Gender inequality has never been a new thing in the United States. This cultural phenomenon has deeply rooted in people’s minds and has been affecting their behaviors for a really long time. Gender inequality generally defines as that men and women in some way are not equal. Gender inequality recognizes gender inequality and gender influences an individual’s life experience. These differences stem from the distinctions in biology, psychology, and cultural norms. Some of these differences are based on experience, while others seem to be socially constructed.
The differences between gender and sex are that gender tends to represent the social and cultural roles of each gender in a particular society. People usually develop gender chrematistics based on their own environments like family interaction, peers, and education rather than purely by biological differences as sex are. Gender is the basis for the persistence of structural, institutional inequalities and also is the structure of all our societies institution or a system like education, family, economy, law. Social institutions are powerful social and cultural channels existence is to satisfy our collective needs. “In the United States, we socialize people into the binary gender system through our social institutions and then channel them into differently valued activities, attributes, and pursuits.” (textbook p 421)
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The gender equalities or the gender gap are measured as differences in health care condition, education, income, and politics participating. The education system is an important source that represents gender inequality throughout American society and globally. Historically, girls in a family are less likely to get an education because they are expected to be wives and mothers who stay at home and taking care of kids. The gap in education is also shown in the primary and secondary level. The school has unofficial norms that are called the “hidden curriculum” that boys are more likely to get attention from teachers and even will dominate the class discussions
The gender inequality in the workplace even is worse. In the lecture slide, the study of Women’s Earnings as % of Men’s for full-time year-round work, from 1951-2013 shows that women usually receive only 60% ~ 70% of men’s full-time salary. Even the 2007-2010 Great Recession has different effects on men and women. During the recession, men lost more jobs but experienced a more stable recovery. 20% of women work part-time because they are not able to find full-time jobs at the start of the recession. Overall women’s unemployment rate is lower than that of men, and they are less likely to become long-term unemployed. Statically speaking, women have earned more bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees than men. Yet women in the U.S. workforce still earn less than man.
Although the education level of women is higher than men, accounting for nearly half of the labor force, women’s promotion at work is much lower than that of men. We know this because in the S&P 500, women account for less than 5% of CEOs, and less than 10% of women are top income earners. The situation with colored women is even worse, as they are barely visible on the S&P 500 Index Board and the Fortune 500 Board. There is also a fact that women are more likely to accept the paying employer offers rather than negotiating for a higher pay they deserve. This is because when women are asking for higher pay, they are usually viewed as greedy and desperate and gradually they are fearful of asking for higher pay that they are worth.
Two possible reasons for an employer are not willing to promote women. First is the lack of female role models in the workplace, women sometimes are afraid to move into higher executive roles because they feel the position is unattainable, however, a female executive role will give women motivation and confidence for herself to work harder to get a promotion. The second reason is that for women with an age of 30 or more are most viewed as wives and mothers. They are required to look after kids and prepare meals and work at the same time. A tremendous amount of pressure of doing good at home and work is stressing them out. For this reason, women are being asked too much and the employer will view them as not the best person to be in executive positions except single women.
One thing I found interesting during the lecture is the video that does research on giving kids boy toys or girl toys without knowing their true sex. This reminds of me that most parents are doing exactly the same thing. They are shaping children’s preferences on almost everything. People often recognize pink as girl color but blue or black as boy colors and sometimes will reject their kids if they are liking the things don’t belong to their sex. For example, if a boy likes to wear girl clothes, his classmates will laugh at him, his teacher will not like him, his parents will stop and shout at him but I think we are supposed to give everyone freedom to do the thing they like, not making them another stereotype. Gender inequalities also apply on this, boys that like girl stuff is more likely to get criticism than a girl like boys stuff simply because boys from infancy are being forced to enact with correct values, get the right education. However, girls are not likely to draw parents’ attention to such a thing.
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