Gender Discrimination

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Daniella Gutierrez
Professor Ghani
Social Problems
11/27/12

Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination has been a worldwide issue transcending various religions and cultures from the beginning of time. The discrimination exists based on differences between people of a different sex or gender. Although sex is a term based off of biological factors, gender is socially constructed which blurs the lines of discrimination. Today, the inequity of discriminations in America between men and women are often manifested predominately in the settings of employment and education. However, gender discrimination is not confined to those two circumstances. In the past, being a woman has meant less equality in political and religious state of affairs. In other countries and cultures, gender equality is much more relevant in all areas of life, but we will concentrate on this issue and how it affects us in the United States of America. In the US gender discrimination is illegal, but that doesn’t stop it from happening. Discrimination can happen subtly through sexual harassment, difference in admission requirements, and differences in educational programs and activities offered. According to a new study from Rice University, gender discrimination is one of the main reasons women choose to pursue careers in biology as opposed to physics. The researchers in this study asked how and why women feel more inclined to choose any other career apart from science or why they specifically choose biology. Men and women were interviewed and asked questions pertaining as to why this occurs. The study says, “During interviews, men almost never mentioned present-day discrimination, believing that any discrimination in physical science classes likely took place early in the educational history (primary school), which they believe explains women’s predisposition to biological sciences,” Ecklund said. “However, female scientists believe that discrimination is still occurring in present-day universities and departments”(Hodges 6). The findings indicated that half of the women scientists participating in the study said that at some point in their education they were discouraged from pursuing a career in physics. The women identified emotional affinity as one of the reasons they were discriminated against while men noted that there are neurological differences between the man and the woman, which was responsible for those women’s personal choices to not go into the field of physics. There is no specific one point in the education or work spectrum where gender discrimination is more augmented than in others. It is present in most, if not all fields. Another study done in 1997 at the University of Kentucky College explored gender discrimination in the medical education field. An anonymous self-report questionnaire was sent to senior medical students at fourteen U.S. medical schools. Both men and women reported gender discrimination and sexual harassment during their educational training. However, it’s important to note that more women reported signs of discrimination than men. The researchers write, “Women students perceived the prevalence of GD/SH to be significantly (p ≤ .001) higher in a number of medical specialties than did men. However, both groups believed these behaviors to be most common in general surgery and obstetrics-gynecology. Women perceived significantly more GD/SH in academic medical centers and community hospitals. Both groups perceived these behaviors to be significantly more prevalent in academic medical centers than in community hospitals, and more prevalent in community hospitals than in outpatient office settings” (Nora 1).

The types of discrimination from the education place to the work place don’t differ much. Discrimination in employment is undoubtedly one of the main areas we see the dominance of this issue. Sexual harassment remains one of the leading forms of...
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