Final Paper: Gender Discrimination in HR
Gender discrimination has been an issue for many years in our society. Gender, is referred to “the personal traits and social positions that members of a society attach to being female or male” (Macionis, 2008). Throughout history and till this day, there has been unequal distribution of power, wealth, and privilege among men and women especially in the work place. A functionalist might say that there is a function for the gender differentiation. There are jobs that need to be done, where some are more suitable for men than women and vice versa. On the contrary, a conflict theorist would reply that women have low status because they have been exploited by powerful men for the work they do and the children they provide. The difference between male and female is socially created and defined by numerous types of cultures.
In our society, males are sought to be as the provider of the household who work to support their family, maintain control, they’re “active,” and “competitive.” Therefore, men are encouraged to hold leadership positions and play sports. Whereas women are the caretakers of the children and family, they do the housework, they’re more “submissive,” “passive” and “emotional.” In turn they’re expected to stay home, be supportive helpers, and be quick to show their feelings, as stated in the textbook. According to Martha C. Nussbaum, in her book, Women and Human Development, she states that women “are treated as mere instruments of the ends of others - reproducers, caregivers, sexual outlets, agents of a family’s general prosperity.” They are not treated fairly with the respect they deserve from institutions and laws.
Gender inequality is predominately seen in the work force. The work performed by the two sexes is defined to be very different. The U.S. Department of Labor (2007) reported a list of the ten jobs with the highest concentration of women in 2006. Some of the occupations are preschool or kindergarten teacher, secretary or administrative assistant, child care worker, receptionist or information clerk, and further on. These jobs are occasionally at the low end of the pay scale, where women encounter fewer opportunities for advancement, and men are usually the supervisors. Men, nonetheless dominate the “manly work” as I call it. They deal with the heavy machinery, a huge percent of them make up police officers, firefighters, engineers, lawyers, surgeons, corporate managers, etc. To sum it up, jobs associated with a high income and prestige, are most likely obtained by the male figure. This can be easily seen throughout today’s society. “Female nurses assist male physicians, female secretaries serve male executives, and female flight attendants are under the command of male airplane pilots” (Macionis). Males are viewed as superior than women.
Not to mention that disparities in wage earnings between men and women still exist. “In 2006, women earned about 76.9 cents on the dollar of what men made, compared with 73.8 cents in 1996” (HR in HC, 2008). So although the Equal Pay Act has been in place for more than 40 years, in an attempt to create equal pay for equal work, women still managed to earn less. In healthcare, the human resources department tries to make sure that employees are treated equal under the implemented laws and their own policies. Through their process of hiring, training, and discipline, HR attempts to educate employees on what behavior is expected and accepted by the organization. Effective and enforced policies are set up as a defense to have nondiscriminatory employee treatment.
Gender inequality could also be noticed in politics and sports. Women back then were denied the right to vote because many people thought that their standards of intelligence or interest in politics were not sufficient enough. When it comes to sports, “In 1925, most people believed that the best women runners could never compete with men in a marathon” (Macionis). Even today, sports such as football, baseball, soccer, golf, etc. are mostly played by men. Although some women are involved in various sports, to some is not as fun to watch say a softball game played by young women, verses a baseball game by the Mets.
Evidently, gender inequality has been around for years and even though steps and actions have been taken to diminish it, society cannot get rid of it. Under Title VII gender discrimination is illegal, but although “discrimination based on sexual orientation is not prohibited under U.S. federal law,” (HR in HC, 2008) HR attempts to prevent it in the healthcare environment. Affirmative action has been put in place to give equal opportunities for women and minorities in the workforce and educational fields. Women are now able to vote. Title IX was established to discontinue discrimination against women in athletics and education. The Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and origin. In this 2008 presidential election we had the first African American (Barak Obama), and the first woman (Hillary Clinton) run as candidates to become the next president. Our society has come a long way, but we still have more work to do in an effort to reduce gender inequality socially, politically, and economically. BIBLIOGRAPHY:
1) Fottler, M. D., and Fried, B.J., eds. “The Legal Environment of HRM.” Human Resources in Healthcare, 3rd ed. (109-119). Chicago: Health Administration Press, 2008. 2) Macionis, John J. “Gender Stratification.” Sociology, 12th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 2008. 3) Nussbaum, Martha c. Women and the Human Development. UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.