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Gender Hierarchies, Stereotypes, and The Fight for Equality

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Words: 977 |

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5 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 977|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

While women have made major strides in fighting traditional social standards, gender hierarchies continue to suppress women socially and economically to this day. Gender relations are hierarchical in as much as men and women are not neutrally distinguished from each other, but rather, differentially evaluated according to a standard of social norms and accepted behaviors. Society as a whole is fundamentally hierarchical. It is imperative that people recognize the inequalities that exist within our society and the little change that has occurred to develop social norms beyond the traditional stereotypes that have existed for centuries. Some may believe that women and men are treated equally, however this is not true because ___. Gender hierarchies are evidently present within our societies because women continue to battle wage gaps and traditional social stereotypes.

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For decades, a prominent wage gap has existed between the salaries of women and men. According to a study done by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, “They [women] receive more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men” (Childers). Women working full-time earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 18 percent, and women won’t achieve equal pay until the year 2058 (Hayes). Some deny that the gender wage gap exists, but they’re wrong. Even after controlling for variables that could have an effect, such as experience, age, and education, the gender pay gap remains a clear reality. It exists on every level and in every industry around the world.

While women earn about 56% of all bachelors degrees in the United States, as an increasing number of women are seeking higher education, women continue to earn less than men with the same level of education. One explanation for this phenomenon is that the jobs that women do are valued less than men's. As women enter a field the wages drop. For example, when a large number of women pursued the fashion industry, wages fell by 34%, and when they pursued the biology field, wages fell by 18% (Levanon, England, Allison). These patterns clearly illustrate how society trivializes the importance of women and their contribution to the workforce in comparison to men, and it can be connected back to the gender hierarchy and how women are viewed as less important than men in society. If women were valued with the same importance as men, the influx of women entering an industry wouldn't have created a drastic effect on the wages of the people in that industry.

Women have been trying to escape the constraints of traditional gender stereotypes for decades. Gender stereotypes create expectations for how we are supposed to act, speak, dress, and conduct ourselves based upon our gender, and they have the ability to suppress the potential of individuals who want to break apart from the norms of society. According to the article, “Depressing Study Finds Gender Stereotypes Haven't Changed Since the 1980s”, a study, “...found that the college students they studied in 2014 ‘perceive strong differences between men and women on stereotype components today, as they did in the past.’ Despite all that has changed… gender stereotypes have held steady for over three decades” (Dahl). This study proves that little development has been made to break away from the traditional social standards of the past. Gender stereotypes contribute to the gender hierarchy as the separate gender expectations translate to reality and foster the distinctions of the gender hierarchy.

Children are exposed to gender stereotypes at a very young age. As children, there is no limit to what we believe we can become, but as girls and boys we are steered in different directions while growing up. This happens because of what we call gender stereotypes: traditional ideas about what boys and girls can or should do. They may not always be obvious, but stereotypes are everywhere. They follow us from our earliest days in the toy store, and continue to influence us when choosing subjects at school. A study done at the University of Washington found that, “elementary school boys identified with math more strongly than did girls on both implicit and self-report measures” (Cvencek). These findings suggest that the gender stereotype associated with math is acquired at a young age and influences early math self-concepts prior to the age at which there are actual differences in math development. The belief that math and STEM-related concepts are associated with masculinity is close-minded and outdated. According to the article “Why are there so few women in STEM?”, “In computer science… Women make up just 18 percent of the bachelor’s degrees, 30 percent of master’s degrees, and 20 percent of the doctorate degrees. And what’s worse, these statistics have gone down since 1997, when 27 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science were awarded to women” (https://www.wgu.edu/blog/why-are-there-so-few-women-in-stem1907.html). Women aren’t being encouraged to pursue careers in STEM, and therefore there is a deficits of women in engineering and computer science. Women are left to

In conclusion, equality among men and women isn’t a present reality; however, people continue to fight so that one day in the future equality can be a reality. Overcoming the gender hierarchy requires our efforts to raise future generations without underlying stereotypes, allowing them to become and do whatever they want without limitations. 

References:

  1. Childers, K. (n.d.). Women’s Role in the Economy. Institute for Women's Policy Research. https://iwpr.org/wp-content/uploads/wpallimport/files/iwpr-export/publications/C410.pdf

  2. Hayes, K. (2019). Gender Pay Gap Statistics for 2020: The Definitive Guide. Payscale. https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap

  3. Levanon, A., England, P., & Allison, P. (2009). Occupational Feminization and Pay: Assessing Causal Dynamics Using 1950–2000 U.S. Census Data. Social Forces, 88(2), 865-891.

  4. Dahl, M. (2017). Depressing Study Finds Gender Stereotypes Haven't Changed Since the 1980s. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexism-gender-stereotypes-haven-t-changed-1980s-n812176

  5. Cvencek, D., Meltzoff, A. N., & Greenwald, A. G. (2011). Math–gender stereotypes in elementary school children. Child Development, 82(3), 766-779.

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  6. WGU Blog. (2019). Why Are There So Few Women in STEM? Western Governors University. https://www.wgu.edu/blog/why-are-there-so-few-women-in-stem1907.html

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Gender Hierarchies, Stereotypes, and the Fight for Equality. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-hierarchies-stereotypes-and-the-fight-for-equality/
“Gender Hierarchies, Stereotypes, and the Fight for Equality.” GradesFixer, 31 Jan. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-hierarchies-stereotypes-and-the-fight-for-equality/
Gender Hierarchies, Stereotypes, and the Fight for Equality. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-hierarchies-stereotypes-and-the-fight-for-equality/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
Gender Hierarchies, Stereotypes, and the Fight for Equality [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-hierarchies-stereotypes-and-the-fight-for-equality/
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