When a child is born, an examination of their genital parts determines the sex of the child. The child is male, female or hermaphrodites/intersex. Hermaphrodites are subtle phenomena. Due to the bifurcation confinements of the society to only two distinct sexes, most of these kids undergo surgery to fit into one sex. Lorder elucidates gender as the psychological ideology that society has refined over time that defines the responsibility, privileges, and behavior of individuals in the context of their sex. Gender describes behavioral characteristics and traits that the society deem appropriate for a person of a particular gender in relations to their social interactions with other people of same sex and those of different sex (Lorber, 2012). Gender perceptions and norms have led to a stereotyping mentality which at times has disadvantaged the female gender as some social and cultural ideologies perceive females as a weaker gender and unfairly denies them access to equal treatment. Though great strides have been made in addressing gender inequality, most women are still faced with an unequal treatment at home and in their workplaces that disadvantages them from accessing equal opportunities as their male counterparts.
Gender inequality takes up different dimension from gender disparity in girl child enrollment into education and successive transition into the working force. Gender inequality is also tremendously witnessed in a family setting with male kids being prioritized compared to their female siblings. Traditionally society has viewed men as physically and mentally superior to women and women have been confined to the role of caregivers due to the perception that women are emotional beings and are thus unable to think rationally (Held, 1990). This perception has hold not only in social setting but also in the work environment. Gilligan elucidates of a situation in which a lady by the name Jenny is in a dilemma of whether to assist an opposing counsel by notifying him of a vital piece of evidence that would till the case to his favor and held his client evade a conviction or be mute and win the case herself. Her feminist nature to care is a weakness that others may exploit (Giligan, 1982). Most case women as depicted inferior due to this element of care and compassion in them.
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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment in workplace is delineated as any act, intentional or unintentional, of unwelcomed sexual impetus or improper solicitation for sexual benignity or any inappropriate sexual behavior around a work environment that may offend, denigrate or affright an employee. Women are the most affected group by sexual harassment in the workplace. This harassment is mainly conducted by the boss or senior staff and particularly directed to junior staff. In most cases, sexual harassments are lubricated and sugar coated by promissory of lucrative job placements, promotions, salary hikes and employment. These pervert employees use their position to prey on the vulnerability of the unemployed or their junior staffs.
Gender perceptions that women are weak and inferior amplify this kind of harassment. Senior employees may use their positions to intimidate junior employees into sexual harassment. Furthermore, these employees silence their victims by threatening them with comeuppance if they speak out on their ordeal. Most victims of sexual harassment do not report these cases as they are afraid of retribution from their boss as they might even lose their job. To aggravate the situation, society through a high gender insensitive lens view these victims not as victims but co-perpetrators.
These women after undergoing traumatizing ordeals in the hand of sexual predators are later branded as promiscuous and blamed for leading on their offenders. Studies conducted by McDonald show that most male sex harassers have justified their action by prejudicially blaming inappropriate dress code at work as the reason for their action (McDonald, 2011).
This kind of mentality degrades women and portrays a high level of gender inequality. It is an infringement of the right and body of the women. Through heavy lobbying by feminist activist, most countries have formulated legislations that prohibit and criminalize sexual harassment, especially at work. These laws provide a legal framework for victims of sexual harassment to find litigation.
Equal Pay for Equal Work.
The impact of professional women and business women is being felt all across global. Women are progressively making milestones in predominantly male fields and business. Women have risen to the highest levels in male-dominated professions ranging from engineering to military to aviation. Though the impacts of these strides are immense, they are still disparities in income between women and men doing the same job. The Equal pay Act of 1963 was a historical landmark victory for women and minority groups. The law illegalizes discrimination in income of individuals doing the same job by gender, race, or sexuality. This law offers a blanket of protection for women from discrimination based on gender in a matter related to income. This law protects women from the stereotype that men are more productive than females and thus deserve better pay. Research has demystified this perception as women have proven to be equally productive as men and even at times surpassing their male counterparts (Hirsch, Oberfichtner, & Schnabel, 2014).
Though even with the protection of this law, women are subjected to gender inequality in matters related to income. A study conducted in 2011 across America indicates that for every average dollar a man makes, women in the same field doing the same job make only 77 cents. This amount is even lower in Canada with the ladies earning only 72 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same job description and rank (Hirsch, Oberfichtner, & Schnabel, 2014). This gap in wages is not entirely attributed to gender but also to the fact that men have less family responsibility and therefore have more time at their disposal to increase their skill set through education and professional training. Men also are less considerate of their job convenience and would exchange an active coherent family life for longer working hours, lower safety standards and constant travel, just to earn an extra coin. This trade does not apply to women as they are sentimental about their home life than money (Hirsch, Oberfichtner, & Schnabel, 2014). Men are also perceived to be better bargainers than women thus successively bargain for better pay.
A paradigmatic shift in mind is essential to close the gender gap in income. Equality in income between all genders is not only the morally right thing but it also beneficial to both the employer and the employee. Equality in pay increases employee satisfaction thus increases employees’ productivity. Not only does equality increases employee productivity, but it also increases employee’s loyalty thus decreasing employee turnover.
Hiring Discrimination Based On Gender
Gender discrimination when hiring is elucidated as the selective treatment of an application based on the gender of the applicant. Discrimination against gender is an unusual phenomenon. Unlike in other gender-based discrimination and inequality, discrimination based on gender during hiring does not only overarch on women but squarely affects men. Women are discriminated when hiring on the perception that male employees are more flexible to peculiar working hours and are more product. Research suggests that attractive and proactive women are discriminated during recruitment as most employers prefer less attractive women. Women are also discriminated from promotion because they are pregnant or they are likely to get pregnant shortly. Women are subjected to a glass ceiling. Bruton describes Glass ceilings as a set of invisible barriers that hinder women from progressing forward in their careers and always tilting the scale to favor men for top executive positions (Bruton, 2015).
Men are discriminated based on their gender during hiring. Some professionals prefer women employees to men. In 2012, Federal Bureau of Investigation was sued by a male agent claiming that the entire selection process especially the physical fitness test was rigged and favored women than men. This argument creates a fundamental question on whether the employee recruitment process should be gender unbiased or should it have an aspect of biasedness to enable it to be gender sensitive by accounting for physical and psychological weakness that could disadvantage a particular gender.
Portrayals of Women and Men in the Media
Held delineates gender as a social psychological creation subjected to classifying the public norms and behavioral expectations associated with a particular sex (Held, 1990). In this millennium digital era, mainstream media, digital media, and social media shape public perspective immensely. Constant buffeting of an idea on these media can transform peoples view and acumen. The media has a role in reshaping gender norms and notions. Susan Butler, a journalist, working with Huffington Post, rebuked the media for portraying a weak portrait of the woman and subordinating women to men (Bulter, 2017).
A headline of in the Journal states that innovators from all across the globe are meant to muster in Singapore. A picture with 21 people followed the headline. Ironically only one of the individuals in the photo was a woman; this insinuates that women are not cable of innovation and innovation is a male area of expertise. An advertisement of a juicer in posted on The Journal had a mother and two daughters in the kitchen making juice. This advertisement is detrimental to the status of women as it confines their purpose to the kitchen. Such publications have ripple effects on the societal image of women. The media buffeting content that downgrades women degrades the image of women thus encouraging discrimination and devaluing of women. This degradation leads to gender inequality.
Different Feminist Approaches to Feminist Ethic
Feminist ethics is a revolutionary philosophy that attempts to empower women and demystify western notions that devalue women as inferior beings unequal to men. Traditional western ethics have suppressed and oppressed women in four different ways. First, they devalue the role of women to essential role of wives and caregiver. Secondly, this ethics undermine the interest of women as second to those of men. Thirdly, the ethics degrade women as less morally and rationally evolved as compared to the male counterparts. Fourthly, it overvalues the masculine traits will devaluing the feminine qualities. Feminist approaches are adamant to break any bondage that depreciates and subordinate women.
Liberal feminist take a revolutionary role by emphasizing on entire system overhaul through a change of specific laws with the aim of providing women with equitable access to educational opportunity and political representation and inclusivity in a manner that equates them to men. Marxist feminists contradict with liberal feminist and believe that equality cannot be a gain in a capitalistic economy but is only achievable in a socialist economy where all men and women are equated economically and politically.
Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from https://lms.manhattan.edu/pluginfile.php/26517/mod_resource/content/1/Gilligan In a Different Voice.pdf
Held, V (1990)“Feminist transformations of moral theory.”
Lorber, J. (2012). Gender inequality (1st ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
McDonald, P. (2011). Workplace Sexual Harassment 30 Years on: A Review of the Literature. International Journal Of Management Reviews , 14 (1), 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2011.00300.x
Hirsch, B., Oberfichtner, M., & Schnabel, C. (2014). The levelling effect of product market competition on gender wage discrimination (1st ed.). Lüneburg: Inst. für Volkswirtschaftslehre.
Bruton, S. (2015). Looks-Based Hiring and Wrongful Discrimination. Business And Society Review , 120 (4), 607-635. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/basr.12076
Bulter, S. (2017). Changing the Portrayal of Women in the Media . The Huffington Post . Retrieved 20 March 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-bulkeley- butler/women-in-media_b_2632621.html