Gender Inequality in the Workplace

hello 1950s

The Issue:

Even in modern day, women face inequality in many forms, including in the workplace.  Whether through lack of opportunity, receiving less pay than their male counterparts, or are victims of discrimination at work, inequality for women is still strongly prevalent. Women were not even considered persons under Canadian law until 1929, and although great strides have been made since then, injustices still occur. My own mother faced discrimination in her workplace. When she was a young woman working in retail, she asked her supervisor why a male employee with the same job as her was making more money. They replied that “he is the breadwinner of his family” and needed to support a wife and children, while she was just supporting herself. They added that soon she would probably get married and pregnant, and go on maternity leave  anyways.

hisandhersAlthough my mother’s experience was quite a few years ago, one of my close friends also experienced inequality in her workplace. During her first summer job earlier this year, she was frustrated that she was receiving barely any shifts. She later found out that one of the other male employees hired the same time as her with the same amount of experience  was working full time. It turned out the supervisor (a man) in charge of giving out shifts was only giving out shifts to male employees. Another girl working with my friend had to give up a shift for a family vacation (which others had done) and the same supervisor let her take the week off, but also took away her shifts for the rest of the summer. It is surprising when some say that equality for women in the workplace has been reached, and three women I know have been discriminated against.

These are only a few cases of countless incidents that occur to women. Women are promoted to CEO’s less than men, because it is assumed they will not be hard enough on others and make tough decisions. Employers see hiring women as a risk, as they could get pregnant and go on maternity leave. Women are paid less than men for the same job and amount of work.

The Approach:

“We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.”

-Sheryl Sandburg, Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Although the gap of inequality for men and women has been slowly closing over the years, the workplace is not equal for both we can do itgenders. However, despite what is done to increase equality, I don’t believe equality for both genders is ever attainable as long as women have children. (Which is essential for the continuation of the human race). Even behind Rawl’s veil of ignorance, if we decide to have equal opportunity, equal pay, and no discrimination against women, there will still be inequalities. To start, women are the child-bearing gender, a huge disadvantage for a career woman who also wants a family. This woman will have to take time off work, putting her even farther behind advancing on the career ladder.

To conclude, although equality in the workplace for women is not attainable, I believe the best solution is closing the gap as much as possible. At least controlling the aspects employers can, such as equal pay, would bring about so much change for women.