Gender Inequality in Modern Society

Topics: Gender, Female, Male Pages: 5 (1582 words) Published: May 12, 2006
This study deals with gender inequality in the modern society and looks at the difficulties women face when they strive for equal success as their male counterparts. About seventy-five percent of the jobs in well-paid professions are held by men and even if women are able to get equal jobs they are still paid considerably less . The central question posed is, are there any differences in the aspirations and career goals between males and females? However, in order to fully understand stereotypical social values about sex-roles in our society, an analysis of the broader context, in terms of the findings of the research of experts in the field, is needed. Thus, this Literature Review discusses the research on gender discrimination in the modern society as well as what drives women into the workforce.

Joanne Naiman, Professor of Sociology at Ryerson Polytechnic University, who has written extensively on how the gender roles change in Canadian society, argues that "historically sociologists have suggested, amongst various other reasons that biological differences between men and women constitute as one of the main reasons for males having better job opportunities. Thus males were always branded the breadwinners of the family whilst a female's place was at home" . Studies by Joanne Naiman have shown that "during the latter half of the 20th century these views began to slowly change but still stained with the ideologies from the past they still exist at the brink of the 21st century" . Lawrence Pervin, Professor of Psychology at the Princeton University contends that "up until 1954 researchers tended to ignore female workers as subjects of their research. From 1954 to 1966 sex-role measures developed. From 1974 to 1982 androgyny was established as sex-role ideal" . Another psychologist and prolific writer, Carol Gilligan stated that "as far as management motivation is concerned most of the recent studies show that there is very little difference in the aspirations and goals between males and females" . A number of researchers agree that historically males have shaped the society in which we live. The policy-makers have almost always been male and therefore it is not surprising that our society mirrors those ideas, which exist as a result of this male-domination.

Researchers David Bender and Bruno Leone state that women are manipulated into pursuing careers of a certain kind when companies do not give maternal leave or subsidized child care for working mothers. Over half of working mothers in North America have no rights for maternal leave. "Even in more recent times when the line between job opportunities amongst the genders is ever fading, a secretary or nurse or most of any other jobs which required supervision is still engraved into society as a females role" , says psychologist Carol Gillian. An example of this is from case study of professor at Ryerson Polytechnic University, Mustapha Koc, where Mary was given the responsibility of being the secretary, accountant and packaging department of the family business while her husband was the boss. This showed that even though they were husband and wife and could have shared all responsibilities equally, Mary was content to play the role society had outlined for her. Mary also became a housewife and quit her job at the bank without much debate when her children were born. This is because of the norms society had laid down.

However, other researchers dispute this opinion by suggesting that social values are changing in North America as well as in the rest of the world. Worsening economic conditions, need for two incomes per family, rising divorce rates, and insecurity in marriage are prompting women to plan and prepare for a career. Younger women realize that they are more likely to satisfy their survival needs directly through their own earnings rather than indirectly through the income of their spouses. Helen Astin, professor of higher education of the Higher Education...

References: 1. Bender,David Male/Female roles - opposing view points . (1999 October 29th). Toronto Star
3. Pervin, Lawrence A (1990). Handbook of personality. New York
6. Astin, Helen S (1984). The meaning of work in women 's lives: A sociological model of career choice and work behavior.
7. Lott, B.E (1987). Women 's Lives: Themes and variations in gender learning. Montray, CA: Brooks/Cole.
8. Betz, N.E. (1981).A self-efficiency approach to the career development of women. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 18, 326-339.
9. Clarice A. Auluck-Wilson (1995). When all the Women lift. Signs, 20, 130-138.
10. Mernissi, Fatima. (1975). Beyond the veil. New York, Wiley.
11. Drolet, M. (Ed.). (2002). The male and female wage gap Vol. 29-35). Statistics Canada.
12. Whiston, S.C. (1993).Self-efficacy of women in traditional and non-traditional occupations. Journal of career development. 19, 175-185.
13. Jacob ,Jerry A. (1992) Women 's entry into management: Trends in earnings, authority and values among salaried managers. Administrative Science Quarterly, 37, 2, 282-301
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