Gender equality might appear to be a thing of the past in the year 2016 as some of the rights and freedoms that the female gender have advocated for since the nineteenth century. Some of these have been granted, for example the right to vote in the United States. However, the controversy of the equality between men and women still continues well into the year 2016 and most notably as regards to the pay and working conditions both in the United States and in other countries. This paper will make an analysis of this controversy looking at the propositions of both sides, as to whether there is inequality between men and women and that women are in no way responsible for the inequality and on the other hand that there is equality incase of which there is lack of it the women are responsible for the same.
Questions are raised about the wage gap between men and women in most of the industries where both the male and female gender are employed. Arguments as to men earning more than their female counterparts have been raised and two factors have been pointed out to be the major reasons for the same, which is occupation and industry choice (Paquette, 2015).
Factors such as education, job, experience and industry are looked at when establishing the wage gap that exists between men and women. It is however becomes difficult to understand how this contribute to the wage gap (Paquette, 2015). The defence raised by those who think that such factors do not contribute to the wage gap but rather the choices and preferences of the female gender. In as much as women today acquire almost the same level of education as their male counterparts, they tend to venture into different job sectors.
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Most women want to be involved into service oriented jobs regardless of the academic qualifications they have. On the other hand, men are more accustomed to technical and technology intensive jobs. The wage gap comes in the pay that these sectors of jobs offer to those who are taken into these.
Service oriented jobs oriented jobs as compared to technical jobs pay much little. This explains why the debate about the equality of as between men and women in employment continues to grow. In as much as women achieve education, they end up earning less than males with the same level of education and job qualification (Paquette, 2015).
On the other side of this controversial debate, it is argued that it is by choice that women venture into the various job industries that tend to offer them lower wages unlike men of the same academic qualifications as they are (Paquette, 2015). Maybe it is because of the feminine nature of the women that they venture into these jobs. However, even when they break the glass ceiling and land the technical jobs that previously a reserve for the men, stereotypes serve to hold them back from promotions and job assignments so that the wage gap can be reduced reasonably.
In today’s world, women are more aware of the job opportunities that in the past have been dominated by men and appear to be well paying than the ones that were reserved for women. It is pointed out by those who feel that there are equal job openings and equal earnings for both men and women that the determinant factor is not discrimination but career choices that men and women make. Settling for a more suiting but less paying job by the women thus creating a huge wage gap between men and women does not necessarily have to mean inequality between men and women (Paquette, 2015).
Taking a case study of the United States, there is almost equality in enrolment of both female and male students into schools and colleges. This implies that there is almost the same number available to pick up the various job positions that are available in the country. The same young men and women are taken into the job sector at equal footing and start with almost the same remuneration.
When women advance in age, there life circle changes immensely as they have to deal with a number of challenges which include motherhood. They have to maternity leave in almost more than one occasion at an organization and this affects their performance and chances of promotion. The eventual result is the male counterpart being able to get many role and promotion at the work place and thus more wages. This is among the contributing factors to the inequality presented by the wage gap between men and women in the United States of America (Paquette, 2015).
The mystery of the wage gap as a sign of inequality between men and women in the United States still persist. Arguments as to and against inequality all seem convincing. In as much as career choices of men and women contribute to the wage gap, inequality that has continued to exist contributes to this. Maybe affirmative action is needed to help reduce this gap and thus eventually promote equality between men and women in the United States of America.
The controversy about the inequality in the treatment of both men and women still persist even in areas that are less thought of, where there is no distinguishing of jobs as technical and service oriented. (Rogers, 2015) looks into the inequality that exist between men and women in the entertainment through an interview with Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence.
From this presentation, we are able to understand that the inequality between men and women exists even in the entertainment industry, and in this case the most popular industry whose films tend to discourage such vices in the society; Hollywood. The interview reveals that women in entertainment industry do get less than their male counterparts get in as much as they perform equal or related roles (Rogers, 2015).
In this interview Jennifer Lawrence gives a commentary about revealed documents from a hack done on Sony Pictures Company which had contracted her and other actors for the production of a movie. From the hack it is clear that she got much less than two male colleagues who took leading roles in the movie just as she had done; pointing out the wage gap in America’s entertainment industry.
In situations like this, there is no set wage as the same is bargained for between the actor/actress and the production company. In this case, Jennifer Lawrence puts the blame on herself for she settled on something much less than her male colleagues settled for.
Are we then to blame the inequality that has persisted between men and women in America for a long time on among other factors a system of wages and remuneration that has always offered the men more and the women less? This should entirely be the case. As Jennifer Lawrence confesses, she got just what she bargained for, irrespective of the role she played.
Men, as Jennifer Lawrence says, possess greater negotiating tactics as compared to women. This places them at a better position to bargain for and get better wages than women for same jobs (Rogers, 2015). Employers should be aware of this at the time of hiring and remunerating for services offered. The stereotypes that have plagued women even in the employment where they are considered to deserve less even in instances whereby they perform equal tasks as their male counterparts should stop.
In this case, the producers at Sony Pictures Limited should at least offered a standard pay agreed upon by Jennifer Lawrence and her two colleagues on standard form contract on how much they would get as benefit for taking up leading roles in the film. Other bonuses should have come as benefits but not that the males had to get higher remuneration than Jennifer Lawrence.
A comparison to American workplace is given of the Australian workplace by (Ryan, 2015). Statistics on the Australian work place show that women earn less than men by upto twenty four percent in a financial year. This is a huge wage gap and points out to some of the biggest inequalities that exist between men and women in the workplace.
Further, the struggle that women face in Australia to break the glass ceiling and get into the very top positions at workplaces in Australia is really immense. This (Ryan, 2015) attributes to factors such as male dominated boardrooms that to some extent feel that the woman is not man enough for certain jobs, simply by the fact that they are of the female gender.
Motherhood which is also a major reason for the huge wage gap between men and women in the US is also stated as among the key reasons for the wage gap in Australia. In comparison to men who do only part time jobs as the only source of income due to other commitments was more than three times that of men. From this representation, it is clear that from the onset, there are clear factors that hold back women from going out for and grasping the top jobs that are well paying (Ryan, 2015). However, even in instances whereby they are able to achieve this they are held back by other issues that the society and the work place never cares to understand and thus the huge wage gap will always remain to be a sign of inequality between the men and the women.
In as much as some would love to blame the women for the little wages they are earning and heap the blame on them for the existing wage gap between the men and the women. Looking at a number of factual data would convince even the most adamant that the society needs to do something to accord women equal treatment to their male counterparts especially in employment.
According to (Lindzon, 2015), the inequality is reflected right from the top of governance in the United States with both the senate and the congress having barely twenty one percent representation of women. The US has a host of successful multinational companies that make huge profits. Sadly, almost upto ninety five percent of the chief executive officers in these companies are male. Further, looking into state legislation on the status of women, there is only the possibility of backward movement on achieving equality on considering the state of things in states such as Mississippi and Arkansas (Lindzon, 2015).
To conclude, considering arguments between the existences of inequality between men and women in the work place especially in relation wages or lack of it is a mystery that amounts to a controversy. However keen consideration of the same reveal that disparities indeed exists and steps such as enhancing affirmative action through legislation to redress the same can help overcome the problem at hand and thus resolve the controversy.
Lindzon, Jared. On our 95th Women’s Equality Day, women are still waiting for equal treatment. Fortune, 2015, Aug 26.
Paquette, Danielle. It’s 2016, and women still make less for doing the same work as men. Washington Post, 2016, March 8.
Rogers, Katie. Jennifer Lawrence Speaks Out Against Gender Pay Inequality. The New York Times (2015, Oct 13).
Ryan, Peter. Gender inequality still rampant in Australian workplaces, pay gap remains high: report. ABC (2015 Nov 26)