Gender Inequality as an International Issue

The Topic of the Presentation

The presentation and the current paper are devoted to a significant international issue: gender inequality. In particular, the presentation focuses on the inequality in career progression that is still characteristic of several societies all over the world, including the US (Friedman 148-149). Apart from that, the presentation attempts to examine the issues that are believed to contribute to gender inequality from career success.

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These issues include social roles, which are traditionally different for men and women, discrimination and stereotypes exhibited at the workplace, and the problem of family-work balance, which is specific for women as a result of the mentioned differences in social roles (Andringa et al. 583; Cohen 894; Friedman 144-145). Thus, the presentation provides a general overview of the topic and some of the issues that are related to it, emphasizing the importance of gender inequality.

Studying the challenge of gender equality is significant nowadays because there is still room for improvement in the area internationally (Friedman 148-149). Moreover, the presentation demonstrates that there exist issues that contribute to the development of inequality. As a result, the examination of the patterns of the correlations between these issues and inequality can help to address the latter by directing effort at resolving the former (Andringa et al. 596).

This strategy is particularly useful because of the very complex nature of the relationship between the factors that contribute to inequality (Andringa et al. 583). It is also important that the specifics of the issues vary across countries (Andringa et al. 594-595).

As a result, the investigation of domestic problems and their connections is as important for every country as the theoretical examination of the patterns (Friedman 144-145). In general, policy-makers and politicians need to focus their attention on the issue and the research that investigates it to adjust their policies. As for the media, attracting the attention of the population to the problem presupposes raising awareness in women and employers who can affect the situation directly (for example, by negotiating discrimination-free local policies) or indirectly (through their power as voters).

Article Discussion

Several works have been used in the presentation, and three of them are going to be analyzed in this work. They have been chosen for their methodology and content, which includes information concerning the factors that contribute to inequality. Two of the articles demonstrate the significance of the issue on the international level, and one focuses on the US, which enables them to complement each other in emphasizing the scope of the problem and discussing the possible reasons for its development.

Methods and Findings

The study by Andringa et al. offers a quantitative analysis of the European Social Survey. A survey is a bi-annual event that is aimed at assessing a variety of variables, including socioeconomic ones, across Europe; the authors used the data that was gathered in 2004-2005. The total sample of the work amounted to 47,537 people from 23 countries (Andringa et al. 587). The authors used multilevel regression analysis to determine whether there are statistically relevant correlations between traditional gender role attitudes and working hours in women with and without children.

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The findings show a significant negative association between the presence of young children and working hours in women who exhibit a personal belief in traditional gender roles. At the same time, the authors demonstrate that the level of public childcare support is positively related to working hours in women. Similarly, egalitarian personal views, the predominance of egalitarian views in the population of a country, and public childcare support were shown to decrease the differences in working hours between women with and without children.

To sum up, the authors suggest that their study demonstrates the fact that personal and societal views on social roles can indeed have a significant impact on the employment of women, but it is not the only factor. In particular, the presence of social childcare support is important for gender equality. Thus, addressing the problem of childcare support may help resolve work-and-life balance issues for women and improving gender equality.

Cohen provides an analysis of statistics and literature, which help him to make conclusions about the ongoing gender segregation in US workplaces. One of the major issues that are discovered is the lack of a substantial decline in segregation since the 2000s, which implies that no positive dynamics can currently be found in the country. The author also discusses the reasons for the issue and its outcomes.

The former aspects appear to incorporate a system of cultural, individual, and workplace factors, including, for example, discrimination. The outcomes of the problem include inequality in earnings as well as other discrepancies and inequalities. As for the prognosis, the author cannot predict swift changes in gender segregation based on the current evidence. In other words, the paper demonstrates that the issue of gender segregation in the US is quite acute, and it can result in equally significant problems in gender equality.

Friedman offers an unusual analysis of the labor discrepancies from the perspective of the hypothesis of the “stalled revolution.” The idea was introduced by Hochschild in 1989 to describe the decline in the progress in gender dynamics from labor, which resulted in women moving towards male-dominated fields without men advancing towards women-dominated ones (that is, housework) (Friedman 140).

According to the idea of a “stalled revolution,” this lack of mutual dynamics results in an incomplete revolution. This view can be supported by the fact that the balance between life and work is difficult for women because of their disproportionate involvement in housework and childcare (Andringa et al. 583).

Friedman proceeds to discuss quantitative and qualitative features that can help to measure gender equality from employment. She finds that the women’s participation in education is the least stalled and the gender gap in wages has been considerably reduced (but remains largely unexplained, which makes it difficult to proceed to decrease it). However, the author also proves that there are still noticeable cultural and stereotype-related barriers to both males and females who seek to challenge traditional gender roles. Friedman also points out that this lack of men’s involvement in traditionally “female” activities supports hegemonic gender norms. Friedman concludes the impossibility of “installing” the revolution without men being involved in traditionally feminine areas.

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The Specifics and Uniqueness

The mentioned works are specifically important for the discussion of the topic. In particular, the study by Andringa et al. has an especially large sample, which makes its conclusions sufficiently generalizable. The study offers important insights into the statistically significant correlations that can be found in the case of gender inequalities, which makes the article especially useful for policymakers. Its focus on 23 European countries makes it possible to establish general patterns, which may be later customized to the specific situation of a country or other location.

On the other hand, Cohen’s paper is particularly relevant for the presentation due to its focus on the US workplace segregation. It is a recent work that synthesizes information from multiple sources to provide a snapshot of the situation in the US. It also discusses gender segregation as an important factor that contributes to gender inequality in general and at the workplace, which demonstrates the relevance of the findings for policymakers. Finally, it shows the acuteness of the issue of segregation in the US, which highlights both the importance of the topic and the paper.

Finally, Friedman makes an interesting point in highlighting the fact that there are few to no efforts in completing the revolution from urging men to share the traditionally female activities and removing the cultural barriers that prevent them from doing so (141). It is an unusual perspective, which, however, offers a theoretical solution to the problem of women finding work-and-life balance. The author does not suggest practical means of achieving this end, but this perspective is likely to be of interest to the media as well as policy-makers. It highlights the fact that gender inequality is a complex issue that requires holistic solutions and calls for the introduction of such solutions.

Lesson Learned

It appears that the key lesson, which can be learned from the presentation and its sources, is that gender inequality is a complex phenomenon, which results from intricate and multiple interrelationships between numerous factors. For example, the beliefs about traditional gender roles lead to stereotypes, and the stereotypes contribute to discrimination and work segregation while also conditioning the situation, in which women find it difficult to balance work and life.

In the end, all the mentioned factors (stereotypes, discrimination, segregation, and work-and-life balance) contribute to the problem of gender inequality. Thus, it is important to address the complex challenge of gender inequality in business and career progression holistically by viewing and resolving all the contributing issues that can be discovered with the help of research.

Works Cited

Andringa, Wouter et al. “Women’s Working Hours.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 35, no. 9/10, 2015, pp. 582-599.

Cohen, Philip N. “The Persistence of Workplace Gender Segregation in the US.” Sociology Compass, vol. 7, no. 11, 2013, pp. 889-899.

Friedman, Sarah. “Still a ‘Stalled Revolution’? Work/Family Experiences, Hegemonic Masculinity, and Moving Toward Gender Equality.” Sociology Compass, vol. 9, no. 2, 2015, pp. 140-155.

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