Identify the attitudes, values, and ideologies that tend to perpetuate gender inequality. How have these factors affect the workplace? What do you think is the best solution to ending gender inequality in the United States?
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I agree that much of socialization occurs with children. For example, my two year old son loves to play kitchen. It took us forever to find a play kitchen that wasn't pink. I didn't care what color it was, but my husband objected to a little boy with a pink play set. I still have other moms telling me that I will make him "girlie" because he likes to play with a kitchen play set. We set these ideas in our children early. Little girls can play with a doll house, but little boys have to play with space ships or matchbox cars. This idea of gender roles carries on into adulthood. Some of these ideas are reasonable. For instance, men will never be able to carry and give birth to a child. Some of these ideas are outdated. For instance, there is nothing wrong with being a stay at home dad while the mom works to support the family.
I was an attorney for many years for a state agency charged with enforcing fair employment laws. My experiences have left me with the lesson that while I might have achieved some "justice" for some individual females, law alone cannot solve this problem. I have come to think that evolutionary and biological forces are responsible some of this. I am not convinced, though, that we should simply give up. In the United States, social policy has done little or nothing to effectuate any possible improvement in the situation and it certainly could. But as long as profit is the sole measure of success, which it certainly seems to be presently, we are bound to continue to grapple with gender inequity because, at the very least, as accessteacher points out, employers do not want employees who take time out for childbearing. I read recently that females are now more highly educated than males in the United States. Reason would suggest that this would provide for more female representation in the higher echelons of organizations, but to the best of my knowledge, this is not the case. It is still such an anomaly that it makes headlines when a female achieves a high position in a national or international company. I would like to see the day when such an occurrence is not worthy of note.
Gender bias will always exist within the hearts of some people--and it's not always aimed at women. I worked for a female principal who had no respect for male teachers, and she made life hell for many of the men who worked under her. Selective enforcement of rules was her specialty: Actions that were perfectly acceptable for a woman drew criticism and disciplinary punishment for men. What was the solution? A male teacher finally filed a grievance with the school board for sexual harassment, and she soon announced her retirement in order to avoid possible termination.
Well, I would argue that the central attitude that perpetuates gender inequality is the way in which society regards women as being a group that needs to be protected and sheltered somewhat from the rigours of life. This central chivalrous treatment of women is something that definitely helps to perpetuate gender inequality. At the same time, economically, the tendency of women to have babies and therefore take time of work, and the reluctance of companies to promote women because of this is another key factor.
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