Problems and Issues Research Essay
The topic choice in this research essay pertains to the psychological approach to gender inequality. Gender inequality is very prevalent in very many aspects, especially in the workforce. There are many examples that pertain to mothers, different cultures, and all types of women that lead to gender inequality in the workplace. There is a multitude of psychological concepts, culture and gender concepts, and personal accounts of gender inequality that are expressed in this research essay.
The problem with gender inequality in the workplace is that it gives women an unfair disadvantage just because of their gender. The unfair disadvantage that women possess is not fair and there needs to be something done to eliminate gender inequality as a whole, especially in the workplace. There are deeper problems that have to do with inequality as a whole, not just in the workforce that causes inequality in the workforce. Inequality comes from status and identity. There are psychological processes that are involved in persistent gender discrimination in the workplace and then the psychological effects it has on women once they have been a part of this. The process of gender discrimination is mainly carried out by Human Resources (HR) and although it is their job, they have a lack of involvement in gender discrimination because they do not see it as an important issue in most cases (Stamarski and Son Hing, 2015). When women are exposed to a more negative work condition, like gender discrimination, bullying, harassment, in the workplace, they are more likely to quit their job and not recommended their place of work to other females.
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This creates more workplace inequality because then there is a lack of women in the workforce. Women recognize their political consciousness of their gender, and therefore it impacts women more when there is discrimination in the workplace compared to men. Women know that it is more difficult than men to move up in a company, so it leads to women not believing in the ‘American Dream’ (Newman, 2016). Also, when women are worried about how a child will impact their career before they even have a child, it limits the ability that a woman can possess in the workforce, whereas men do not worry about these issues. These issues that are created because of gender inequality in the workplace have very negative effects on women, and some of the psychological issues can have a long-term impact. This essay will further acknowledge the issues that arise from gendered workplace inequality and possible solutions to resolve the issue.
Although gender inequality in the workforce is rooted in many problems such as the wage gap, psychological harassment and bullying, and motherhood, there is also the main root of this issue. The psychological concept of gender inequality reveals the main stressor to the problem of gender discrimination in the workplace. An article titled, Why and How Inequality Matters, states that inequality derives from status and identity (McLeod, 2015, 149). These issues resonate with mental health inequalities and result in gender inequality in the workforce. Gendered political consciousness is defined as the, “awareness of gender inequality, viewing this inequality as illegitimate, and supporting collective efforts to bring about greater gender equality” (Harnoise, 2016, 141). Because women have a high political consciousness for their gender, this also can be the main stressor for inequality and further explaining gender inequality in the workplace. An article published by Social Psychology Quarterly states that the political consciousness of gendered is facilitated by, “The positive correlations between women’s awareness of racial, ethnic, and sexuality-based inequalities and women’s gendered political consciousness, however, suggests that awareness of other inequalities” (Harnois, 2015, 382). These explanations for gender-based inequality, further explains the issues rooted in workplace inequality.
Gender inequality in the workforce comes from regular sexism discrimination because of the asymmetry through traditional gender roles as its core component (Vala and Verniers, 2018). The psychological component that comes from the persistent gender discrimination is enough to pull a woman out of a job and discourage her from wanting other women to join the workforce. A Psychology of Women Quarterly article states on the issue, “The stress associated with this psychological separation appears to reduce the likelihood that women will encourage other women to enter their field” (Hippel, Sekquaptewa, McFarlane, 2015, 412). When women are psychologically abused by discrimination in the workplace, they are less likely to join certain male prominent fields, further stressing gender inequality. Although companies have Human Resource position in place to protect a woman and anyone else affected by this psychological discrimination, they usually lack the necessities to protect and prevent this inequality from happening.
There are HR-related decisions that are supposed to protect women from the gender wage gap, the death of a women in leadership, and the longer time for women to advance in their fields, but most of the time, these HR representatives do not have the ability to help or the knowledge (Stamarski and Son Hing, 2015). When women do not feel as respected in the workplace they are not as likely to want to try to move up in a company and they also feel as if they can’t because of their gender. This term is called ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ and an article posted by the Midwest Political Science Association spoke more on the topic. The article states that “empowerment might suffer as women approach a topping-out point in relative economic earnings, and then subside as women achieve and potentially surpass parity with men” (Newman, 2016, 1010). When a woman feels less than a man because of the issues stated above, they are more likely to think they cannot achieve what a man can, causing psychological issues.
Although there is a lot of negative regarding workplace inequality because of gender, some countries have tried to fix this by implementing rules and regulations regarding gender discrimination in the workplace. The psychological workplace violence in Canada was very prevalent, and they were the first to implement the regulation in psychological harassment (Lippel, Vezine, Bourbannais, & Funes, 2015). Quebec, Canada ‘a province of roughly 8.1 million inhabitants’ was the first North American area to regulate psychological harassment in the workplace, primarily against women (Lippel, Vezine, Bourbannais, & Funes, 2015). More countries need to follow along with the regulation of gender inequality in the workplace because of the implications it causes a woman to develop.
The first interviewee is a middle-aged lesbian woman with a full-time job and no children. Her name is Rhianna Simard. The first question was, ‘Have you struggled in the workforce because of your gender or witnessed other women?’ She answered, “Yes, countless times. I have struggled not only from my gender but my lifestyle, yet always perform no different if not better than my male peers. Time and time again we can be told that there is no discrimination in the workplace, but time and time again the actions that are taken are based exactly on that. I believe no difference in gender and people should be given the chance to any position they wish. As they say, women are perceived as emotional, uneducated, don’t hold enough authority, yet I have seen so many male leaders be exactly that. I think we get lost in the workplace and coaching and mentoring gets lost, in order to be able to have less of a struggle women need to be guided, if not the male will always be the initial choice from my experience, that is unless they need to fill a quota” (R Simard).
My second interviewee is also a middle-aged woman with a full-time job and one child. Her name is Hannah Angstadt-Gunning. Her third question was, ‘Do you think that having children limits a women’s ability to excel in the workforce?’ Her response concluded, “I think there is a huge opportunity to support mothers in the workforce, and the lack of support does make being a mom who works a very challenging thing at times. Not that they can’t excel, but that it would be a lot easier with certain things in place” (H Angstadt-Gunning). Although the interviewees were different because of the lack of children from the first and the college education from the second, there was prevalent evidence in the interviews that exposed the issue of gender inequality in the workforce. Both saw inequality because of their gender and Angstadt-gunning was further exposed because of the hardships that follow along with having a child. They both believe in the need for companies to address gender discrimination because of how much it affects them.
The article, Workplace Psychological Harassment: Gendered Exposures and Implications for Policy, stated a possible solution for gendered inequality in the workplace. The article’s solutions are steered towards male and female differences and inequalities they possess in the workforce because of harassment/bullying. A possible solution to preventing psychological harassment is by, “developing policy protections and intervention strategies that take into consideration distinct needs and prevent priorities” (Lippel, Vezine, Bourbannais, & Funes, 2015). This would help to eliminate the problem before the problem even began. This would be beneficial because if the problem is eliminated before it even began, there would not need to be preventive measures taken after gender harassment and bullying occurred. Another possible solution is to design prevention programs to the needs of potential targets, particularly women.
This would also help ensure a work environment that does not harm a workers’ health by addressing the problem and preventative actions before the employee started the job. The article, PREPARING FOR PARENTHOOD? Gender, Aspirations, and the Reproduction of Labor Market Inequality stated a possible solution for gender inequality in the workplace. The article’s possible solutions are rooted in how possible parenthood affects how men and women plan their careers and the differences they possess. This creates gender inequality because men do not worry as much about possible parenthood as women do. When women worry, they do not think they can reach as many goals as men can. This article suggests that making work and family more compatible between men and women so that the conflict between the two does not create inequality. The conflict created from the lack of compatibility develops in a woman’s mind as they make career choices, so if these two were equal, the stress would not be there, lessening gender inequality in the workplace. This would also encourage younger women to join the workforce without the fear of parenthood messing it up.
The first interviewee, Rhianna Simard spoke on the topic of fixing gender inequality for everyone and particularly women in the workplace. The question that was asked was, ‘Do you think you can have the same opportunities as men in your company?’ She responded by saying, “I think I can, absolutely! That just doesn’t mean I will get it. I would like to think that I have the same opportunities within the company, but again referring back to how we coach and who we coach this may limit that actuality. Male leaders I believe at times have it rough when thinking about coaching a female leader, therefore, it may be easier to pick another male leader. This is what I see happens within my company, so without being coached you have females that are strong, resourceful, agile, and empathetic that get minimal coaching that could be just as prepared than another male candidate…The end result should be always that we can learn from each other always. It is important to always listen/look/and learn at the same time during your development to be the best that you can be regardless of gender. We were all created equal with beautiful minds that we choose how to use, and in choosing, everyone should be seen.” (R Simard). The second interviewee, Hannah Angstadt-Gunning proposed possible solutions to gender inequality in the workforce, particularly focusing on women with children in the workforce. A question that exposed a possible solution was asked, ‘What are some possible solutions to fix gender inequality?’ A possible solution from my interviewee was, “Equal pay first and foremost, higher accountability for companies and individuals to deal with issues of sexual harassment, and in the case of moms specifically, things like on-site childcare for employees, childcare subsidies to create affordable childcare options for everyone to make being in the workforce more realistic for moms” (H Angstadt-Gunning). The two interviewees acknowledge the need for solutions to gender inequality and the need for change.
- Angstadt-Gunning, H. (2019, April 3). Email.
- Bass, B. (2015) PREPARING FOR PARENTHOOD? Gender, Aspirations, and the Reproduction of Labor Market Inequality. GENDER & SOCIETY, 29(3), doi:10.1177/0891243214546936
- Harnoise, C. (2016). Intersectional Masculinities and Gendered Political Consciousness: How Do Race Ethnicity and Sexuality Shape Men’s Awareness of Gender Inequality and Support for Gender Activism? Sex Roles, 77, doi:10.1007/s11199-016-0702-2
- Harnois, C. (2015). Race, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Women’s Political Consciousness of Gender. Social Psychology Quarterly, 78(4), doi:10.1177/0190272515607844
- Hippel, C., Sekaquaptewa, D., & McFarlane, M. (2015). Stereotype Threat Among Women in Finance: Negative Effects on Identity, Workplace Well-Being, and Recruiting. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(3), doi:10.1177/0361684315574501
- Lippel, K., Vezine, M., Bourbonnais, R., & Funes, A. (2016). Workplace Psychological Harassment: Gendered Exposures and Implications for Policy. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 46, doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2016.05.001
- McLeod, J. (2015). Why and How Inequality Matters. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 56(2), doi:10.1177/0022146515581619
- Newman, B. (2016). Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Local Gender-Based Earnings Inequality and Women’s Belief in the American Dream. American Journal of Political Science, 60(4), jstor.org/stable/24877469
- Simard, R. (2019, March 20). Email.
- Stamarski, C., & Son Hing, L. (2015). Gender Inequalities in the Workplace: The Effects of Organizational Structures, Processes, Practices, and Decision Makers’ Sexism. frontiers in Psychology, 6(1400), doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01400
- Verniers, C., & Vala, J. (2018). Justifying Gender Discrimination in the Workplace: The Mediating Roles of Motherhood Myths. Plos One, 13(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0201150
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Problems and Issues Research Essay. (2021, Jun 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/problems-and-issues-research-essay/
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