The world is experiencing radical changes in the work and labor environment. Labor and work countrywide is an area that is vital and requires special attention for it is the backbone of all sectors of the economy of any given country. This has become one of the legislative areas, calling for many political leaders to spend much of their time and brains in finding solutions to issues that emanate from work and labor.
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In search of the same, countries like the United States have established several education centers that aim at expanding public understanding of important issues affecting the working group. In these institutions, they admit undergraduates who take studies in areas related to labor, work, and politics. In Canada, laws have been enacted to guide the labor market. The country has come to appreciate the fact that women, just as men, form a very important component of labor. They have come to appreciate the need to include women in various strategic positions in all the employment opportunities that arise.
Equity of genders is becoming more relevant. It is, however, worth noting that there are some challenges in the process of having a working environment where men and women are considered as equals. As Kongolo (2008) notes, women are still considered as being subordinate to men, especially when it comes to jobs at senior managerial levels. Scholars have noted that the country should come up with stronger laws that will help strengthen the equity between men and women of this society. This paper seeks to investigate the need to enact stronger employment equity laws in Canada.
The Current Employment Equity Status in Canada
Canada is one of the countries that have come out strongly to support the rights of women in society. The government of this country, through its various arms, has put measures to ensure that acts of discrimination are eliminated from this society. As Lisa and Amy (2006) observe, Canada was one of the first nations to sign the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
This convention seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, especially at the workplace. The government has also enacted several other Acts through the parliament which are meant to ensure that there is equity within the society. Numerous organizations have come out strongly to support the right of women and other challenged groups like the lame, the blind, and the deaf among others. These groups have fronted the need to ensure that all these groups are given equal opportunities in employment as a way of empowering the marginalized group.
This massive effort by different stakeholders within this country has seen a lot of positive transformations. The country has seen a major improvement in the employment sector. It is, however, important to note that there is yet to be complete equality of the genders in the workplace. It is apparent that most of the employees in some professions still prefer employing men. According to Kongolo (2008), many employers in technical fields such as engineering and even law, prefer to have men as opposed to women. Some organizations are also having a disproportionate number of employees, with the male employees being more than the female employees.
This is a clear demonstration that the war against discrimination against women and other disadvantaged groups is yet to be won. This is a clear demonstration that there is yet to be equality in employment based on gender. There is therefore a need to enact stronger employment equity laws because it is obvious that there is a need to empower women in the employment sector in this country.
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The Need to Empower Women in the Employment Sector in this Country
The world has experienced massive changes in the social structure. Various countries have seen the position of women in society in terms of power and related facets. Women empowerments, gender equality, empowering the girl child are common terms and reflect the shift of power, from an all-powerful man to a society where both genders are empowered. Power concerning gender is something that has been there since time immemorial. Gender in this context refers to the state of being a male or a female and their social roles as determined by their mental, physical, and behavioral characteristics. For a long time, power was based on the physical strength of an individual, and for that matter, men were considered more powerful (Kongolo, 2008). This has changed a great deal.
Women empowerment in the workplace has attracted the attention of many researchers who have been trying to relate power and gender. Power in the past years was associated with men in society. In various fields, from politics, religion, and culture or family, men would dictate how things would be done, while women were viewed as being weak, and their opinions were less valued. Women were then not expected to compete with men in employment opportunities.
In those past years, women were strictly given no audience in any social gathering. Their role was restricted to taking care of the domestic chores and most importantly, taking care of the interests of their husbands. All along men have been viewed as having the potential and ability to be dominant in all aspects of life while a woman’s role was to respond to men’s decisions (Lisa & Amy, 2006). This scholar notes that when women started joining men in the corporate world, they were kept in the periphery of power, as the society believed that they were not capable of making a wise decisions. This has for a long time undermined women and lowered their esteem in society.
In many societies around the world including Canadian society, women would never be given any position considered powerful. They have been sidelined for a long time and placed at the receiving end. There was a massive distinction between the two genders. Men would always have their way in most of the events, and society felt this was normal. Power and authority were generally believed to be a preserve for men. Various organizations have come out strongly to dispel this belief.
Modernity is taking place at a high rate. The recent research into this field brings new insights to the power of women that for a long time has been ignored. This brings out the fact that women in the modern days should bring out their best in all they do; and that women have as much power just as men (Lisa & Amy, 2006). In the past, women would never be allowed to hold any serious position in society. This has changed with time. It is coming out clearly from this show, that women are acquiring power, and that they are becoming conscious of their capabilities.
Women today can openly hold social gatherings to discuss their issues. In addition, in politics, women are taking part and the position of men and power has completely taken another course in society.
The recent researchers have brought new insights on the need to empower women in various positions of employment. These pieces of research have completely uncovered the hidden potential in so many women in this country. This has given them the desire to know more, learn, and earn respect in society. It has also raised the women’s esteem in society, as they now feel that they have the capacity to achieve the best in society (The City Law School, 2008).
For instance, Tyra Banks is a woman and her achievements are so great that she has earned a lot of respect from many people including men in and outside America. For this reason, women have derived a lot of inspiration from her and have now become more confident that they can do even much more. The place of women is now not just in handling domestic chores. Their eyes are now open and many are now determined to advance their career and to have power just as much as men.
According to Kongolo (2008), given an opportunity, women can demonstrate capability just as men. The notion that women are weak is not true. Yes, they may not have as much physical strength as men, but this should not make them be viewed as weaker parties in various respects within the society. Women can make key decisions, they can take care of senior managerial decisions, they can make good political leaders, and this demonstrates that the top employment opportunities are not a preserve of any of the genders. When in employment, there should be no form of discrimination either based on gender or any other parameters. There should be mutual respect, and the relationship between employee and employee, and among employees themselves should entail mutual respect.
Regulation of Employment Relationship
The law spells the type of relationship that should exist between various institutions within an organization. Within an organization, the two common types of relationships that exist are the employer-employee relationship and employee-employee relationship. There is a way in which the employer should relate with his or her employees. There should be mutual respect between the employer and the employee and each should ensure that they do not infringe on the other’s rights. The employer should respect the right of the employee and ensure that he or she is appropriately compensated for the work done. The employee on the other hand has the responsibility to meet the standard expected of him or her at the workplace.
Regulation of Discrimination in Employment
Discrimination of whatsoever form is strictly prohibited by the law of the land. The law clearly states that the employer should not discriminate on any basis when hiring or directing the employees. The country has enacted a law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on gender, religion, race, age, or any other demographic basis (Jain & Hackett, 1988). Affirmative action was meant to demonstrate further that employers are not allowed to discriminate against women at their work simply because they are women. Sexual harassment is regarded as part of gender discrimination.
The legislation was enacted that protects employees of both genders from sexual harassment from employers. Such an employer who engages in such acts may face litigation in a court of law. Those who are physically handicapped also have freedom from discrimination by the employer.
Regulation of Employment Environment
It is always very important for an employer to ensure that the working environment is safe enough for the employees. On various occasions, employees are always subjected to working environments that are not conducive to their health or other factors. The employees have the right to their privacy. As such, it would be going against the law for the employer to intrude into the privacy of the employer. It would be wrong for the employer to demand information that can pass as confidential from the employees if the information does not directly relate to the task (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007). This is irrespective of whether this information is gotten directly from the employee by inquiry, or through the third party, the employer is not allowed to obtain information from the employer against the employee’s wish.
Occupational Safety and Health
An employee should be safe when working in various units of the organization irrespective of their gender. At no given point should the life or general well-being of the employee be at risk. The employer has the responsibility to ensure that the safety of all employees is well taken care of both within the plant and when sent on duties outside the firm. The employer must also factor in the health of the employees. At no point should the employees be subjected to working conditions that may have adverse effects on their health.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act was a legislation that was meant to help the employer and the employee relate well. The employer needs perfection from the employees for the compensation paid on a monthly or weekly basis. On the other hand, there is a capacity that an employee should have. The law regulates the expectation of the employer and the output of employees to ensure fairness.
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It is a fact that the Canadian society has embraced equity in various sectors, and that the society has become less discriminative when it comes to the employment of women. Various agencies have worked hard to ensure that the Canadian society is in line with the international society on equal employment opportunities.
However, the facts given above shows that although the country has made massive steps in ensuring that there is equity in employment, there are some loopholes that show that there are some adjustments that should be made to ensure that this equity is advanced. The discussion above demonstrates that in Canada, there are some elements of discrimination in employment in various fields. Some employers are still reluctant to employ female employees. This is a clear sign that there should be a clear law that should regulate employment within this society. Employers should be made to appreciate the fact that there is a need to maintain equity in employment. They should appreciate the fact that there should be no discrimination of whatsoever form.
Bennett-Alexander, D. D., & Hartman, L. P. (2007). Employment law for business (5th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Jain, H. C., & Hackett, R. D. (1988). Employment equity in Canada: Public policy and a survey. Hamilton, Ont: Faculty of Business, McMaster University.
Kongolo, T. (2008). Unsettled International Intellectual Property Issues. Bedfordshire: Kluwer Law International.
Lisa, G. & Amy, D. (2006). The Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws. California: Nolo.
The City Law School, (2008). Employment Law in Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.