The History Of The Gender Disparity Sociology Essay

History shows agriculture as a male domination area due to its physically demanding characteristics. Even until the start 20th century, roles in a society were divided among genders with women playing the central, main role in home as a primary caregiver in the form of a wife and mother; whereas the man has a more public role of the bread winner of the family. Legally men had power over there family and make can decisions, while beating of a wife was never strictly legalized in the U.S, however men involved in domestic violence rarely got punished.

However, critics of this concept had emerged by the end of the 18th century. The concept itself is commonly known as patriarchy i.e. role of men as the head of family and hence dominant over women and children. By the end of the 19th century a movement emerged, which strived to give women the right of voting. Even so, up to the start of the 20th century, the concept of patriarchy was prevalent, and received wide support from religious elements as well.

Ideas suggested as an alternative to patriarchy gained wide support in the 21st century and only a small number of people think that women are subordinated to men. All kinds of gender disparity still continue to exist. Domination of male has not disappeared yet, but it is on the defensive and its foundations are crumbling. (Gornick & Meyers, 2009)

Definition

Inequality can be defined as “lack of evenness or social disparity”. It can also be defined as treating individuals unequally on the basis of their gender. It occurs from different socially assigned gender roles. (Inequality, 2012)

Meaning

Discrimination is due to gender roles assigned by the society to specific genders for example it is considered that women’s are not good in the tasks which demands physical strength like Armed forces, body building, weight lifting etc, and also which requires mental calculations such as mathematics, business and engineering etc.

Discrimination In the workplace

Discrimination is also present at work places, where equally qualified and skilled group of workers are paid more than the other group.

Human capital

This theory suggests that qualification, knowledge, experience, or skill of a person adds to his value as a potential employee. This was the reason in the past because there was a difference in the qualifications of both the genders. But today education, knowledge, experience and skills are similar, so this is no longer the main issue.

Pollution theory

This theory says that jobs where women are in majority offer low income than do jobs where men are present. When a large number of women enter in a job men go for other options. Women are considered not much skillful and competent person. So when they are hired to any occupation people started to dislike it. Men hesitate to enter in female dominated jobs, so they don’t like women to enter in male dominated jobs. (Goldin, 2002)

Income disparity is a part of occupational segregation, where occupations are distributed among groups of people according to their characteristics; in this case, gender.

Horizontal segregation

Occupational gender segregation occurs because men and women are thought to have different physical, emotional, and mental strengths. These strengths make them different from each other. According to these characteristics their jobs vary. Because of that manual work is given to males and non manual tasks are given to females. (Meulders, Plasman, Rigo, & O’Dorchai, 2010)

Vertical segregation

This segregation occurs because jobs which are considered to be prestigious, powerful, authoritative and offering high income are given to men where as women are excluded from holding such jobs. (Meulders, Plasman, Rigo, & O’Dorchai, 2010)

Since 1960’s women are entering in different occupations in large numbers because of that each is associated with femininity or masculinity. Certain jobs have become more inclined towards or against either gender. Occupations like teaching, nursing, and librarians have become female-dominated and jobs such as architects, electrical engineers, and airplane pilots are male dominant.

Continued existence of gender income disparity cannot be fully understood through occupational segregation and human capital theories.

A possible contributor of gender wage gap is Glass ceiling effect. This effect suggests that it is difficult for women to achieve a higher position or ranking in different corporations and organizations because men are preferred to have those positions.

The term glass ceiling implies those unseen barriers which exist in the society and with hold women from advancing. If the qualification, experience and abilities of the women are same these barriers exist even then. These glass ceiling effects are more in higher powered or higher income occupations, where very few women are holding these kinds of occupations. This also indicates the limited chances of women for becoming a successful person. Because of these reasons inequality of the glass ceiling is increasing day by day. (Lewis, 2012)

Statistical discrimination

This discrimination is also present in the workplaces. Statistical discrimination indicates that employers like to hire men more than women because females are more likely than males to leave their jobs when they become married or pregnant. So they are assigned with jobs which have low mobility.

In foreign countries like Dominican Republic, female entrepreneurs are numerically more vulnerable to fail in business. If they fail they often return to their home life. On the other hand, if men failed in business they search for more jobs rather than quit finding any and sit home.

There are always some exceptions:

According to a survey on gender pay inequality by the International Trade Union Confederation, female employees in the Gulf state of Bahrain earns 40% more than male employees. (Iversen & Rosenbluth, 2011)

Professional education and careers

In mid 1960’s gender disparity appeared to narrow. In 1965 5% of students in professional programs were female. In 1985 this number increased to 40% in law and medicine, above 30% in dentistry and business school. There are few women in boards of directors and in senior positions in the private sectors.

Customer preference studies

In 2009 a study was conducted by David R. Hekman and colleagues. They studied the reactions of customers to videos in which a service center was depicted with a black male, a white female, or a white male actor was helping a customer. More than 19% people were satisfied with the white male performance, suggesting that one of the disparity reasons is customer bias. That is why white men continue to earn 25% more than equally-well performing women and minorities. This was especially interesting since almost half of the customers were women and a similar number of customers belonged to non-white group of people, indicating that even women and minority customers prefer white men.

The results of another study indicate that people prefer white male doctors even if they are only as qualified and well performing as other women or minority doctors present. White male doctors are therefore paid more than the others because customers are happy and satisfied with them. It is suggested that to solve this wage inequality issue we should try to change customer thinking or biases. It cannot necessarily be solved by paying women more. (Hekman, Aquino, Owens, Mitchell, Schilpzand, & Leavitt, 2009)

Discrimination At home

Gender roles in parenting and marriage

According to Sigmund Freud gender identity is determined by biology. Some people agree with Freud, others argue that the development of the gender is not completely determined by biology, but rather the interactions of the young one with the primary caregiver(s) that is the mother and the father.

According to Freud’s contemporaries, gender roles are developed through internalization and identification during childhood. From the start, parents interact and treat children differently on the basis of their gender, and due to this treatment parents can instill different values or traits in their children on the basis of what is normal for their gender. This can be seen through the example of toys which parents give to their children to play. For girls toys such as dolls are used to give them the feeling of nurturing, and closeness. For males toys such as cars or fake guns are used to give them the feeling of independence, competitiveness, and aggression. (Scarlett, 2010)

Attempts in equalizing household work

Women are usually associated with house hold so they are expected to quit their jobs and look after their family. While men do the work (job). However, there are some women who choose to do work as well as to take care of their gender role for example cleaning the house and taking care of the family.

Women are considered as primary care givers to their family even if they are doing a job. Studies show that working women give an 18 extra hours a week to do her household or childcare related activities. On the other hand men give only an average of 12 minutes a day in childcare chores. (Ellen G. Friedman, 2004)

Gender inequalities in relation to technology

Although new generation knows a lot about technology, men are considered more skillful in technology. One survey shows that when men are asked to rate their technological skills like basic computer functions and online participatory communication they rate themselves higher than women.

Structural marginalization

This occurs on an individual basis when they feel as if they are not a [part of their society. Policies can affect people. For example, media also defines gender roles displaying young girls with easy bake ovens promoting them as housewife as well as with dolls that they can feed and change the diaper promoting being a mother. Today women are not the stereotypical a housewife and a mother when they go for a job they have to face the consequences with that. (Cleveland G. Shields, 2007)

Gender stereotypes

Cultural stereotypes are a possible explanation for gender disparity and also gender wage disparity. Women are associated with caring; loving and nurturing so they are given jobs which require such skills. These skills are valued culturally and are typically associated with domesticity, so occupations with these skills are not valued economically.

Men are considered as workers means they are expected to do the work outside home. So jobs held by them are valued economically and hence pay higher wages. (Smith & Cook, 2008)

Recommendations/Suggestions

Gender discrimination can be eliminated by the following ways (inequality, 2012)

Educating women equally as men.

We should include women in the mainstream of the society that is we should not isolate her from the society.

Employment should be increased for women.

Women should actively participate in politics and social activities.

We should arrange programs which condemn violence against women and promote social protection programs.

Parents should not discriminate among their sons and daughters. We should aware parents in this regard.

Scholarships should be given equally to girls as well.

We should aware people to stop child abuse and violence.

Activities like abortions should be stopped.

Politicians should do something about the development of Social welfare for women.

NGOs should try to eradicate Gender Inequality.

Educating women about technology.

Women rights should be given to them.

Giving those good positions and pays who work well, without any gender bias.

Conclusion

People should change their perceptions about this issue and make society more fair and just for all. All sorts of discrimination should be discouraged and training should be given to young children to change their attitudes by showing examples at home. There is no gender disparity in Islam. In fact Islam is the religion which condemns gender inequality. So by following the path of Islam we can eliminate this problem.

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