It is often viewed as women living in a man’s world. This is surprisingly true due to women putting in the same work as men and still getting less wages. In order to grow as a country, women need to be equal to men. Sexism is still evidence in the workplace and in today’s society despite the battle that women are making for themselves. Sexism is a particular concern for society when considering its effect in the workplace. Sexism has always been a particular problem in the labor 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 labor market. This aroused the need for legislation for equal opportunity for both sex’s to be passed in 1975. It stated that discrimination of a person’s sex whether male or female was unlawful in employment, union membership, education, provision of goods, services, advertisements. Women hold a large percentage of the work force in companies but hardly any seems to pertain any of the power. There are many obstacles in the way of women in careers; women are in the quest for equal pay for both sexes. The pay should be the same for the same jobs, but many companies pay men a higher salary then women for the same job causing sex discrimination. Sex discrimination means that person gets treated in a less favorable manner because of their sex.
Sex discrimination is not only present within the older generation, but is also evident throughout the entire age range. It was not until 1963 that the Equal Pay Act was amended to help women get equal pay for equal work. Although this Act was passed by congress, women and minorities still struggle to make equal to what any man makes. According to the Huffington Post, women still only make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns. Also the median earnings for a woman is $37, 791 compared to the men’s median salary of $49,398. Before legislation was passed in the 1960’s most young girls left school after certain number of years to receive a strong social message that their careers were already setup for them as marriage and motherhood. The only jobs they would be getting were tedious low paid jobs such as a secretary or customer service.
With more women getting jobs, it encourages other women who were reluctant to move into the labor market to do the same and become more career minded. Although woman now make up 46% of the work force only 3% of women hold chief executive positions. This has only increased by 2% in the last 20 years. A point to be raised here is that as the ladder of management positions increases, the amount of women in these positions decreases. This quite clearly means that woman do not hold the status and influence that men do, as their sector of high ranking jobs is so small.
Thanks to media attention women do have access to careers. In 1980 women made up 12-14% of professional and managerial jobs. In 1990 the figure had raised to 32% managers or administrators and 40% professionals. On the other hand women seem to fall into different sectors to men, they make 62% of teachers and librarians, but only 25% of business and financial professionals and shamefully 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% secondary school heads are men. This is the same right the way across the spectrum
This segregation of gender in different jobs can be separated into two dimensions, vertical and horizontal. Vertical segregation is the segregation of gender in the hierarchy of power in a certain job. Women tend to be found at the low end of vertical segregation in professional occupations. Horizontal segregation is the segregation of gender in the spread of different occupations. Woman are usually found dominating teacher while men dominate engineering. Data from the Euro Stat Labor survey shows when woman break horizontal segregation by increasing their presence in a particular occupation, vertical segregation becomes securely established. This is shown by the fact 3% of all clerks and typists in 1911 were women. By 1971, the situation had reversed and women dominated this area. As soon as the number of woman increased, office work was down graded and became a low paid dead end job. The activities were broken down to suit what was thought as woman’s abilities.
The Sex discrimination Act is in power to help in a number of ways and lets them into previously closed doors. However due to the fact that most legal institutions are male dominated it is not quite as clear cut as it may seem on the outside. The law is often interpretated restrictively meaning a woman may have to fight an unequal battle with her employer and even if they come out victorious little compensation is received and she may be victimized at work in the aftermath. A major need for the discrimination act is to try to help break down the presence of what is known as the glass ceiling. This is where men get promoted and go further up the managerial hierarchy while women get to a certain position and cannot climb any further. Although they see the men climbing further up the company they cannot break the glass ceiling them. Unfortunately some men feel uncomfortable with women being their equals and since men dominate managerial levels they have much more control over people’s career beneath them.
If men do not realize women as their equals, then women are overlooked for transfer or promotion, find themselves directed into female job areas and are not offered a challenge. Men use strategies to cope with women such as patronizing them, not listening to them seriously, being over protective and shielding them from dangerous situations so they never have the knowledge of how to cope.
The employement Act 1978 gives women going through pregnancy and child birth the right to have time off with no loss of position. This is only given however to women who have a career involving full time and continuous employment and stops just 29 weeks after childbirth. Parental leave, flexible hours and care of the child in sickness and health are ledt for the employer and employee to discuss. This is a very complex problem because once a child is born it must have the proper care and attention. Nursery provisions for women who want to go back to work are appalling. Only 2% of work places have nursery facilities and the male dominated government seems to think that the problem does not exist! Taking into account that most women would like to have at least one baby, there is going to be a lot of women in low paid jobs. Even traditional women’s jobs, such as nursing, do not have a career that can comfortably take on board a woman with her offspring. Since for most women all this is a bit too much they will most certainly turn to part time employment, which will be punished by lower grading and pay. In 1975 the equal pay act came into power. This made it illegal to offer different wages for the same work on the grounds of sex. Men’s full time wages over woman’s fell drastically. The gap has been narrowing ever since. The New Earnings Survey shows that in 1980, men’s pay stood 40% more on average over women’s and in 1992 that gap had narrowed to 25%. Women in low paid jobs, where before were paid much less than men now have leveled up to the same wage or sometimes higher. However in highflying jobs there still is a large wage difference. The NES showed that women’s hourly earnings where on an average 70.9% of men’s in 1990.
The problem being is that since women go into different areas of work than men it may be very difficult to compare the skills and amount of work they do to claim equal pay.
We can see that even with the law, there is many loop holes that clever employees can seek. This is not the only thing that stands in the way of women who want a career. There is many obstacles or hoops that employers can get through to avoid giving equal pay to women. Although women are getting the same wages in low paying jobs, there is still a long way to go before women have equal wages in managerial jobs. The glass ceiling is preventing women from achieving high status professions.
Growing up with this personally, my mom had to deal with this situation many times. One in particular that cost her her career. To see this going on first hand makes me realize that this has been going on everywhere in our nation and it needs to be stopped.