Gender Inequality and the Mindset of a Society
While there are numerous ways to eliminate gender inequality, we should not forget that the mindset of a society can contribute significantly to the issue. It can dictate how much value is placed on men versus women and what roles they are expected to fulfill, such as being the main breadwinner or the provider of childcare. While laws and structural changes are vital, societal mindsets can slow down significant progress. That’s why it’s important to consider the mindset of a society before making changes.
Education plays a crucial role in determining earning potential. In 1970, fewer women than men earned baccalaureate degrees. This gap remained relatively stable for 20 years, until women passed men in the mid-1980s. Since then, the percentage of people earning degrees has increased for both sexes, though women’s numbers have increased more rapidly. Even though men’s earnings are still higher than women’s, this gender pay gap will continue to persist in many fields and remain a significant obstacle to economic equality.
Workplaces that are characterized by gender inequality are more likely to attract and retain sexist individuals. This is because those with higher levels of benevolent sexism tend to view men as having more authority in the organization. They implicitly associate men with roles of high authority and a communal nature. Therefore, they may be more likely to hire and retain more sexist employees than those with equal levels of gender equality. Consequently, these environments foster the growth of sexist attitudes and behaviors.
While employers can close the gender pay gap, cultural attitudes are also key to closing the pay gap. In many societies, men perform more domestic work than women, while women tend to spend more time with their families. However, in the United States, a significant proportion of marriages feature a woman earning more than her husband. Closing the gender pay gap will also require the increased participation of men in domestic work, and this could negatively impact working-class women.
Employment statistics have also been important in understanding the trends in gender inequality. For decades, men have been able to hold higher employment than women, despite the fact that the ratio between the two sexes has increased and decreased throughout the business cycle. But the rate of men being employed rose more dramatically than that of women during the Great Recession. By the end of last year, the employment gap between men and women was 0.86, and this number is only going to rise.
Organizational structures and processes may also contribute to gender inequalities. When these are present, a biased response by organizational decision makers can lead to a sexist policy or practice. By removing these barriers, the organization can move toward greater gender equality and promote diversity and inclusion. There are several ways to address organizational gender inequalities. Just remember that your leadership and organizational culture can have a direct effect on the level of pay that a woman will receive in her job.