrimination means treating women and men differently not because of merit but because of sex (Murphy & Graff, 2005). In the workplace, gender discrimination against women specifically indicates the practice of letting the females’ gender become an unfavorable factor when deciding whether they can get the employment or promotion opportunity or other employment benefits (Murphy & Graff, 2005). In the power struggle between the two sexes, men are always identified as the privileged group due to the inveterate social norms people assigned to them. According to Gray (1992), men are like Martians who value “power, competency, efficiency and achievement” (p. 16). Obtaining their goals by themselves is of great importance to men in that this is a way for them to prove their competence and achieve self-worth, and thus, their independence and autonomy become “a symbol of efficiency, power and competence” (p. 16-17). On the contrary, stereotypes that people assigned to women make them the oppressed group in the power struggle between the two sexes. Since women are like Venusians who value “love, communication, beauty and relationships” (p. 18-19), and emphasize emotions, feelings and mutual sharing, and since women do not stress competence as much as men do, people usually take it for granted that women are less competent and less capable than men. All in all, the public’s stereotypes toward men and women give rise to the disparity between the two sexes in their social status and make them one privileged and one oppressed. Differential outcomes based on the discrimination
Gender discrimination against women at work has resulted in many differential outcomes which have been impeding women from getting equal treatment as men do for years. One of the most pronounced differential outcomes is employment opportunities. As Barry Deutsch implied in his “The Male Privilege Checklist” (2004), men’s chance of being employed for a job are probably “skewed” in their favor when competing against female applicants (para.10). Therefore, historically speaking, women are having a relatively lower employment rate than men based on sexual discrimination at work (United States Department of Labor, 2009). Even if women are indeed employed, chances are they probably will be paid less than their male colleagues (Murphy & Graff, 2005). The second differential outcome resulted from the...