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Gender Inequality In The Workplace Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1223 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Part of: Gender Inequality

Feminist argue that women are still facing great inequality gaps between males today around the world in the workplace. Women were not treated like a person with dignity that deserved respect from laws and institutions. People viewed and treated women as mere instruments, producers, caregivers, sexual outlets or agents of a family’s general prosperity (Nussbaum, 2000). Women in today’s society have achieved a lot since the 1950’s, where now women have been accepted into society. Since the early dates of civilisation, women have played a second class role in which they were and still are viewed as less than a man. The 1960’s and 1970’s were the essential decades for women in western society as it had led to the positive outcomes of women’s quality of life. For generations women in society have been repressed by the men in society, however over the past few decades women have been starting to create great social and economic changes and as well as at home. Creating changes in the social and economic sector created job opportunities and a better life. Women’s right activist (Roosevelt, 1913) had declared that the law had the ability to put women at equal foots to men, giving them the right to vote, work and hold property.

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Though are many more women that now have access to their desired career paths; that had been previously denied in the past they are still being deprived of job opportunities. Males have started to take a turn on household duties in the past few years with some men becoming ‘house husbands’, yet majority of the household chores such as cooking and cleaning are presently still being done by the female in the household as it is still generalised as the woman’s responsibility. This leaves women with less time to focus on their work and advance to a higher position. In the case of a being a mother they have less opportunities of advancing in their workplace because managers or bosses are familiar that women will need more time off work and maternity leave to take care of their child, in some occupations giving maternity leave to women requires the employer to hire a replacement for the woman on leave, making the company spend more money. As a consequence of this; employers tend to hire more males over females.

On June 24 2010 marked a historical event for Australia because it marked the day that a Julia Gillard had become the first female prime minister of Australia. The gender gap is much wider than it was believed to be, because of the lack of educational opportunities in countries such as Canada contain 35% of Canadian women have not completed high school and 72% of the women had a median after tax income under $13 786 and earned 29% less than men, despite years of trying to close the gap between men and female, females are still deprived of equal employment opportunities (Hadley, 2001). Women in certain parts of the world lack fundamental support from their loved ones. They lack technical education, as they enter the workforce they face greater difficulties from their families. Females are prone to sexual harassment and or abuse in the workplace, and in many nations women are still not equal under the laws eyes (Nussbaum, 2000).

Females are still being undervalued in the workplace despite many years of struggle by advocates for gender equality both within the workplace and beyond it. In Australia and New Zealand 2011, the gender wage gap difference between men’s and women’s earnings for full-time hours sat at 18 and 15%. Federal industrial relations jurisdictions have raised hopes that there might be progress in attempts to remedy one aspect of pay inequality. (Cooper, Parker, 2012) Nussbaum’s capabilities approach suggests that in order to be a just society everyone is entitled to the fundamental requirements of life with dignity, as she specified in her ten central human capabilities. Nussbaum (frontiers of justice, 2006) suggests that “a society that does not guarantee these to all citizens, at some appropriate threshold level, falls short of being a fully just society”. This is seen when females have less opportunities than men to live free. With full responsibility for housework and child care, females lack opportunities for the cultivation of their imaginative and cognitive faculties. These factors take their toll on emotional well-being. Unequal social and political circumstances give women unequal human rights (Nussbaum, 2000)

Cooper (2013) argues that senior leadership positions are far from being feminised due to men dominating majority of the higher positions in the workplace. By utilising Rawls theory of justice as fairness into act it could create equal opportunities. The term “human rights” Rawls uses it that of internationally enforceable basic human rights, understood as important rights that all individual persons may validly claim, which he calls ‘the law of the people’. Rawls takes initial course towards deciding where a just system of international law would set the limits of states’ rights of self-determination and non-intervention creating a socially just society. Women in Australian society can benefit from Rawls’ distribution of primary goods as females will be able to gain the freedom and support that that deserve.

The struggle for pay equity is first and foremost a struggle to have the value of women’s waged labour formally recognised. Rosewarne (2010) redresses the disadvantage of women in labour markets is but one element in the larger process of challenging the institutionalisation of discrimination and of its effects in terms of economic, cultural and political disadvantage. Rawls argues that by implementing the principles of creating an internationally enforceable law which all decent societies can endorse as constituting the moral basis of international law and as applying to international relations among all societies can bring towards the idea of fair social cooperation amongst individuals, and citizens of equal political status.


Nussbaum (2000) categorises gender inequality to be strongly correlated with poverty. When poverty combines with gender inequality, the result is acute failure of central human capabilities for both men and women in society. Nussbaum’s capabilities approach lacks and needs a better developed account of a certain proper set of human rights, those that are internationally enforceable. The issue of inequality in the workplace can be approached by utilising Rawls theory of ‘Justice as fairness’ because it distributes the goods and services to not only the people who earned it but to the people who need it, it is a distribution of fairness. Rawls theory could be able to close the distance between men and women, by mutual cooperation’s and accepting the basic structure of society as it institutionalises equality in value. Closing the gap of inequality between women and men will not happen overnight, it will still take a few years’ maybe even decades to formally close the gap. It will not be easy, but women have been fighting for decades for equal rights and will not stop until there is not more inequality.


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Gender inequality, or in other words, gender discrimination refers to unfair rights between male and female based on different gender roles which leads to unequal treatment in life. The concept: gender inequality has been widely known in human history but not until the beginning the 20th century has the transformation of gender relations become “one of the most rapid...

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