It’s 2019. Why is gender discrimination still so prominent in the workplace?

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Many years ago, I was working with a male boss on a project that we were both really invested in. He was older and more experienced in the industry — and he was new to the company and trying to prove himself. When we sat down together to look over the final draft of the project, I pointed out some details I didn’t think worked well. We went back and forth politely for a few minutes, clearly unable to see each other’s point of view. 

Finally, with a smile, he told me, “I need you to approach this logically, not emotionally.” 

We were discussing font choices. 

Although we managed to resolve our conflict, I couldn’t help but wonder if he would have said the same thing to a male colleague.

Women face gender discrimination every day — and overcoming this systemic issue is going to take a lot. In North Carolina, for example, women still earn an average of $8,600 less than men a year, and the pay gap is even worse for women of color here, who make $13,179 less than men

In fact, if current trends don’t change, the World Economic Forum predicts the United States won’t reach gender equality for another 208 years.

Jill Yavorsky, an assistant professor of sociology and organizational science at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, has covered various aspects of gender equality in her research, including how men continue to be the breadwinners in really rich families and how working moms enjoy less chill time after childcare and housework than their partners. She also speaks about these issues with local companies and organizations. 

Courtesy of UNCC sociologist Jill Yavorsky

Here are four things this inequality scholar really wants you to know.

(1) The gender revolution is uneven and stalled.

In the last few decades, the number of women who’ve gone to college and entered the workforce has grown swiftly. Yet, most progress toward equity has stemmed from women going into areas that men have dominated, not the other way around. 

“We’ve seen very little movement of men into female-dominated jobs,” Yavorsky explained. “We haven’t seen the same kind of uptick of men’s unpaid labor that we’ve seen in women’s paid labor. Women are still doing the majority of unpaid labor in most homes.”

The fact is, she said, society can’t achieve gender equality without men getting on board. 

(2) Women’s rights are human rights.

That phrase is more than a eye-catching line stenciled on T-shirts and posters at rallies. “Not being able to care for your children or having to choose between children or employment — these are family level issues that also affect men,” Yavorsky said. “We need to start positioning these problems as being human issues and not women-specific.”

(3) Paid parental leave could move the needle on gender equality in the workplace.

The U.S. is one of only a handful of countries in the United Nations without a paid leave policy for parents. Passing national policy that encourages both men and women to take time off from work after the birth of a child could shift the way men and women share childcare duties to become more equal, Yavorsky said.

“Also, the hope is to signal to employers the value of employees being able to meet their family responsibilities, and that care work is no longer primarily associated with women,” she said. “Right now, companies aren’t really set up to recognize that people are full human beings who have families. Women take on nearly all the economic risk associated with having kids — they’re expected oftentimes to scale back their careers, take time off. These [factors] are associated with hits on a mother’s wages and promotion opportunities.”

(4) Gender equality is good for women and men.

“The biggest thing I have learned is the importance of men in this conversation — of getting people with the greatest power in society to champion these ideas and proposals to increase gender equality,” Yavorsky said. 

But it’s also important to know that men reap the benefits of equality, too. Research shows men who handle their share of baby duties and household chores report greater marital and sexual satisfaction. Sharing the breadwinning burden also gives men the chance to come home from work at a decent hour so they can hang out with their families. 

“As soon as both men and women realize that gender equality is good for everyone, the better we will be,” Yavorsky said. 

5 COMMENTS

  1. How long are we going to perpetuate this lie? There are plenty of studies that show women and men being paid comparably when chosen field, experience, education, and desire to work versus staying home are part of the equation. These are variables that must be weighed when attempting to make an macro-earning comparison. Additionally, proclaiming women (or any other group) are “victims” is not healthy for the group or society in general if they truly believe that. Thankfully, many don’t and go out and make it happen in their chosen career. Victim-hood becomes a self-perpetuating weight around people’s necks. There’s nothing that kills positive thinking, ambition, and motivation more than being told the “deck is stacked against you.” Particularly, when it’s complete BS.

    • kp28277 do you mind me asking if you are a man or woman? Were the studies you looked at completed by men? You do realize you can find a study that verifies what you believe, even if it isn’t true. I am witness to this pay gap and can attest that I have more education than the average person (male or female) out there. I do not have any kids and have not decided if I want any (I am in my 30s). I am the breadwinner in my household and have the full support of my husband to continue in my career. I work hard and have stood out from my male counterparts in positions I’ve held. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against me and I have had to work the extra hour. I am a victim even though I didn’t choose it. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up and I’m definitely not letting any of that stop me. I make a good living now and I’ve had to fight for that and yes, I’ve seen my male counterparts get to where I am at with half of the effort. It makes it even harder when people like you are in the way…but don’t worry, not even you can stop us!

      • emw28209,
        Well “people like me” are certainly aware of the studies pushing this false narrative and acutely aware there’s an audience out there that actually believes it. Again, studies that don’t account for the field of work, experience, education, etc. are worthless. They are only published to push this narrative and score political points with audiences that don’t know any better. It sounds like your extra hour of work must be the hard research studying the habits of all the males who don’t work as hard as you. You really seem to have a grasp on their half-efforts. You “standing out” from your male counterparts is your opinion and one that may not shared by all. It may be true, it may not be. I could point to countless females at points in my career that made more money than I did, received an undeserved promotion, etc. Bottom line is we’ve all had to work hard for everything we have. There was nothing handed to me as with 98.9% of the working population male or female. I have 3 children including 2 daughters. My daughter’s understand that they are in control and their potential is limitless. Parents who raise children with a perceived disadvantage are sending the worst message possible and risk establishing a self- fulfilling prophecy.
        That said, I’m sure you’ve worked hard and congrats on your success.

  2. 3 (a) is an abhorrent TEXT sent to friends, entering the public domain, which would have caused this woman subordinate untold misery whether the content was true or false, what company allows staff to act in this way?

    Michael Huke a senior manager at Lloyds Bank HQ Bristol a record of his nefarious activities, each reported to Lloyds Bank and the Police where applicable. View ‘Michael Huke’ and ‘Banker Behaving Badly’ on YouTube and/or Google and witness his despicable conduct, (featured in a TV documentary to be broadcast soon).
    1. CCTV of Michael Huke shouting threats, abuse and videoing his neighbours at their premises.
    2. Assaulting neighbours physically and verbally, captured on CCTV and audio.
    3. Offensive and unlawful TEXTs sent by Michael Huke…….. a) TEXT ‘My (Lloyds Bank) secretary gives me a blow job when I’m allocating bonuses’ b) TEXT ‘Kompany and Fernandinho (Manchester City footballers) are Northern black c*nts’. c) TEXT ‘Antonio Horta Osario (Lloyds Bank CEO) has no balls because he was off sick at the ‘Priory’ for 6 months suffering from a nervous breakdown. d) TEXT claiming ‘He would wind up 2 occupiers from the commercial site opposite his house (that he wanted gone) so much, he would let them Twat him and then get them done’. Plus more TEXTs of a similar grossly offensive nature.
    4. When asked by friends the wealth of his landowner neighbour (that he was in conflict with), he answered ‘neither the landlord or his wife bank with Lloyds Banking Group and never have had accounts with us’. Within his ‘position of trust’ how did he determine that information, had they banked with Lloyds he would surely have snooped their accounts?
    5. He was prosecuted by the local authority, when caught on covert CCTV watching his dog defecate outside a neighbour’s premises and not clear it up, in spite of being asked to.
    6. He signed an ABC (Acceptable Behaviour Contract) issued to him jointly by South Gloucestershire Council ASBO team and the police.
    7. Michael Huke received a solicitor’s letter from the owner of the commercial site opposite, warning of legal proceedings if he trespassed on the site again. He confided to a colleague that he would lose his job at Lloyds Bank if that happened, he hasn’t trespassed since.
    8. He attacked a 71 year old man who’d parked briefly on the road outside his house; the incident was captured on CCTV also witnessed and video/audio recorded by a bystander.
    9. The 71 year old victim of the attack and one of the witness’s (who’d videoed the attack) were months later arrested and held in custody, after the video of the attack had been uploaded onto YouTube, (by persons unknown), the charge was ‘uploading the videos’, (which were/are factual and not menacing in character) ‘because it discredited Michael Huke in front of his staff and jeopardised his job at Lloyds Bank HQ Bristol’. After interview they were released and no charge was pursued. The police are being sued. The instigation of this wrongful/false arrest was likely influenced by Lloyds Bank as stated by Noel Edmonds, or Michael Hukes uncle a senior Freemason or incompetent/corrupt members of Avon and Somerset Police, possibly a combination of them all.
    Lloyds Bank has been apprised of the activities above which has brought Lloyds Banks name into disrepute; does Michael Huke represent Lloyds Banks values? He is presently still clinging onto his job at Lloyds Bank?
    You’re views, opinions, suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.

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