When will the inequality stop?

The fight for gender equality and women’s rights is not a new issue; it has been a very long, very hard fight. Women have been denied staple rights in virtually every aspect of life. One major area in which discrimination towards women is extremely prevalent is the work place. Gender discrimination is one of those topics that’s not openly discussed often within the workplace but many, if not everyone, notice it. Many companies are aware of the gender discrimination in the work force. In fact they have been aware for a very long time. In the 1990s, a national poll of chief executives of companies was taken regarding gender and the advantages and disadvantages faced by people of each gender (Faludi 1991). This poll revealed that over 80% of these chief executives acknowledged the discrimination towards female employees (Faludi 1991). This same poll showed that less than 1% of these same companies had the goal of putting an end to, or finding a solution for this gender discrimination (Faludi 1991). This was proof that gender equality or better described as, inequality, was not a target that the corporate world seemed very concerned with.

One of the major issues that can be extracted from gender inequality in the work place is the obvious presence of the gender wage gap. The gender wage gap is the difference between wages that are earned by women and those earned by men (Gender Wage Gap 2014). Employers are taking advantage of this specific gender stereotype that has been seen as a result of gender socialization over the years. Gender socialization plays into this issue because it is an explanation as to why girls and boys are expected to act in certain ways (Boundless 2014). Gender socialization can be traced back centuries; it can be used in relation to why women and men are expected to have certain qualities, wants, and skills. Gender socialization could be attributed to reasoning behind inequalities such as the gender wage gap, by drawing the connection that society does not expect women to be able to be as competent at these jobs as men, therefore they do not deserve equal pay.

The concern of the gender wage gap was recently brought to attention by a group of students at a high school in Utah (Carlisle 2015). Good 4 Utah recently published an article about a group of students held a bake sale where they were selling cookies, however males were asked to pay a dollar for a cookie, whereas women were only charged 77 cents (Carlisle 2015). The reasoning behind the sales prices created was to expose the fact that in America, for every dollar a man makes, a woman doing the same job will only receive 77 cents (Carlisle 2015). In Canada, the wage gap is even larger; for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 74 cents (Gender Wage Gap 2014). These statistics were published within the past two years, which is a huge indicator that this is still a very current topic.

However when researching the gender wage gap and the articles and messages published about the topic, it is interesting to look at who is facilitating this message. For example, the story that was reported about the group of students at a high school in Utah raising awareness about the gender wage gap was a white, upper class male. The reporter, Randall Carlisle, probably does not experience this wage gap, or any work place discrimination of any kind. The kind of language Carlisle uses to describe the situation and what the young student are advocating speaks to this. For example, Carlisle describes the bake sale as “controversial”. The use of this term brings up the notion that the point that they are trying to prove isn’t necessarily correct or supported.

It is important to look at who is speaking when trying to unpack the significance behind someone’s statement. Another example of this surrounding the gender wage gap involves Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech at the 2015 Oscars. Arquette thanked “every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation” (Bruenig 2015). The language in which she uses backfires on her entire point, by referencing the gender stereotype and socialization that woman must give birth. Also Arquette is a woman of high social class, and also happens to be white, this leads to prove how white privilege, the term for societal privileges that benefit white people, also taints her speech, hindering the point she is trying to make. This lack of acknowledging any intersections between gender and race and discrimination give off the impression that Arquette is focused on the justice in the wage gap for white women or women of high class.

Women’s rights and gender equality, especially in the workplace are not new battles, but the increasing awareness is encouraging. The fact that a group of students took it upon themselves to show people the unfairness of the gender wage gap and create discussion about it, is inspiring. However it is equally as important to pay attention to the people delivering the messages in order to receive the entirety of the story and get to the root of the issue. The gender wage gap is not fair, and is a problem that needs to be exposed to the public more in order to create the change it deserves.

-Green

Work Cited:

Bruenig, Elizabeth. “The Problem With Patricia Arquette’s Oscar Speech”. New Republic., Feb 22 2015. Web April 3rd 2015.

Carlisle, Randall. “Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school”. Good 4 Utah., 17 Mar 2015. Web April 3rd 2015.

Faludi, Susan. Backlash: the undeclared war against American women. 1st ed. New York; Crown, 1991. Print

“Gender Socialization.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 07 Apr. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/gender-stratification-and-inequality-11/gender-and-socialization-86/gender-socialization-495-3393/

“Gender Wage Gap”. Pay Equity Commission. April 2014.

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When will the inequality stop?

6 thoughts on “When will the inequality stop?

  1. Green,
    Really nice piece! I liked how you structured your piece, by not opening with a summary, because it let you introduce your argument right off the bat. You also had good analysis of gender socialization’s and inequality, and how both related to the pay gap.
    My one complaint would be your argument gets very disjointed towards the end. The relation to Patricia Arquette comes out of nowhere and then you do not expand on it. Apart from this, very nice piece.

    -Grey

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  2. Green,
    Great review! You started with a really good introduction, it was written very well and captured the readers interest instantly. You provided a lot of outside sources which provided a strong background and further proved your points, this added a lot of substance to your blog. You also demonstrated a good use of terms, demonstrating a strong understanding of them as you used them appropriately. After your introduction, you transitioned very well into discussing the incident that your original article was discussing. I was surprised by the statistic that the wage gap was lower in Canada than in America, it wasn’t something I was even aware of. I also liked how you made note that the statistics were published within the past two years, stating their relevancy. You also paid a lot attention to the topic, and who was facilitating the messages, and the type of language they used, a key part to your blog. For example, looking at how the reporter Randall Carlisle describes the bake sale as a controversial event, it looks at how he views it himself, as an upper class white male, who is not affected at all by the wage gap. You provided a great example of the important of language and made a connection to Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech that we looked at in class. You paid special attention to her comment about every woman giving birth to taxpayers and her referencing the gender stereotype that all women must give birth. You also paid attention to her status as a white cis woman from a high social class, and how it must be taken into account when looking at her speech on the wage gap. Finally, you summarized all your main points and ended with a strong conclusion. Overall, you produced a great blog!

    – Red

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  3. Grey,
    The assignment was to pay attention to language, and how things are said, who says them and what is said. This is why I introduced Patricia Arquette into my blog because her speech on the gender wage gap, when analyzed using those questions, becomes very interesting and I found, sheds some new light on the topic.
    -Green

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  4. Great review Green! I really enjoyed the way you started your introduction and thought it caught my attention immediately. I also thought that the statistics you added to display and support your argument about the wage gap was also great. You also did a good job pointing out the concerns on the topic and your use of words from the course material, helped display your knowledge about wage gaps. Using the example of Patricia Arquette’s Oscar acceptance speech, was a great example, which also gave your blog more depth. I would have liked to read more about the connections between her speech and gender wage gaps. I was wondering what you think people should do to help solve and create a discussion on on the issue of wage gap. Overall, your blog was insightful and a good read.
    -Blue

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  5. Wow, this was very insightful!

    I liked how you mentioned about the author and how he probably doesn’t experience gender inequality and that is why the title of the article displays that (through the use of language). I also liked that you used pop culture (i.e Arquette oscar speech) to show how although she has raised awareness about the gender wage gap, it still backfires because she only makes it applicable to certain groups.

    This was a great blog post, and I enjoyed reading it! #teamcheckurprivilege

    -Purple

    Like

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