Sex Discrimination

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Sex Discrimination

Despite Legislation for Equal Opportunities, sexism is still in evidence in the workplace.

Sexism is a particular concern for society when considering it's effect in the workplace. Sexism has always been a particular problem in the labour market especially with the formation of capitalism. In the last half of the 20th century this has been especially highlighted due to the increase of woman entering the labour market. This aroused the need for a legislation for equal opportunity for both sex's to be passed in 1975. It stated that discrimination of a persons sex whether male or female was unlawful in employment, union membership, education, provision of goods, services, advertisements and pay.

In this essay the discussion will cover subjects such as why woman hold a large percentage of the work force in companies but hardly any seem to have any power. Obstacles in the way of woman in careers, ifwomen prefer different jobs to men, equal pay for both sexes and what's changed since the law was made an Act of Parliament. This essay will only concentrate on the problem of sex discrimination in the U.K.

Sex discrimination means that a person gets treated in a less favorable manner because of their sex. A good example of this is to take two fictional characters, Mr. and Mrs. Jones. The Jones's want to go swimming, they get to the swimming baths where they find that Mrs. Jones is charged an O.A.P. price while Mr. Jones has to pay the full price even though they are both the same age. This is because woman become pensioners at the age of sixty while men cannot gain the benefits until they are sixty five.

Sex discrimination is not only present within the older generation but is also evident throughout the entire age range. Before legislation was passed in the 1960's most young girls left school after O-levels to receive a strong social message that their careers where already setup for them as marriage and motherhood (Pascall 1995: 2). The only jobs they would be getting were tedious low paid jobs (a Secretary) and be only looking forward to when they would meet a man, have a family and settle down. Statistics show that in 1971, 51% of married women did not work compared to 29% in 1993 (Pascall 1995: 3). Women now hold 46% of the labor work force, with young women seeing housework more of a part-time rather than a full time job. This is an enormous social change for the family giving women less dependence on marriages which are increasingly falling apart day by day and a greater command over the increasing area of technology and resources. With more women getting jobs, it encourages other woman who were reluctant to move into the labour market to do the same and become more career minded.

Although woman now make up 46% of the English work force only 3% of woman hold chief executive positions. This has only increased by 2% in the last 20 years (Mildrew 1992: 17). A point to be raised here is that as the hierarchy of management positions increases, the amount of women in these positions decreases. This quite clearly means that woman do not hold the prestige and influence that men do, as their sector of high ranking jobs is so small. We've all heard men say at some point, "I just don't understand women", yet there are only 5 woman High Court Judges out of 91 men and 28 women circuit judges out of 496 men in the Judiciary in 1993 (Pascall 1995: 2).

Thanks to media attention women do have access to careers. In 1980 woman made up 12-14% of professional and managerial jobs. In 1990 the figure had raised to 32% managers/administrators and 40% professionals. On the other hand women seem to fall into different sectors to men, they make up 62% of teachers and librianship but only 25% of business and financial professionals and shockingly only 5% of engineers and technologists. Teaching is a qualified position, 90% of primary school teachers and 60% of secondary teachers are women but 50% primary and 80%...
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