Even though it is now the 21st century, men and women in America are still not treated equally especially in the workplace. There are many gender stereotypes resulting in gender inequality which negatively affects women in many ways such as unequal pay, discrimination at the workplace, lack of rights/opportunities, and oftentimes domestic violence.
From the moment we are born, we are treated differently depending on our gender. Girls are still looked down on for ‘not being tough enough’ or ‘smart enough’, but we continue to prove that theory wrong. We have already overcome the idea that women should stay home with the kids while the husband works, so why not change other expectations of how women should be treated opposed to men?
In Richard Dorment’s article he asked the important questions ‘Why don’t women hold more than 15 percent of Fortune 500 executive-officer positions in America? Why are they stalled below 20 percent of Congress? Why does the average women earn only seventy-seven pennies for every dollar made by the average man? (Dorment). Gender roles strongly impact inequality and create the behaviors and attitudes that are expected of males and females in societies all around the world. Considering men are oftentimes viewed as the leaders; and women as the followers, it’s easy for women to get discouraged.
Women have to work extra harder to receive the same opportunities that seem to come easily to men. In Sheryl Sandberg’s article What would you do if you weren’t afraid’ she stated ‘success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.’ (Sandberg, 642).
Unfortunately because of this, woman are sometimes held back because they fear being viewed negatively. Everyone knows there are many double sexual standards. Women seem to be judged a lot more harshly than men. I have personally seen the jealousy between women when one succeeds slightly more than the rest and oftentimes are confronted with negative remarks and comments, but when It’s a man in that position he’s applauded by all. Also, not to mention how there are more male leaders in the workplace than female leaders because they view themselves as so and are ‘more confident’.
It is apparent that society views males as being the dominant figures, and woman being the more docile, submissive sex. Maybe this is because for so decades it had been believed that women should be more ‘family oriented’ and men should be the ones who work. However, women have undoubtedly made sustainable educational process and go to college to get the same education as men.
Anne- Marie Slaughter believes women are more than capable of balancing both family and work. She stated in her article ‘Very few women reach leadership positions. The pool of female candidates for any top job is small, and will only grow smaller if the women who come after us decide to take time out, or drop out of professional competition altogether, to raise children’ (Slaughter, 5).
You would think that as far as Americans have come over the past couple of centuries, men and women would be paid equally. However, differences in the annual income between men and women still exist. On average, women earn less than men in almost every occupation for doing the same exact work. Gender discrimination is a major cause of this pay gap. A significant amount of gender inequality occurs in the workplace where men continue to make decently more than women for doing the same exact work. For example, in 2017 New York women had a median weekly earnings of $850 compared to $984 a week for men. It seems as though women have never received the same recognition as men.
There have been laws created to insure equal pay regardless of gender and to eliminate sexual discrimination such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which did improved this issue to an extent but still did not resolve it. The AAUW will be analyzing the pay gap in a report called ‘The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap which will demonstrate how this gap affects not only women and their families, but also businesses as well. Data collected in October 2017 shows that women accounted for just 25.3 % of board members in the largest publicly listed companies registered in EU member states.
In addition, very few women reach the highest positions in large companies: less than 1 in 10 companies have a female chair or Chief Executive Office (Experteer Magazine). According to IWPR (Institute For Women’s Policy Research) if change does not progress quickly it will take 41 years- or until 2059 for women to finally earn equal pay. To get even more specific, African American women will not reach equal pay until 2119, and Hispanic women won’t until 2224 if they’re lucky. How crazy is that? They also stated ‘In 2017, female full-time, year round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent’. This is just unjust and does not sit well with myself along with many others.
In the past couple years, more and more people have been speaking out against gender inequalities including celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Kerry Washington, Sandra Bullock, and dozens more. In a recent interview I saw, Natalie Portman revealed how she was paid three times less than her co-star Ashton Kutcher for the movie No Strings Attached. Some producers justify this because they believe female actors are replaceable in movies because they just stand behind a guy anyway, this is not right.
Emma Stone also spoke to Out magazine about the issue she faced filming Battle of the Sexes. She stated ‘I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily – that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, ‘That’s what’s fair.” (Hidalgo).
As you can see, there is a pattern with these movies I’ve mentioned. Both females are seen as a sexual object and are only depicted in that way.
This issue of inequality is not only relevant in the average workplace, but also among the entertainment industry well. Every time you go onto social media you can see there are more and more celebrities speaking out against these hidden gender stereotypes. Gender inequality and sexual harassment go hand and hand in this case given that regardless of where it is, men view women as sexual objects and don’t take them seriously. Within the past two years there have been many campaigns including the two groundbreaking anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment movements called Time’s up and #Me.too.
In January 2018, lawyer Roberta Kaplan co-founded the groundbreaking Times’s Up movement against sexual harassment among women in the workplace raising nearly $22 million as of October this year. Both overturned the public conversation about women’s issues around not only within the US but around the whole world as well.
They brought consciousness awareness surrounding the battles and opsticles women are constantly facing every single day both in their professional and personal lives. This was very successful considering celebrities are in the public eye and people tend to listen to them more and want to make a change along with them.
I believe both genders deserve all equal rights and opportunities. Gender inequality and discrimination should be a thing of the past and everyone can do their part to make this desperate change happen.