This June will mark the 56th year since the Equal Pay Act was passed. President John F. Kennedy
aimed to abolish the wage disparity based on sex. Even after half a century later, the wage gap has
not come anywhere close to disappearing. In 1963, women earned only 59% of every paycheck that
their male counterpart made; unfortunately not much has changed, in 2018 women earn only a total
of 77 cents every dollar of their male colleague. It is thought that in a progressive country like
America, such problems like these would not arise. Although the quality of work done by women
and men is equal, the monetary value is not the same. In the past decade, albeit the support for
gender equality has increased, the wage gap remains omnipresent in all industries.
As power hungry companies are questioned for their discrimination, they remain silent and in
denial of any biases that they hold. The wage gap changes as the women ages, usually being at its
peak when women are in their 30s and 40s. What is so significant in this time frame? Normally,
women become mothers, and this feeds into the predominant stereotype that women will leave their
careers behind to take care of their children. While this has been proven false in many
circumstances, companies still believe that this impacts the quality of work presented. Whether or
not the women’s domestic lives impact their career, workplaces impose these stereotypical labels and
domestic duties on their female employees. Worldwide, women are penalized for becoming mothers
and are not even close to receiving satisfactory treatment after their maternal leave. On an average,
during this timeframe, women are unjustly targeted and perceived as less committed to work and are
less likely to be hired or receive promotions.
This is one of the many roots of the cause of the wage gap that can be pinpointed. In its complexity,
this unjust treatment towards women can only be seen when we take a step back to look at the
bigger picture. Even with all the aforementioned factors of the wage gap, an extensive understanding
on the major reasons cannot be deduced without overlooking several hundreds of other factors. The
overwhelming complexity of the wage gap seems nearly impossible to wrap our heads around, but
that is only the beginning of truly understanding the injustices that women face in the workforce.
However, the wage gap is one of the hundreds of inequalities that women face in the workforce. In
every industry, women are subject to face sexual harassment, unjust expectations, and objectification. The Weinstein scandal sparked a movement where multiple women came out and
spoke about the injustices that faced. Many women came forward to talk about their experiences
with sexual harassment at the hands of their bosses or colleagues. According to a survey done by
the Cosmopolitan, 42% of the women working in the food industries and 36% of the women
working in retails experience sexual harassment. The study showed that women from lower
socioeconomic background faced this injustice. Many men established their hyper-sexualized view of
women to install a sense of their superiority and the objectification of women.
Unconscious biases are ubiquitously encountered by women in the workforce. These are the cause
of why women face a great deal of adversity in climbing the corporate ladder. With the popular
mentality in mind that women are less suited for power positions and are better off as homemakers
creates a rift in the women’s efforts to advance in their career. In addition to this prejudice, the
hiring bias and the promotional bias is also a large obstacle that women have to battle. Many studies
show that women receive harsher judgements by their male colleagues, and they are expected to
meet unrealistically high beauty standards. Due to this dominant discourse, women are forced to
meet these beliefs in order to be more successful. Unfortunately, the data reveals that women who is
conventionally beautiful, yet inexperienced is more likely to be hired or promoted than her
competition, purely based on appearance. Once a woman is hired, she is held at a higher caliber
than her male co-workers and must work twice as hard to receive the same benefits. Regrettably,
after overcoming all the initial obstacles, women who attain higher ranking power positions are
subject to face more mistreatment and misogynistic discrimination.
The negligence of female success in the media and the lack of extended professionalism feeds the
perception that women and men are not equals. In a patriarchal society, everyone is conditioned to
see women as inferior and continue the mistreatment of women in workforce. Although women
have to face the discriminatory doctrine and stifling stereotypes, we, as a community, must recognize
that gender equality has a long way to go. Our efforts to understand and to take action on this brings
us one step closer to achieving equality for all women in the workforce.
Post written by guest writer Monica Manmadkar
Find more of Monica at her blog: http://daysofmylifebymgm.blogspot.com
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