Gender Inequality in the United States for Years

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Gender inequality has been present in the United States for years. Women have been, and still are, mainly associated with the duties tied to their home. However, the role as the “homemaker” have limitations on women, causing them to experience dissatisfaction in their lives. Women are increasingly pushing against that stereotype, as shown by the increasing number of women, especially married women, that are joining the workforce. This allows women to steer away from being economically dependent on men, and increasing their independence.

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It is now more common for women to be “co-breadwinners” with her husband, or even the primary breadwinner in the family, showing improvement in the economic inequality, in regard to gender. Although women have made many strides to decrease the inequality between the two genders, there are still glaring inequalities still present, even in modern-day. The wage gap between working men and women has been fluctuating throughout the years, but men always make more than women. Working-class women didn’t have many career options back then, and although many job opportunities for women have opened up, women are still aren’t offered the same opportunities as men are, facilitating the wage gap to increase. There are occupations that have a mixed gender composition, but there are jobs that are dominated by males and ones that are dominated by females. In present day, women are still expected to be the keeper of the house, causing a strain in the lives of working women, who essentially work a “second shift” when coming back home. So, although women have made much progress in gaining their economic independence from men, they still endure many hardships that come with being a working woman.

One idea that was discussed in lecture that relates to the topic of gender inequality is the face that the older a woman gets, the larger the wage gap will be. As shown by the graph shown in lecture titled, “Women’s weekly earnings as a percent of men’s by age, workers aged 16 to 54 years, annual averages, 1979-2007” created by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women aged 45-54 years earn about 70% of men’s wages, whereas women aged 16-24 years earn about 93% of men’s wages. Another graph shown in lecture titled, “Median Usual Weekly Earnings of Women and Men Who are Full-Time Wage Salary Workers, by age, 2014 Annual Averages” also created by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, confirms this fact because the bar graph allows a direct comparison that magnifies the disparity in wages between men and women. This fact didn’t significantly surprise me because I initially assumed that the older a woman gets, the more likely she is to start a family. Women that have families are less likely to be able to work as many hours as men do, due to their familial duties and their title of the “homemaker.” These graphs confirmed my initial assumption because it shows that women aged 35 and older, which is the around the age most women have families, have the largest wage gap and those that are aged 16-34. However, this fact is concerning to me because the graph seems to imply that females will have to work to an older age than men before they can retire, which can come with a lot of physical and personal burdens, making me wonder if that’ll ever change during my lifetime.

Another topic that was discussed in lecture that also surprised me was that smarter women are less likely to be hired. In lecture, we discussed the study done by Natasha Quadlin, who researched the effect of “Gender and Academic performance in Hiring.” It was shown that the average grade of a potential male candidate will not affect if they will get called back, but women that average an A-/A are less likely to get called back. Instead, it was shown that there is a preference for B female students, and this disparity in grades was magnified when comparing female and male math majors that averaged an A. Females that averaged an A isn’t perceived as “social” and interviewers wanted to meet them in person to see if they were personable. Females that averaged a B were perceived to “enjoy their lives” and “sociable,” which is a significant contrast to female students that averaged an A. This fact surprised me because I didn’t realize that people use grades to predict one’s personality and social skills. Throughout our educational career, we are all encouraged to do our best and push ourselves until we succeed. Therefore, I always assumed that grades is a purely a reflection of one’s hard work and drive. However, after seeing this study, it seems like females are at a disadvantage, whether they work hard or not, which is extremely discouraging as a female because it seems that no matter how much progress society makes towards gender equality, females will forever be at a disadvantage.

These two ideas I have learned in lecture on this topic didn’t change my thinking on this subject. It confirmed my initial thinking on how society is very biased when it comes to gender, but surprised me because I never truly understood the extent of the disparity between male and females. I always assumed that women are at a disadvantage when it comes to meeting societal expectations, and the limitations present in the workforce, but I never truly understood the extent of the inequality that working women faced. The two ideas that I discussed previously opened my eyes to the reality that women face on a day-to-day basis. The statistics, shown through graphs and studies in lecture, really magnify the gender inequality present in modern society. These facts are extremely worrisome to me personally, because as an Asian-American woman, the challenges faced by white working women, are magnified for other working women in other minority groups, and I. I believe that these challenges will endure through time until those in society actively push for a change in societal expectations and further encourage full equality between the two genders.

Gender inequality has been present throughout the years, and has been magnified through statistics illustrated in the form of graphs and studies. The ideas discussed in lecture, older women experience a greater wage disparity and that smarter women are less likely to be called back to be hired, were both surprising and discouraging. When thinking about my future, these facts were worrisome because it seems like no matter much progress society has made towards gender equality, females will always be seen as subordinate to men. I believe that complete equality between men and women will not exist until the members in society all actively push for full equality. This call to action needs to start now, for the sake of future generations.

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Gender Inequality in the United States for Years. (2021, Mar 08). Retrieved from